Our poor, beleaguered sport of baseball.
It gets about as much good press as gas prices, inflation and the effects of social media on our youth.
As of this writing — Thursday afternoon, Feb. 24 —if baseball’s ‘Q’ rating were a 49ers head coach, it would be in the Chip Kelly/Jim Tomsula strata.
Thing is, there’s still time for a happy ending.
There is this “deadline” of Monday set by the owners, and if this “deadline” is to be believed, a settlement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by then could give us Opening Day on March 31. Flowers would bloom. Choirs would sing. And “Play Ball” would resonate throughout this great land, as Americans of all race, religion and creed join hands and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
And if you believe that, around that time I can sell you on an Easter Bunny, too.
The only baseball fans left are the true believers. The casual fan is gone. Baseball, in its wildest dreams, could never create the drama of an Aaron Rodgers Hindu cleanse, a Tom Brady road trip movie with Lily Tomlin, a Kyrie Irving vaccination survival kit or a James Harden pout.
America eats all that stuff up.
The rest of us are baseball fans, and we are damaged. We will return, whenever baseball returns, and we will have shame, and Stephen A. will not rant about our sport on “First Take”. He won’t even acknowledge it. We’re the NHL with chalk lines, essentially.
As of right now, the only time baseball is mentioned is to induce snorts of disparagement.
Never mind that I think players have a right to fight for their piece of the pie. Never mind that I think owners are the root of all evil in these negotiations. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is optics, and the optics are that baseball, a dying sport, is arguing over which type of cyanide to ingest.
It’s a sad world when “Let’s Play Two” means the owners and players met for two hours before leaving as two disgruntled parties out of two separate exits.
If you want to bone up on the history of owners/player labor relations, I highly recommend a book called “Lords of the Realm”, by John Helyar. It reminds you of the ownership mindset— a group that got busted for collusion in the 1980s.
If you think that part of the owner DNA has somehow evaporated, I can interest you in that Easter Bunny again.
So while I want the players to win, in the end, the thing is, we fans just want the game. It’s the old “don’t tell me about the labor pains, just show me the baby” thing. And if Opening Day arrives on March 31, none of this winter bluster would matter, would it?
But right now, it matters, because everyone is depressed and down about the grand old game. The old song goes “Talkin’ base-ballllll … “ — but the new lyrics would have to add “Nobody wants to be talkin’ base-ballllll … “
You’re uncool if you do.
We fans are used to being uncool. We like baseball, after all. Even though there are no Hindu cleanses or Jimmy G trade rumors.
Hope springs eternal — and spring is when baseball is, right?