MLB is doing backflips trying to fix a hole in the pockets of team owners and, to a lesser degree, the players. It’s outright greed – don’t call it baseball.
MLB insists there can be baseball by mid-May. The suits, who are safely tucked away at MLB headquarters at1271 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, or enjoying the privilege of working from home, are making controversial plans to send their gladiators into battle in the Arizona desert.
Never mind the faulty and dangerous logistics of the plan MLB is unfolding (more on that in a minute), the main goal of Commissioner Rob Manfred is to respond to the empty Accounts Receivable bin in team owner offices.
We All Know The “Truth” About Baseball
I’m not naive, and neither are you. We both know money drives everything, and we have checked out of seeing baseball as a sport a long time ago. It’s a business – so what?
But what’s the difference between MLB and the salon where I get my hair cut that is closed? Or how about the restaurant my wife and I enjoy going to, sitting at a table overlooking the scenic Hudson River? That’s closed, and their accounts receivable bin is also empty.
How about churches with signs outside saying – “No Services Until Further Notice? Do we see them acting like MLB trying to skirt around safe distancing and trying to put a square peg in a round hole?
Oh, but baseball is different. The American people need baseball to provide the uplift it did after 9/11.
We need that shot heard across America from a player who is not named Mike Piazza that will be played and replayed on ESPN until it plays in our sleep.
Bullshit. Fake baseball is not baseball.
Get Ready For “Fake Baseball”
MLB plans to give us “Fake Baseball.” They’re going to take baseball and the season, twist it around until the suits have something they believe is salvageable and sellable.
MLB is proposing to stage games in an undetermined number of minor league venues throughout Arizona. In each venue, as many as four games will be played on a single day.
MLB will back down from that because the idea is so ridiculous it’s almost funny.
Imagine, for instance, the fifth and sixth teams, in the middle of a pandemic, occupying the same clubhouse and lockers that have been used twice before – with no time in-between for cleaning and sanitizing.
Not to worry, though, the games must go on. And they will.
MLB’s Hijacking Of Baseball
Don’t bother to book a flight to Phoenix, though. Tickets will not be sold, and the stands will be empty of fans.
In theory, players will be “safe,” jailed in the name of quarantine in the team hotel, or their home if they live in the area, released on parole only to drive to and from the ballpark.
Players will succumb to regular COVID-19 testing performed by MLB. Check that – tests will be administered to anyone in and around each facility.
This now includes cameramen, TV announcers and analysts, their engineering and production staff, clubhouse attendants, security personnel, umpires, and an undetermined number of “essential” team personnel.
This is fine if you believe every American who wants or needs the test can get one. But by now, this would seem to be a cold-hearted case of hoarding by MLB to keep its product online.
The lunacy goes on and extends to the players who have their reckoning with greed to consider. Forget the guy making $20 million who, if he’s in dire economic straits now, gets no sympathy here.
But let’s consider the player making the major league minimum which, when rounded off, comes to about $600,000.
Compare that sum to the waiter or waitress with no job relying on tips that aren’t there, or the stadium usher making $15 an hour. Which would you rather be?
MLB’s Apocolypse Now
You can’t quantify these things because COVID-19 is a brand new science. We learn as we go. And more importantly, we go as we learn.
That’s not happening here. MLB has the cart before the horse.
And I don’t wish to think of the consequences that can follow when – if just one player tests positive for the virus.
An entire team, maybe two teams because they just played each other, gets shut down until (we would hope, anyway) everyone gets retested and cleared to resume play.
MLB: Stop The Nonsense
We all want our game back. Owners are bleeding, some more than others, though I doubt any of them have hit the welfare or food stamps line as of today.
Baseball resides next to my heart as it has for more than a half-century.
But my head tells me that “All Things Must Pass” (George Harrison), and at this point, I’ll take that thought well before I listen to the suits on the Avenue Of America’s.
Or, if you like Paul, I don’t care, just “Let It Be” – there will be a moment when the time is right to resume our National Pastime. But that time is not now.