This article is part of our MLB Barometer series.
Happy Labor Day to all of you! If you get the chance during a break from your grilling or while you browse holiday weekend sales, take a minute to be grateful for those the holiday celebrates, the people who fought to establish laws and norms we now take for granted, such as the five-day work week and the end of child labor.
From a baseball perspective, it's a good day to learn more about the likes of pioneers like Curt Flood and Marvin Miller, whose efforts brought about the dawn of free agency, shifting the balance of power away from the owners and toward the players, the ones we actually pay to see. (If there are any massive Bob Nutting fans out there, or if any of you play in fantasy owner leagues and couldn't care less about the players themselves, my apologies.)
With that brief festive note out of the way, it's time to take stock of where things stand in the baseball world. With just four weeks left in the season, those of you who are still reading this column and haven't moved onto football are likely either beginning a playoff series or locked into a very tight race at the top of your roto league. Everything becomes magnified with such a short time left in the season. A two-week injury knocks a player out for half his remaining games, the equivalent of a three-month injury in late March. Even a brief day-to-day issue can knock out 10