There are days when it can just feel utterly impossible. Pandemic. Violence. Dangerous and uncaring leadership. Challenges with the kids. Mental health struggles. Business problems.
And the refuge? The thing that was always there at the background for a pleasant distraction? Sports? Not only is it not there, but my favorite sport, one of the passions of my life, is standing on the precipice of shutting down its season, amid all of this, because of money.
Oh. And it’s my job to write about that shit. Thank you for reading, but I don’t blame the folks who’ve checked out on all things baseball right now.
• As for baseball, today is likely to be more ugliness. If various reports prove accurate, the players could respond with a proposal of their own today. Like the owners’ aggressive ask for salary cuts, which was met with immediate and public “WTF is this shit” from the players, the players’ proposal will be aggressive, and will be met with immediate and public “WTF is this shit” from the owners. It is noxious and terrible for the sport, but I suppose each side is betting on the other blinking, and then the short-term ugliness will be forgotten by fans in the wake of a new season starting. We’ll see if any of them are right, and, although I’m not a doomsayer just yet when it comes to the season actually being cancelled over money, I certainly don’t think any of the process will be pleasant.
• Jayson Stark sums up the plea quite well, highlighting the pain of what the sport could risk losing, AND the opportunity it has that could be squandered:
Is baseball somehow going to wind up as the only sport that is not going to play? C’mon. Are people this smart really going to decide that’s an acceptable and sensible decision? No, no, no, no, no. It’s just not— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) May 29, 2020
My plea to MLB: Don't drive off this cliff! https://t.co/qkmqVjU9wW
• There are so many poignant notes in there from Stark, who is not blaming the players and owners as equal offenders, mind you. It’s hard to select just one or two that really stick to my ribs, but this is a particular compelling section about the risks of shutting down:
When you disappear off the face of the sporting earth for a year and a half, you’re just inviting people to go do something else, watch something else, care about something else. Many of those people never find their way back. Why should they? Why would they?
You’re also inviting every great athlete to ask themselves the question: Why would I want to play that sport? Progress has been made over the last few years in drawing kids back into baseball. It would be so short-sighted to undo all that progress right now. But it could so easily be undone.
And finally, there is what’s left of this sport’s reputation, of its place in American life. Talk-show hosts are already so turned off by this public spitting match, they’re running Twitter polls asking whether a lost season could drop baseball below hockey or lacrosse or archery in popularity. I know they’re all desperate for programming, but does anyone really want to find out if they’re actually right? I know I don’t.
• There is no version of the risk MLB is facing that is an exaggeration. At this moment in time, if the sport does not proceed specifically because of money, its already-tenuous standing in our sporting culture will be imperiled in ways I can’t calculate. It is stunning to me that there are owners even considering a cancelled season for a millisecond.
• Jeff Passan was on The Rich Eisen Show underscoring many of the same points, while also noting that optimism has been challenged this week:
• Passan: “This will show who cares about the game of baseball, and who cares about the bottom line.”
• It sucks that it comes to this, but what a helluva move by David Price. That $1000 could mean so much to those minor league players:
Sources: David Price will pay out of his money $ 1,000 during the month of June to each minor league player in Dodgers system (40-man roster not included) according to multiple sources. Beautiful act if we count that Price hasn't played yet in MLB with @Dodgers. RESPECT.— Francys Romero (@FrancysRomero10) May 29, 2020
• Theo Epstein has resurfaced, offering well wishes and an All-In challenge prize:
• Glasses and dog DNA tests (yup) are among your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• Shohei Ohtani joined Instagram and had some fun:
• Whenever the season begins, if it does, Ohtani should be fully recovered from his Tommy John rehab and could resume his life fully as a two-way player. It feels like it’s been so long since we got to enjoy his singular talent, and I hope the arm is still as good as it looked a couple years ago.
• From Dexter Fowler, and it is worth everyone reading right now:
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Here’s the thing. I know it’s hard to fully grasp why black people are outraged. It’s hard to grasp unless you’ve seen people hold their purses tighter when you walk by, when you have people refer to you as “not black” when you’re not “ghetto”. When your parents have to give you a talk when you’re just a kid. “you can’t act like your white friends. you’ll get killed. they won’t” This is a generational discussion EVERY black family has. It terrifies you as a kid, and as an adult. You don’t understand why we know, those officers didn’t flinch at murdering that man, because he is black. The race card. We hold it. You tell us “it’s not about race” if we ever hold you to it. You don’t want us to have even that 1 bone chilling “privilege” of defense. You don’t want us to hold any privilege. We don’t hold the privilege of being a criminal, making a mistake, or simply taking a jog, the same as a white man, and being treated the same. He couldn’t breathe. He was murdered. They were gently fired from their jobs. This isn’t right. This can’t go on. (if you assume “you”, is you, and you’re upset about the generalization…… just think about that for a second)