Friday, April 9, 2010

Pay Ball!

Speaking of losing our America, I have long ago lost an American tradition that used to stand along hot dogs and apple pie. Professional baseball. It lost me years ago and I don't see it ever gaining me back. You could say I have struck out. I don't mind. 

It all came down to money as it seems to do with everything. The players want more, the owners want more, the agents want more, and the advertisers want more. The only way to accomplish this is to simply raise ticket prices, concession prices, and advertising fees. 

All the fans want is to be able to go to a game and enjoy themselves and use that time to escape their everyday problems and just relax and root for their favorite team. 

This post isn't meant to argue one way or the other or to change anyone's view, but just a reminder to myself why I gave up giving in. Not a penny will be spent by me that would go into the pockets of any owner or player. 

Just a few facts: Since 1972 each time a baseball labor contract has expired there has been a work stoppage, either a player's strike or an owner's lockout. The following years had a player strike: 1972- 14 days; 1980- 8 days; 1981- 50 days; 1985- 2 days; 1994- 232 days. Owner lockouts occurred in 1973, 1976, and 1990. 

The 1994-95 season strike was the fourth in-season stoppage in 23 years. It caused the cancellation of the '94 World Series which was the first series cancellation since 1904! 

Baseball has the dishonor to be the only professional sport to lose it's entire postseason due to a labor dispute. Bet they're proud of that!

So that is what drove me away from the game. I still love the sport and enjoy playing the game as well as watching kids play in school and college as well as all softball games. I'm am just finished with MLB,  and all of it's greed, in person and on TV.

As a kid I knew every player on my favorite team and most of the stars on all other teams. I would collect baseball cards, watch it on TV and would die to go to a game with anyone that would take me. I miss those days. I miss those feelings. But I don't miss the game the way it operates today.

I was reminded about all of this today after reading a story by reporter Tom Jones in my local paper, The St. Petersburg Times. As I scanned the sports section, one sentence caught my eye. "The Yankees' payroll this season is $206,333,389." The next sentence said it all for me. "That's obscene". Yes. If that is their payroll what do you think their other expenditures could total? Add it all together and it has to be a staggering figure.

They have the highest payroll in the majors, it's $43.5 million more than the next-closest team, the Red Sox.  

Jones goes on to warn the Yankee players to stop arrogantly acting like they're so great. They're "not the smartest guys in the world, just the richest".

The Yankees' philosophy is simple: Buy a guy. And if he doesn't work out, pay him to go away and buy a better guy. 

But I don't think of it like that. I wonder if that is their expenses, what in the world can their income be? Gazillions? Where does that come from? High ticket prices, $5 hot dogs and $10 beers. 

America's past time used to be the sport of everyman. But today, virtually no working man with a family can afford to go to a game at the big ticket stadiums. Unless he has an extra $150-$200 that he doesn't need to go toward a bill. 

So that's my feelings about why I gave up the game. You make up your own mind. You have the money to give to the players and owners? Then buy a ticket or two, or three, or four. You can even give them an extra $20 bill and get you a dog and a beer, but sorry, you won't have enough change back for those nachos.

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