Pitchers and catchers have reported and thus begins the war of attrition that is the grueling MLB season. 162 games, a marathon’s marathon, but no matter what cliché you want to use to describe it baseball is a long season. Spring Training is the beginning.
This Spring however is unlike any in recent memory. Many of the top free agents are still unemployed, this is causing quite a stir amongst the player’s along with their union. There is tension brewing between the “Player Side” and the “Commissioner’s Side” (namely the owners that put him in place). This tension can be felt more with each passing day, passing comment by baseball pundits, and with each tweet from a player (most of whom are already signed to contracts). The tension is seemingly going to lead to little or no cooperation between the parties. Pace of play issues are being used as a divisive tool a way to push back against the owners for players not being signed to the outrageous contracts that were being handed out like candy on Halloween.
Now let’s be clear about this a potential lock out would not happen this season. However it is possible in the not so distant future. A lock out/ strike would hurt the game immensely. No one comes out looking good in a strike. We saw just how long it took for fans to go back to the ballparks after the strike of 1994. It took things like Cal Ripken Jr approaching and passing Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak, it took (steroid induced) homerun chases to bring fans back to the ballpark. MLB and the Player’s Association must find a way to squash the needless bickering and work together in order to provide baseball for the future.
Baseball is in a unique position drawing in more money and more eyes to the product now is not the time to move backwards but to move forward. With parents being afraid of allowing their children to play football for fear of concussions or other severe injuries baseball must capitalize and make the game something that children want to turn to.
Along with peaking this interest of the next generation baseball must make sure that there isn’t a work stoppage or the game will fall and may not come back for the causal fan.