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The new CBA, last week's leftovers and the turnaround team poll

Apologies. I never had a chance to blog yesterday, and I'm running late this morning. So let's make this a bookkeeping entry, catching up and looking forward.

First of all, so we don't bury the lead: Remember when we used to have giveaway contests here? It has been a while.

Well, the free crap is back. Let's do a contest today and then Wednesday, as well; we won't have one tomorrow, as I'll be at Major League Baseball headquarters at a news conference discussing the new collective bargaining agreement.

For yesterday's Newsday, I wrote a column explaining why I liked the Astros' league switch and the additional wild card. I also wrote a news story about the CBA featuring HGH testing for players. I also wrote a Sunday Insider featuring leftovers from the general managers' and owners' meetings

I also wrote a story on Nick Swisher, who autographed copies of his new album, "Believe." Believe in what, to borrow from Rodney Dangerfield in "Back to School," I have no idea.

Getting back to the CBA, we'll get all of the details tomorrow, but it seems more dramatic in many ways than the last CBA five years ago. This time, both sides agreed to some significant changes in order to get major concessions from the other side.

The Players Association had expressed adamant opposition to the HGH blood testing, for instance. So they're not both agreeing the blood testing and to limits on amateur draft spending without a freeing of the market in areas like the luxury tax, revenue sharing and free agent draft compensation.

I think HGH blood testing is as much as public-relations move as anything else. Like all drug testing, it's an IQ test most of all, so maybe a significant name or two will be dumb enough to flunk the test. But from what we know of the test - it purportedly has to be conducuted within 24-48 hours of injecting the drug - you have to get pretty lucky to nail someone..

And from what we know of HGH, it doesn't accomplish a great deal by itself. You have to combine it with other drugs that can be detected through urine testing.

--One of my favorite projects each season is my turnaround team poll, in which I survey people around the game - front office and on-field - during the week leading up to Memorial Day, to get their take on teams that have "turned around" from the prior season, from losing to winning or vice versa.

What winds up happening, annually, is that I forget (for a while) to see how the polls turned out. I've finally remembered this year.

Here's the poll, from May 28, and as you can see, this year's group didn't prognasticate very well. A large percentage thought that Cleveland, the White Sox, Florida and Colorado would finish with winning records, while only two of five (40 percent) saw the Diamondbacks putting up a winning mark.

Of course, I probably would've agreed with the polled officials on all besides Cleveland.

--OK, so see you shortly with a contest.

New York Sports