As if we don’t have enough other catastrophes to worry about (Covid, omicron, gas prices, fruit cake shortages), now we all must worry about, you guessed it, a Major League Baseball lock out.
Somewhere, Mr. Scrooge (aptly played by both the players and owners) has taken another log off the fire, and Mr. Cratchit (played brilliantly by you and me, the fans) finds himself begging for a day off to take Tiny Tim to a ball game. Mr. C takes out a second mortgage, buys the nosebleed section tickets online, and brings his own bag of peanuts from home to share with Timmy.
At this point, I don’t see a big fat turkey emerging to make us all feel better about the current state of the National Pastime. Watching Ken Burns’ "Baseball" documentary on the MLB channel can’t help my bad attitude. Even the turkey in "The Christmas Carol" ends up getting cooked, don’t ya know.
I am an unabashed baseball lover, but unfortunately, my love has become that of “The Ghost of Baseball Past.” Only in my dreams can I be carried back to the baseball of yore, where I can watch misty-eyed of the young Mickey Mantle or, my favorite, Lou Brock prance gracefully in the forever green and astroturf-free baseball diamond. Today’s baseball “diamond” is more like cubic zirconia — it looks pretty good until you find out your fiancé went cheap on you and thought you were too dumb to see the difference.
How much longer can one player’s (Max Scherzer) one-year salary ($43 million) be more than that of the entire Pittsburg Pirates or Baltimore Orioles' total payroll in 2021?
How can the Major League Baseball Players Association call themselves a “union” with a straight face when the salary discrepancy between a guy like Scherzer and a rookie is $42,400,000.01? (I threw the penny in for emphasis.) Are they really looking out for the “little guy?”
What’s a greedy owner to do? Penny-pinch in those small markets to stay afloat and hope the fans will show up anyway or spend money like drunken sailors and hope your whole “high-risk/high-reward” philosophy sticks? How much is a cold hot dog worth, really?
Did Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals lose sleep last year, wondering if his .165 batting average was worth $18,000,000.00? Where’s the incentive to hit at least .200 if you are guaranteed the $18 mil?
In the spirit of true “Festivus for the rest of us,” my Airing of Grievances will result in nothing but 5 minutes of griping with nothing in return. I’m not expecting a Miracle on 34th Street, and I’m not that naïve to believe there is a Santa Clause (however, the “Reserve Clause” just could be Santa’s illegitimate lovechild); yet I’m beginning to feel like the kid in "A Christmas Story" who gets dared into sticking his tongue on the frozen light post and falls for it.
God bless us, everyone.
David Compton is a resident of Stephens City.