Just when we could really use a break, it’s looking like another fatality from the China bug might be the 2020 Major League baseball season. It would have been an enjoyable respite from all that is wrong in 2020; just to relax with your preferred beverage watching a ballgame. Reruns have all the appeal of a Jabba the Pritzker tax scheme.
Wealthy owners of baseball teams, with their archaic monopolistic advantage, and athletes being paid millions to play a kid’s game, have not been playing nice again. It should come as no surprise those high-dollar rollers haven’t been able to agree how to equitably divide the meager pot of gold that will be available this year.
Nobody knows when, or if, fans will be allowed back into stadiums by our overlords, which has an adverse effect on revenue streams. At the time of this writing, the players’ union had rejected the owners latest offer. Then, just when it appeared they were getting near to making spiteful comments about each other’s mama, a new deal was reported to be developing, probably consummated about ten minutes after this goes to print.
Just like 1994, it’s conceivable there might be no baseball this year. Never mind the fact that millions of people lost their jobs and thousands of businesses have gone bankrupt; those with the big money and flashy gold necklace jewelry just can’t help themselves from holding up America’s historic pastime over who grabs our dollar. They need their millions to “take care of their family.” Excuse me while I gag.
Given there is a looming labor skirmish with potentially no baseball coming up again for the 2022 season which they were already arguing about, one would think the baseball elites would have avoided this strife for 2020 at all cost. The MLB already has a billion-dollar broadcasting contract in their back pocket from Turner Sports for the 2022 season – so we know nobody’s going broke. It cost the MLB and its players dearly the last time they robbed us of the national pastime, and yet, here we are again. Only this time, thanks to China, we the people are really not in a very good mood.
There are various arguments and possible scenarios for this baseball situation. There is talk of anywhere from a 50-100 game season, but this amount diminishes with each passing day. As of this writing, at best they would not be back on the field before the end of July. They might also alter the playoff schedule.
At that point, the question becomes, why bother? If the Cubs, for example, were to win the World Series in a 50-75 game season, would any Cub fan feel the same exhilaration they had from the 2016 championship season, when the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians? (Remember Bryant’s giddy throw across the field to an anxiously waiting Rizzo for the last out?)
You might feel exhilarated…right up to the moment some White Sox fan sarcastically reminds you it was an abbreviated season, and then pokes fun of your $50 Cubs’ championship T-shirt and $35 cap. Us Cubs fans all know how those Sox fans are, somewhat lovably obnoxious. There isn’t a Sox fan alive that would miss an opportunity to slap a big asterisk on the season if the Cubs won it all.
OK, that’s a two-way street, but as the writer of this column, I’m gonna point out the Sox fan mentality.
Seriously though, just like the NFL, baseball might be playing with fire with sports fans. Hopefully, by the time you read this, they’ve settled, at least until 2022 when we can do it all again.
On a personal note: Sunday the 21st, a special date to my wife and me. Forty years ago, on that day, we were married on surely the hottest day of the year. I foolishly wore black tails and a top hat.
We were just two young (she was absolutely) and immature (that would be me) kids that came together under certain considerably curious circumstances in Chebanse. What a back story.
Had a poll been conducted of the chances the marriage would survive; it would have been near unanimous…we were doomed. I don’t recall what the over/under was at the time, but I saw a family member taking bets.
The church had to grant special dispensation for our wedding song, an obscure ditty from a Led Zepplin’s album, called “Thank You.” It remains “our song” to this day.
It’s not your typical Led Zepplin song, opening with the a cappella verse:
“If the sun refused to shine,
I would still be loving you.
When mountains crumble to the sea,
It will still be you and me.”
Well, we’ve made forty years now, so we’re giving it our best to live up to that vow.
Happy Anniversary, Dawn. When mountains crumble to the sea...