In recent days and weeks, BCB’s Sara Sanchez and I have made posts about the situation Major League Baseball finds itself in, in the year 2020. I’ve made mine in the morning, Sara’s generally post mid-afternoon.
In the comment section, BCB’s The Deputy Mayor of Rush Street has often posted a photo and titled it “Mood,” expressing his feelings about the situation. Those are always spot-on.
I don’t have a mood photo for you this morning, but I do have a couple of tweets that sum up my feeling about where baseball stands as we cross the summer solstice and daylight in the Northern Hemisphere begins to gradually grow shorter. (How can this be? It was just March!)
These come from Levi Weaver, who writes about the Texas Rangers for The Athletic. You might recall that I posted some tweets from another Rangers beat writer, Evan Grant, the other day. This is strictly a coincidence, though I thank the Rangers writers for their cogent thoughts.
if the MLB season were cancelled bc of the pandemic, it would super suck, but I would understand.— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) June 20, 2020
If the sport implodes because of malignant greed and arrogant short-sightedness on behalf of the supposed keepers of the game, my anger will accompany me to the grave.
There is no better summary not only of baseball’s standing in the United States of America today, but of the country itself. The pandemic is no one’s fault and there’s no doubt it has caused untold suffering, both from the deaths it’s caused and the economic shutdown that followed. The shutdown was necessary to try to prevent more deaths, and no doubt it has caused hardship for some.
Meanwhile, MLB has given the impression that none of that matters, that they’ll go along trying to suck every last dollar out of fans, many of whom have adored the game their entire lives.
I’ll acknowledge again that MLB teams are not immune to the economic crisis we’re in right now. Yes, they have lost 40 percent of their revenue, by their own reckoning, and since they won’t open their books we have to take them at their word, for now, anyway. But they haven’t been willing to compromise with players, and the novel coronavirus cares nothing for this dispute and has, for now, shut down all 30 MLB training facilities. The coronavirus doesn’t obey state lines or any other human construct. It just is, and the likely result is that we won’t have a 2020 season at all.
As Levi Weaver says, if the pandemic is the reason we won’t have a 2020 season, it would be sad, but I could live with it. But if greed is the reason? I’ll turn to Weaver’s words again:
Not just because of the personal consequences to me (which would be personally substantial), but because they will have murdered one of our finest institutions, a game so beautiful that a hundred thousand books could never fully explain it.— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) June 20, 2020
In the end it is the beauty of the game of baseball that attracts us and makes us fall in love with it. For us as Cubs fans, that includes a history going back 144 years, a ballpark that’s the gem of the sport, players whose performances thrilled us and a recent World Series trophy that filled all our dreams. Those who run the sport seem hell-bent to kill that beauty, that history, those thrills without realizing the consequences.
Sunday, or if not then, soon, MLB players are likely to vote to reject the latest owners proposal. The probable result of that rejection is that owners will implement a short season, something they were granted the right to do in the MLB/MLBPA agreement signed March 26. Players likely follow that by filing a grievance, making this situation even messier than it already is.
I implore them all to stop. We might not have baseball this year, but we certainly do not need greed and a labor dispute.