By Brian Hoffman – Sports Editor
Here it is, day 98 AG(After Gobert). That’s three months and one week ago today that the NBA announced it was putting the season on hold a day after Rudy Gobert tested positive for Covid-19, and most others followed suit.
I hope baseball doesn’t screw this up. While the NBA and NHL have laid out strong plans to return to action after the coronavirus stoppage the Major League Baseball owners and players continue to squabble over terms of a return. That’s not good for the sport.
Baseball should be the easiest sport to get back on the field, since its outside and the players are spaced apart, unlike football or soccer. Plus, the Korean League has been playing for over a month and they’re still going strong. I grew bored of it in a hurry, but at least they’re still playing so we know it can be done.
It’s not surprising that baseball is the sport still in limbo. While basketball, football and hockey have reasonable salary cap structures the baseball union has maintained a system of grab all you can and the owners wouldn’t pay it if they couldn’t afford it. Of course, you and I know the owners can afford it because they pass along the expenses to fans like you and I.
If you’re old enough to remember 1994, and that should be anyone in their mid-30s and older, you recall how a lot of fans vowed to not watch baseball anymore after the strike. We missed out on two months of the season and the playoffs and World Series as management and employees tussled over how to cut the pie, unconcerned that everyone was getting rich anyway compared to the common man. Well, a lot of common men didn’t take that very well and it hurt the game.
Then along came Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire and the home run race and fans started to fall in love with baseball all over again. Even Barry Bonds and his huge steroid-induced head and surly attitude didn’t keep fans from loving this great game.
Well, do you really want to test it again by killing the 2020 baseball season while basketball and hockey have found a way to play? I wouldn’t think so, but if history teaches us anything it’s that anything can happen.
I don’t care whether they play 50 games, 76 games, 81 games or any number in between, let’s just play some games and put them on TV for us fans to watch. We all understand the coronavirus is no one’s fault(maybe the Chinese if you ask some), so surely fans are reasonable enough to understand things will be a little different. However, when you’re in your lounge chair with a drink and a sandwich and the Yankees are playing the Red Sox on the tube, life can still be good.
What fans don’t understand is how men with four homes and two big yachts can’t take a little cut to their usual haul to keep the game alive, and I’m talking about both sides.
We’ll see what happens this week, but like Yogi says, “it’s getting late early.”