I have posts I want to make and even have the scans for it, but I've been doing stuff. Though today I just want to air my thoughts on stuff. I don't really tweet on Twitter or post on Facebook much because so much happening in the world is negative, and I don't want to add to the toxicity. I like to stay positive even if stuff around me isn't also so chipper. Though today I just want to rant. I think you might know what its about.
In 1994 Major League Baseball went on strike and the season was the first without a World Series. I was 12 years old in 1994, and while I watched all kinds of sports (everything from baseball to soccer which was making a surge in 1994 do to the World Cup, to roller hockey on ESPN), baseball was my favorite sport, and it would always be. What some saw as boring, I saw as soothing simplicity. Sports was to make you take time from the world around you, and baseball allowed you to put all that noise to rest and just enjoy the game. Other sports have more action and you get more involved, but to me the simplicity is what kept me hooked on baseball. It also helped that baseball cards were much more plentiful around here than any other sport. Actually baseball cards is what drew me into the sport, and my dad and uncle is what drew me into baseball cards.
The strike continued into 1995 and replacement players were introduced. To by then, 13 year old me, baseball was baseball, and even though the players wouldn't be as good as the superstars, I still got to see the game. However the bickering between the two sides were enough for my dad to stop caring about the sport. Baseball was dead to him, and so were baseball cards. I have mentioned it on here in the past, and I will add to it that my dad also gained new interests that honestly he may not have explored had it not been for leaving behind a sport he cared so much about for many years and cards he'd collected since was much younger than I am today. Baseball was no longer HIS American Pastime.
The strike eventually ended and Major League Baseball would suffer for it for many years. Some even say they never fully recovered from it. The card industry would still be pretty popular and baseball bounced back thanks to Cal Ripken's streak and the Summer of 1998 (which Bud Selig turned a blind eye to steroids for the sake of regaining fans, but then claimed he didn't later).
As I grew older, baseball done many things wrong, but I was somewhat of a blind loyalist. Yeah, they did bad, but it's okay. I did that for many years while vilifying Bud Selig and many others in the sport. Every story needs a villain right? Well, the story sadly is adding chapters to this story and now there is a new villain- Rob Manfred.
When the MLB owners announced a lockout of the players in December, I didn't care much. It was a shame, but Spring Training was over two months away, and in that time they could work out a deal. However while thinking that, I always thought the owners were in the wrong. Jump ahead to the first announcement of Spring Training being cancelled or at least cut short, that is when I started to get concerned. What did the owners want? What did the players association want? Where could they meet to put an end to this? That was all that mattered. Even then I didn't worry because no way would they be foolish enough to cancel games that mattered.
Within the last week I got more concerned, and I was thinking how my reaction would be if and when games would be affected. I'll say at this point I still don't know fully my reaction. However I understand more than ever why my dad left the sport behind. It's easy to say they don't care about their fans, but the question is what DO the owners and MLB care about. If it's only money, then why do I care about the sport anymore? Why should I make the rich even richer without getting anything in return than an hour or two of enjoyment a day. Which at this point I don't know the last time I got to see a Royals game on TV anyways. What do the players want out of it? Well, I'll be honest, I don't know all of their demands, but from what I've seen money isn't their big issue. They have a few issues but it seems like they kind of want to keep baseball the way it is, with the only money being available to all instead of just the major players. I won't mince words, players in all the major sports make way too much money, but I've also thought about this a bit. If owners are making millions a year, then why can't they split it better with the players. The owners are making money off of fans paying to see the players so the players should get more of that money than the owners in my mind. I'm going off on a tangent though. My problem is this. Why should I continue supporting this league when it seems like they don't care about the fans that have been around for years? As a Royals fan I remember being a fan since around 1992. It was a few years past their Championship run in the mid 80's, and around the time Ewing Kauffman passed away. It was at that point the Royals pretty much sucked. They had good players, but couldn't hold on to them. From 1992 until 2013 there were only two good years- 1994 and 2003. 2003 was a fluke, but 1994 could have had promise. I don't like what if's but let's look closer. IF the Royals had a playoff run in 1994 then maybe they could have had a couple of runs in the late 90s, and 2003 may not have been a fluke. With a good run they might have been able to afford to keep players like Damon, Dye and Beltran, and possibly even upgrade positions they needed. It's a stretch, but who knows. My point is this- I suffered for two decades of crappy baseball, and in 2014 and 2015, I finally got the joy of my team being popular and contenders. It was a small window, but big enough to understand the 20 years was worth it. David Glass sold the team and John Sherman became the new owner. I have high hopes that he wants to make a championship run for many years, and will start building the team soon. However is it too late for me to care. I haven't seen Sherman's feelings on this lockout, nor do I care.
