By James Anderson
Wednesday, July 10th, 2002
Baseball has had its share of problems this season with steroid accusations,
contraction, big market vs. small market teams, and the New York Yankees
buying more parts for their next title run. Those problems seem to come about
every season so fans get used to complaining about it each season,
The casual fan that goes to the game to eat sushi, be seen, and has a cell
phone stuck to their ear could probably care less when the season ends. The
hardcore baseball fan may talk about how angry they are at the players and
owners, and won't attend another game if they go on strike, but secretly
hopes that something will be worked out before the season prematurely ends.
I'm one of those guys that grew up playing and watching baseball since I
was 5-year-old. I like all sports, but just the football season beginning
can't fill the void. For me, baseball is that comfort zone that has become
a part of my summer days. I expect to turn my television set or radio on
and catch a game everyday. I don't care if it's a minor league game either,
but it will be a baseball game.
I'll be 40-years-old in September, so that puts me in an age era that says
I'm not used to players going on strike for more money -- deserved or not.
I understand that the owners hold all the cards, but the players clearly
play for more than just every dollar they could squeeze out of the system.
I'll be mad at the owners and the players if this strike comes about like
I believe it will.
The passing of Ted Williams has definitely ended an era of a man with
honor, pride, and simple dignity that we can genuinely call a hero. The game
was exactly that to him as he lost five years of his career to twice serve
his country at war. I think all fans today would faint if a player sacrificed
$5 of salary to serve another person, let alone his country.
I could sit here and say that I'll never go to another game again if there's
a strike, but I'd be lying, so I won't say it. I'll enjoy the All-Star Game
on Tuesday like everyone else, and keep my fingers crossed that something
will happen to solve the problem. Maybe the owners and players will realize
what they have to lose and seriously work their problems out.
My anger is centered at the big money guys like Bud Selig and Barry
Bonds. Selig wants to contract someone so he can keep the Milwaukee
Brewers in the family, even though they haven't accomplished anything
in about 20 years. Selig became Commissioner of baseball even though he needed
to borrow money from Minnesota's owner, which is a conflict of interest
since he owes him. Selig tried to give Carl Pohlad his payback by
contracting Minnesota. I can't imagine fans don't trust Selig when he's a
Barry Bonds gets my ire because he all but admits that players are overpaid.
His response, though, is it's not his fault that you're not good enough to
play pro ball and make the money. What he says is a true statement, but don't
be sarcastic with the truth. A player should have humility in knowing they
are making ridiculous sums of money and probably don't deserve it.
I think all fans will be angry if baseball goes on strike, but we'll be back
to the games eventually. This is the problem with baseball, though; the fans
always come back to the game we love so much. Baseball is like your first
love, you always have her on your mind, but you move on and always wonder
what might have been. We won't move on and the owners and players know this.
All fans of baseball will come to the games again and get autographs of our
favorite players and teams as they try and make up to us again like in 1995.
Let's be honest with ourselves, we'll be angry and determined to show our
displeasure with the owners and players, but the whole time will sit there
hearts fluttering just happy that our first love finally came back to us
like we always knew they would.
Maybe it's time to give up that love, but man, 40 years is a long time invested
to just say goodbye. See you at the ball games.