As former MLB Commissioner Ford Frick once said, “those who forget baseball history are doomed to repeat it.”
OK, to the best of my knowledge, Ford Frick never actually said that, or anything like it. But if he had he might be remembered today for more than an asterisk and an alliterative name. Especially at this point in time.
As of Saturday afternoon, all of the signs seem to point to baseball once again repeating history and shooting itself in the foot.
As millionaire players and billionaire owners continue to argue over economic issues, one can’t help but think back to the summer of 1994. If one has enough gray in their hair to remember back then.
In ‘94 it was also about money as the players went on strike and the season came to halt on Aug. 11 of that year and never returned. I was a young sportswriter at the time and remember covering the strike and the labor talks.
There was a painfully slow drip of information that would occasionally leak out as everyone tried to read between the lines. As difficult as that was for the media and fans to deal with, at least the talks were conducted in private.
Now, in the age of social media, that would seem to be nearly impossible and when the spotlight is shone on labor negotiations rarely does anyone emerge with a pristine image.
But the real takeaway from 1994 isn’t which side won, it’s that both sides nearly lost. The game’s image took a huge hit among the fans and they threatened to stay away in droves.
Everyone wondered whether fans would return to the game many felt had betrayed them in the name of greed. Luckily for baseball, Baltimore shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. would single-handedly rekindle interest in the sport with his season-long pursuit of what was once considered an unbreakable record, Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game streak.
Ripken broke the record amid much hoopla on Sept. 6 of that season. Three year later, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, a pair of sluggers with outstanding power and questionable medicine cabinets, broke another longstanding record, Roger Maris’ pk彩票 run mark, to further elevate the game.
Now, in pk彩票, baseball once again finds itself at another crossroads. The game has a chance to gain even a larger audience if it returns before other sports. Look at what coming back has done for NASCAR’s profile. But in recent weeks the two sides seem to have become more entrenched. MLBPA president Tony Clark hasn’t garnered a lot of positive PR for his union, so he was “helped out” last week by super agent Scott Boras, who may or may not be a member of the reptile family.
Boras reportedly sent out an email telling players not to “bail out” owners by agreeing to a pay cut. Of course with tens of thousands of Americans out of work, it’s tough to gin up much sympathy for owners, none of whom is waiting by the mailbox for their stimulus check.
Yet somehow Boras managed to make them sympathetic figures. Thank goodness for Cincinnati Red star pitcher Trevor Bauer, who injected a bit of sanity with a Tweet that read in part: “Scott Boras, rep your clients however you want to, but keep your damn personal agenda out of union business.”
Hopefully the Bauers of the world will carry the day in these negotiations, because this time there may not be a Cal Ripken around to bail these guys out.