Ratto: So, Who Wants Baseball After All This?

On the mess in MLB

Ray Ratto
June 23, 2020 - 9:49 am

So, Who Wants Baseball After All This?

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Baseball may be the last bastion of the old normal in that, of all sports it is the one that has clung most stridently to the old patterns of behavior -- most notably how the bosses hate the workers and the workers hate the bosses.

That's 50 years of honoring tradition in these unsteady times. I mean, NASCAR is rejecting the Confederacy after 72 years of grafting itself to the Stars and Bars, and in honesty that is the most amazing development in sport since television embraced football in 1958.

But baseball is stubbornly timeless, to the point that it maintains its internecine hatred of itself despite the fact that only one person, Jerry Reinsdorf, was around and in his current position the last time two sides stopped play. They're fighting a civil war that nobody won, which is even more insane than the civil war in which the side that lost acts like it won.

And now that lack-of-negotiations have reached the stage that Major League Baseball is forcing the issue with a mandated season and conditions that whether it is fulfilled or not, we can look forward to the sport's new normal.


We have reached the stage where players hate the game they love, owners hate the players they pay, and fans will be tested to back up their curses toward both sides. It's easy to say, as fans through time have said, that they'll never pay attention again, but they've been lying. They talk a good game but refuse to walk away from one.

And a season now, whether it goes 60 games, 45 games or zero games, it will be the worst season ever. It will have no historical links to the 150 years before it, the statistics will have no useful context, all team achievements will have not asterisks but huge black lines through it as those the season has been redacted by lawyers. The only reason to play at all will be a feeble attempt to get the television networks to fork over their promised postseason payments.

Ultimately, it will be just a conga line of prostitutes at a cash-bar wedding without a DJ in which the families hate each other. Nobody will have a good time, everyone can't to leave, and they're all frightened about having to attend the baby shower in two years.

See? Hate-playing.

It does make you wonder why, other than the money, they're bothering at all -- hence the prostitution. Joyless anything is wasted energy these days, and joyless sports are an oxymoron. Nobody ever grew up with a dream of playing before nobody and winning a championship nobody will respect or admire -- although that would make two in four seasons going back to the 2017 Houston Astros. So there's no glory in winning, everyone's making a lot less dough and they still have to look at the people whose guts they hate next spring so they can start middle-finger/arguing again.

In short, baseball as a sport is going to enjoy a massive renaissance. Baseball as a source of entertainment, on the other hand, has never been less certain, and baseball as a business looks like a peach left in the sun for months. This will be no fun whatsoever.

Can't wait.


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