MLB fans, some more than others, want their baseball in the summer of 2020. But patience is wearing thin – and rightly so. Get it done or call it quits.
Authentic MLB fans are known to adapt to any number of hiccups that have threatened the game of baseball.
In 1972, a strike canceled 86 games. Another work stoppage occurred in 1981 when 713 games were never played.
MLB fans watched as the tension between owners and players reached the highest peak during the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike, which was the eighth work stoppage in baseball history.
After 232 days, making it the most prolonged such stoppage in MLB history and the longest work stoppage in major league professional sports, play ball was heard again.
The games were stopped again on September 12, prompting the owners to cancel the rest of the season and the World Series.
All of these incidents lie within the age groups of MLB fans in their twenties and thirties. And it is safe to assume most still list major league baseball as their favorite professional sport.
MLB Fans – Adapters Up To A Point
We are adapters. We live and forget. And all we MLB fans want is to be entertained by some of the best athletes on this planet.
But as we sit here today, drawing from these experiences of the past, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see the forest through the trees.
As MLB fans trying to understand, we see only the distortions offered by both owners and players, and seemingly not any real effort to bring us our baseball.
We don’t see MLB Commissioner Manfred and his team sitting down with Tony Clark, President of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) – with the stipulation no one leaves the table until an agreement is reached to “Play Ball” in 2020.
As MLB fans, instead, what we do see is a continuous volley of serves across the net, all of which are declared as “out.” Nothing sticks. Nothing is discussed, as it must be in a negotiation setting.
“Negotiations” In The 21st Century
In a sense, we shouldn’t be surprised when we see the 24-hour news cycle of ESPN, together with the “always online” news sources like Bleacher Report, The Athletic – and of course – the ultimate public pulpits Twitter and Facebook.
Remember, there was no internet during the last work stoppage in 1994-95. Newsprint was still the primary source of disseminating and receiving information.
Whereas, today, in a matter of hours, MLB fans learned of the league’s proposal for a 50-game season – and – of the players’ intention to reject the offer.
This kind of “dialog” is artificial, and MLB fans are seeing through the charade both owners and players are engaged in, which brings us back to the main point under discussion here.
When are we going to lose patience with both sides playing out their childish and counterproductive behavior?
Does Anyone See The Forest Through The Trees?
Where do we, as MLB fans, go when a small number of owners are publicly declaring they don’t much give a damn after all, and would rather cancel the 2020 season altogether?
Who are we to believe when Tom Ricketts, owner of one of baseball’s elite franchises, tells us the Chicago Cubs receive 70% of the season revenue from ticket sales, parking, and concessions?
What I can attest to, however, as a fan who attended a game at Wrigley Field, is that Ricketts is correct.
It cost me an arm and a leg, the most expensive game among the ten major league ballparks I visited that year.
Still, without Ricketts and others opening their books as the MLBPA has asked for, what do we know?
What we can see in plain sight is that Ricketts and others are voicing not to MLB officers, and he is not making this argument to Tony Clark – he’s going straight to a friendly reporter who can get the soundbites “out there” in a matter of minutes.
MLB Fans: Let’s Get Real – This Is A Work Stoppage
MLB fans, for the most part, hung strong during previous work stoppages – and we came back to the sport we love.
But shouldn’t we be wondering how long it’s going to take before we call this a work stoppage?
Because, in effect, that’s precisely what we have here. Don’t look now, but the next meaningless and posturing volley is headed our way.
The only mystery, MLB fans, is whether it’ll come from the owners or the players. In either case, we still won’t have baseball.