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Robert's Realm of Redundancy
Potential Baseball Strike
Poetry Page

As I write this, several potentially great playoff races are in jeopardy due to the possibility of yet another work stoppage in baseball. Baseball is and always has been my favorite sport. I love the tradition and strategy of the game. It is one of the few sports where the clock does not rule the game. In so many other of the major sports, a team reaches a point where it realizes that it has no chance to win the game as there is not enough time left. Admittedly, if one is down 9-0 in the ninth inning, things are pretty well done. However, even this is not always the case. As long as a team has even one out left, it still has a chance to come back as long as they keep getting hits/walks/etc. Once in a great while, a team will come back from these deficits which would spell certain doom in all other sports. It is that element of chance which makes the sport exciting.
A complaint some have about the game is that it is too slow, that it involves a few minutes of action interspaced with many more minutes of standing around. I do not see it this way. Baseball involves the anticipation of what will happen when the pitcher throws the ball. It involves the individual competition between pitcher and batter. Even when players are supposedly "standing around," one can see the strategy employed, such as how they are playing a particular batter. Are they setting up for the double play or will they move in to try to choke off a run at the plate? Will the runner try to steal, or is he just trying to fake out the pitcher? These questions help raise the anticipation which is such an integral part of the game.
It is because of my fondness for this game that I feel such frustration at the current dispute in the game. I do not see how another work stoppage will help matters any. The players say that it is their only recourse but I disagree as I think a strike would do more harm than good. Everyone knows that if the players strike again, a certain percentage of fans simply will not return. I will return to some extent anyway as the game is such a part of my life. I may not go to as many games but I will certainly continue to listen on the radio and watch when my Dodgers are on tv. However, I know that for many, this is not the case. I do not know how many fans will not return if a strike occurs but I do know that the number is significant. This will have the impact of making financial matters worse for the teams which are already struggling in that department. The players say that they do not want contraction but the financial hit the game would take from another strike would only add to the number of teams facing contraction rather than diminishing it.
Some sort of balance needs to be restored. Many point their finger at the Yankees and their owner as a cause of many of the problems facing the game. I would agree to the extent that it gets rather boring seeing the Yankees late in October year after year. However, they are only taking advantage of what the current system lets them do. To make the game more interesting, something needs to be done to enable the Kansas Citys and the Pittsburghs of the world to occasionally win. I know that large market teams will continue to be more of a force but the door should at least be kept open for other teams to have a chance. Every team has off years but a rebuilding process should not end in fire sales because a team can't afford to keep the players it developed.
Although I do not have a whole lot of sympathy for either group, I do realize that out of 8 previous work stoppages, the players have won all 8. This seems excessive to me. I do not want to get into some ideological debate on labor vs. management but if any one side gets too strong, the consequences are negative. I do not deny that in the past, the owners exploited the players but I also have to acknowledge that if the players have too much power, it can ruin the game. People say that if the owners get their way, there is no guarantee that ticket prices will remain stable rather than constantly going up. While this is true, it also must be acknowledge that if the players get what they want, ticket prices WILL rise as the money to pay these players has to come from somewhere.