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August 18th, 2002

Another Year, Another Strike

Ho hum. We’re on the edge of another baseball strike and, apparently, it’s still big news in places – it was the topic of discussion on this morning’s Face the Nation.

But every time this happens, my gut reaction is to wonder why it’s big news in the first place. According to the article above, there’ve been 9 work stoppages since 1972 – basically, within the lifespan of both Ryan and I. I remember a few of them, but after the most recent strike in the mid-90s I lost a lot of interest. I still occasionally go to games, and did enjoy the McGuire-Sosa home run race a few years back, but baseball has lost much of its appeal to me.

I feel that baseball is just too damn expensive, and strikes like this make the players look like schmucks – even if they’re not at fault. Even if the owners are at fault, the fans don’t go out to ballgames to watch them sit around a conference table with Bud Selig. They go to watch the game. And what’s interesting is that even though these strikes are occurring on a more frequent basis, people still return to the game. Numbers may go down a bit, but they’re still pretty strong. Why’s that? I think it all boils down to one reason: people strongly associate baseball with America.

And, so long as there is a sense of the game underneath the layers of marketing, corporate sponsorship, billion-dollar payrolls, and debates over the price of a $7 Budweiser, people will continue to attend. Interestingly, that’s almost never noted by the news; instead, the news covers the angle of why this is happening from a business perspective. But what if the reason people go back has nothing at all to do with business? What if business interests finally get our collective goat, and we turn to minor leaguers for our baseball entertainment?

Perhaps baseball shouldn’t be a business anymore. Perhaps we should choose to support local teams, smaller regional clubs – many with players that have a real love for the game, and are paid fairly. But not multimillion dollar athletes who work for multibillion dollar owners in an enormous monolith of an industry. Baseball can and should be about the game, at its core. Major League Baseball gets in the way of that.

But, that’s America today.

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM:
DATE: Sunday August 18, 2002 -- 8:53:58 pm
"Ryan and me", not "Ryan and I".



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday August 18, 2002 -- 9:18:02 pm
Like Chris said: Little League baseball is where it's at... all the action, none (well, less) of the politics. I watched two games today and thoroughly enjoyed them both.



FROM: Matt
DATE: Monday August 19, 2002 -- 1:43:42 am
The players fail to notice, that they will most likely need to find another line of work if they strike. No one's coming back to baseboring this time. I can't wait to see all these unemployed meatheads having to experience the "real world" for the first time.



FROM: Paul [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday August 19, 2002 -- 8:12:26 am
"Ryan and me", not "Ryan and I".

So proud of your grammar correction attempt that you didn't even leave an email or name... brave.



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday August 19, 2002 -- 9:05:58 am
I bet it was Craven. He's a coward!



FROM: Aaron [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday August 23, 2002 -- 3:47:56 pm
It seems that a *lot* of people (beyond this group) get bent out of shape over baseball work stoppage. The typical immediate reaction is, "those bastards, see if I ever come back." This is also the reaction for work stoppage in other sports too.

It strikes me as odd that for sporting entertainment (and sporting entertainment only) people have such a visceral reaction. I don't remember people swearing to give up moviegoing when there were quabbles in the actors' unions (was is SAG?) a year or two ago.

Imagine the headline, "Joss Whedon can't come to terms with WB for another season as producer of Buffy, he says WB wouldn't offer the $5mil an episode he deserves." I'd be surprised if Buffy fans raised up against Joss, calling him a "crybaby" or "spoiled brat" and that he should be grateful for the $3mil/episode WB offered.

Maybe it's my socialist side showing through, but I totally support the players (which is not necessarily the same as the players' union). I can't think of a single MLB player that was born into a life of privilege and wealth. Look at all the dudes from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Central America, etc. About all those guys come from very poor families and areas. If someone from that background can be in a position to demand millions of dollars from fat billionaire team owner, then more power to him I say!

I'm a baseball fan, but not a fanatic. I enjoy going to baseball games, especially here in San Francisco. For most of the season, the weather is very nice. The stadium is right downtown, is beautiful and has an incredible view of the Bay. I share a season ticket package ($17/ticket) and I go to about 15-20 games a year -- one every few weeks is fine for me.

If the players stike, I'll be bummed a bit. I have tickets to 3 games in Sept. Will I be back next year? Sure.



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