It was bottom of the ninth with two outs and a very slow runner on third and the score tied nothing-nothing. There were two strikes on the batter. It wasn’t looking good. And then, by some miracle, that batter got a hit, the run scored, and the game was over!
I thought about this scenario when I read that twice-past the eleventh hour, Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Association finally had an agreement. After canceling the first two weeks of the season, MLB magically uncanceled it, saying that there would be a full 162-game season. It would just start a week later, and games would be made up through doubleheaders that would go the full 9-innings. Both MLB and the players seemed jubilant.
I was left feeling jerked around by the entire process. MLB jerked me around when the locked out the players and refused to deal with them for a few months. The players jerked me around when the started with a going-in position to try to really make the game better for players–all players, including the youngest, and the oldest of retirees — and then seemed to gave on those demands that didn’t put money directly into their pockets. Then MLB jerked me around again with a ridiculous idea for a 14-team post season, and an eleventh hour international draft.
At this point, I’m pretty tired of being jerked around. In all honesty, as I said in an earlier post, I was hoping the entire season would be lost. I was hoping that, like Max from Where the Wild Things Are, and both sides would get sent to their respective rooms without any supper. Both side need a talking to. The problem is there is really no one to give them that talking to, except the fans.
Right now, I’m disappointed enough to be uninteresting in games, but very interesting fan reaction to all of this jerking around. Part of me is hoping for news stories about teams–even big market teams, that can come close to filling their seats. Part of me is hoping for reports of viewership down dramatically, threatening the revenue streams. Part of me is eager to see the result of Bernie Sanders introducing legislation to finally but an end to baseball’s antitrust exemption.
Yes, I am bitter right now, a rare manifestation in me, but one that shows just how annoyed all of this jerking around has made me. When I cool down a little, when my head clears, maybe I’ll start to wonder what the players and teams will do to lure fans back to the game; how they will begin to restore trust in the game. Or if it is too little, too late.
In the meantime, there are always minor league games, which in recent years have been much more like a traditional baseball experience than the major league games. No one is a superstar. It doesn’t cost a fortune to attend a game, and there’s much more of chance that you can chat with a player. Parking is easier, the whole scene is more relaxed. You can sit on metal bleachers with a scorecard in your lap and a hot dog on your knee and enjoy the ballgame without all the hype.
Baseball’s temper tantrum has finally abated, but mine, it seems, is just getting warmed up.
Written on March 11, 2022.
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