When I was a kid, I played Little League Baseball and watched Major League Baseball religiously. I went to the local minor league games as often as anyone would take me to them. I used to be able to spew out players’ batting averages and earned-run averages like nobody’s business.
As I got older, I played baseball on my high school team and even did the beer league softball thing for two years.
As a 20-something adult (and even into my early 30s), I went to two Spring Training games every year.
Today, however, I want nothing to do with baseball. Each year, I rejoice the moment the World Series is over because SportsCenter won’t be wasting large chunks of their 60 minutes on baseball highlights and commentary.
You’re probably wondering what changed. If you know the answer to this riddle, you’ve figured it out: What do the years 1972, 1973, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1994 have in common? During each of these years, there was a Major League Baseball work stoppage. That’s eight – count ’em, EIGHT – work stoppages in a 22-season span.
The last one (in 1994) continued into 1995 and the World Series was canceled that year. So was my love of the game. I’d had enough.
Some people waste their time trying to figure out who’s responsible for this nonsense. “It’s the owners’ fault” or “It’s the players’ fault,” they say, but when there are eight work stoppages in 22 years there’s plenty of blame to go around for everyone – including the fans for being gullible lemmings and coming back to the stadiums each time. At the end of the day, the answer is simple: It all boils down to the almighty dollar and sheer greed.
Yes, other sports have had strikes or lockouts, too … and the NBA and NFL currently have labor issues that are causing serious doubt that agreements will be reached in time to start next season for both sports. If they are truly that arrogant, self-centered and idiotic, they deserve what they’ll get … reduced attendance and increased fan apathy. I can’t imagine either sport really going through with something like this in today’s economic world, because people like me and you might discover they can live just fine – thank you very much – without them. It took me all of about a week to figure that out with baseball.
Since the World Series was called off in 1995 I have not watched even one game, except for a very small handful I’ve tolerated simply as a courtesy to my friends who still actually care. I did let a friend of mine take me to Miller Park in Milwaukee on a non-game day to eat in a restaurant at their stadium, but that’s the closest I’ve gotten.
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, World Series Champions. Congratulations to me, too … baseball season is over!