I am sad to say that for the future, at least for now, I am no longer a fan of Major League Baseball. They have ruined the sport that I thought had no faults. I can only ask a few questions now.
What will fill the void I have without baseball? Well, like my dad, I have other hobbies, and now is the time to work on them more. I won't miss it since I hardly get to see games much anyways.
How can MLB get me back as a fan? Well, this might take time. What I'd really like is things they won't ever do, and maybe they shouldn't. The past decade saw many new changes to the sport, most just to attract new fans, which really just alienated the fans they already had. I'd love to see many of those reverted to make the sport the same as it used to be. Though honestly, most of the changes implemented so far haven't been as bad as I thought. Though I do wish the extra inning rules would return to what they was, I don't mind 18 inning games.
However, I understand if that can't happen, new things can bring me back. First and foremost, they need to find a way to eliminate blackouts. If they want me back and to gain new fans, they need to get access to the games. While my cable system doesn't carry the Royals games, MLB.tv does. If I had access to watch the games on there, it would really give me a chance to see more games especially ones I want to see, which would be the Royals. This not only benefits fans like me that are more than an hour away from the stadium but in the local market, but fans that can't even watch away games. Places like Iowa have it worse, they have SIX teams they can't watch. How do you build a fanbase without an audience?
The other big thing is quit trying to kill the minor leagues. MILB should be there to make MLB better, and should have more access to those games. Killing the league a couple years ago was not only inexcusable, but unneeded. Instead of molding the future of the sport, they are killing it even if they aren't aware of it. If they can't bring the teams back they killed off or outcasted, then they should work with more of the independent leagues. Also they need to pay the minor league players better. I don't think they should get 100,000 dollar contracts, but they need enough for the players to not have to worry about having off-season jobs or worry about homes and food. If they want the best players in MLB they have to start treating the MILB players like this is a career not a hobby. MLB needs to work with MILB and not only mold the future players but train the fans to understand they should go to the MILB games to see the future players. MILB games are fairly cheap and they are great for the family. MLB should advertise that so not only when the players move up they can root for them, but maybe the family will start going to the MLB games to see them too. I just think there is too much that MLB is missing out on and by bastardizing MILB like they did it ruins not only the future of the players, but baseball in general.
So can I truly ever quit baseball? No, I can't. At least I don't think I can. However I can look for alternatives. Independent baseball leagues aren't on strike. The power of the internet allows for catching games online either the audio or even on video. For a few years I even listened to a few MILB games a week on TuneIn, not only to hear more games, but to hear the future of the sport. I listened to quite a few Tony Schiavone called games for Gwinnett where Ronald Acuna played. "ACUNA MATATA!" was a call Tony would make sometimes for a home run. That excitement got me into collecting some of Acuna's cards. I hope to start finding more leagues to do that with this year. I also hope to find some more local wooden bat leagues to hear the games of. Their is a league called MINK that plays summer ball, and maybe I might venture out to catch a game. My advice, find a similar league and enjoy it for the sport, not for what MLB has made it into.
As for card collecting, how will this impact it? Well, to be honest, I don't collect much new product anymore, so finding more cards from the 90's and earlier won't be affected. I do worry a bit about the future of cards though, how much this will hurt sales. We'll see though. Maybe this might be good for the true collectors, and the card industry will bust again. Honestly I hope so, it might drive prices back down and get rid of those just in it for the money.
I've ranted for a bit, and maybe I'll end it there. I have more stuff to do, but I needed to get stuff off my chest. Thanks for sitting in on this rant session, thanks for reading if you did, and I hope to have new posts soon. Thanks for reading and have a great day!