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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

Fans don't control destiny of baseball

Sunday, August 18, 2002

It may never actually come to it, but the great American past time may soon come to a screeching halt. Baseball union officials have now set a strike deadline for Aug. 30 and though both sides say a strike isn't inevitable, don't tell that to the fans.

Baseball - and all professional sports for that matter - is in a unique position. We fans think we have control since we pay the dollars at the gate. But in reality, we have absolutely no input nor control over the future of the game whatsoever.

When these periodic strike talks surface, fans get up in arms and threaten boycotts. That's our way of trying to send a signal concerning our frustration. But in the end, there will be no fan boycott and the game will continue with or without us. That's the reality of big business sports.

Baseball's last major strike in 1994 did have a big negative impact on the game. It took years as well as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to bring the fans back in record numbers. But when the dust cleared the fans did indeed return and they always will.

We have elevated sports in this country to an obsession. It is no longer a sporting event built around friendly competition. Not by a wide margin. Sports heroes are in many ways our royalty and regardless of their actions, we return time and time again.

I've heard all of the fan rumbling this week and the pledges of boycotts. But it will never happen. Not in a million years. We'll grumble and complain and then return to our regular seats in the stadiums or in front of the television. Accept that fact and move on.

It really doesn't matter what the substance of the strike talks involve. It may be money or security or parity. Who really cares? We want our teams to stay on the field and we want the games to continue. If that means higher ticket prices, we'll pay them just as we always have.

Maybe I would sing a different tune if my beloved Cardinals were struggling. But the prospect of a long strike and the elimination of the World Series is just not acceptable. Not this year at least.

We can only hope that the powers in charge resolve their differences and the game of baseball continues without delay. But for those who think the fans control the destiny of these sports, you're just dreaming.



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