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The last days of baseball



The boys of summer are taking their ball and going home. As far as I’m concerned they can stay there.

Unless a major breakthrough occurred, the Major League Baseball Players Association went on strike today, ending yet another snoozer of a season. It will be as unsatisfying a conclusion for baseball as the All-Star game, which inexplicably ended in a tie this year. But in a way it’s fitting.

Football has already started. Hockey starts soon, as does basketball.

The highlight reels may be a little boring for a couple of weeks, but by the time the strike is in its second week, few of us will be missing the game of baseball.

Talk to people about the game, and you’ll hear a hundred different opinions of what’s wrong with the game – the players are greedy, the owners are greedy, there are too many games, the game is too boring, the games are too long, the best players are on steroids, the players change teams too often, little cities can’t compete with big cities, there are too many teams, not enough teams make the play-offs, it costs fans too much for tickets… the list goes on and on.

It’s been a long time since I heard anybody say anything positive about Major League Baseball, or defend the game as things currently stand.

Owners and players can’t come to an agreement because they are both so far from reaching middle ground that it’s impossible for them to come together without a gigantic leap of faith – and even bigger concessions on salaries, arbitration, contraction, and all of the other issues plaguing the sport.

What to do? The sport is dying for many disillusioned fans.

While there will always be diamonds, and little leagues, and slo-pitch and both varsity and professional baseball teams, will there always be MLB?

I don’t think so. And I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to try to resurrect this particular beast.

The boom times are over for North America, at least for a little while. People who have lost their jobs honestly don’t care if players already making millions think they’re being shortchanged by the owners.

And the owners? They used to rule their teams like their own personal empires, but those days are long gone. Many clubs are losing money, and the majority are just breaking even. They have been backed into a corner by the players and the wealthy teams to where it probably makes better financial sense at this point to sell out than to stay in. It might be a profitable game for many, but it’s also a constant headache.