MLB strike: the more preferable closing
It's a shame they didn't strike-we might have had something to talk about. Instead, every man, woman, and child must face the finality of the 131st Major League Baseball season.
If only the Players Association had rejected any platform hinting at
revenue sharing and drug testing, we would have had some fun.
By spending a hundred million dollars on a collection of ballplayers, the Yankees organization financially beat and bullied their competition into submission before the first pitch of the season. To catch up, owners around the league entered unknowingly into this the bidding frenzy that eliminated any chance of a small-market team vying for a title.
Sure, the Red Sox were as guilty as any other team, but they spent $140 million on the perpetually injured Manny Ramirez because the Yankees might have acquired the slugger.
At this time, Bosox nation would turn a vengeful eye to their bitter and triumphant rivals.
If only Steinbrenner had not begun this ugly cycle, the Red Sox would have secured the Wild Card playoff birth in 2002, they would have beat the Yankees in seven games in the American League Championship Series, they would have finally shirked the Curse once and for all, and they would have built a shrine for shortstop Nomar Garciaparra (naturally he was MVP).
Instead, we must watch our classmates' hearts grow heavy, as the Red Sox continue to trail the Oakland Athletics and Ichiro's Seattle Mariners in the playoff race. And yes, we must watch their eyes glaze over with tears when the Yankees win their 28th World Series Championship.
Oh, but our woes do not stop here, but in fact they go much deeper. We
must also study the intricacies of the labor agreement that prevented
our desired strike.
The two main components of this collective bargaining agreement are the luxury tax and the sharing of local revenues. Both aim to curtail the power of the almighty dollar and bring profitability back to MLB.
However, teams may still continue to spend as much as they like, but must pay a fine if they exceed the salary cap. In other words, if you want to buy a championship, you still can but it will cost you extra.
In addition to this economic analysis, we must also turn our attention
to the Nintendo-like numbers that big leaguers are routinely displaying
in the steroid era.
A-Rod will hit 60 homeruns and knock in 150 runs, but was he on steroids? Barry Bonds set the homerun record last year with an astronomical 73 deep shots, but was his added bulk and power due to steroids?
Ah, the questions we must continue to ponder: are these guys for real? Or do regular steroid injections allow for the offensive explosion?
If you get caught using an illegal substance, like steroids, in any other major sport, you are publicly shunned and lose your eligibility within the league. However, according to former and current ballplayers, steroid user is not the outlier in professional baseball, but the norm.
Ken Caminiti won the 1996 National League MVP and has since admitted to heavy steroid use during his monster season: .326, 40 HRs, 130 RBIs. Although he was bashing balls all over the outfield, his own shrunk and withdrew from his storage unit.
And this is what we are reduced to, thanks to the averted strike, we discuss the former state of Ken Caminiti's testicles and speculate on the connection between our MLB's heroes statistical accomplishments and health effects of chronic steroid use.
And suddenly it strikes you why Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue focuses so completely on women-it might be too revealing for the men.
And for finally, after the in-depth analysis of a labor agreement and the continued speculation about widespread steroid use, we get to watch the same old plots develop in the postseason.
The Yankees will arrogantly claim the American League Championship by toppling the Anaheim Angels in six games. Red Sox nation will pray once again for a Luis Gonzalez-esque bloop to avoid the inevitable.
In the National League, the Atlanta Braves, owners of the best record in baseball, will prove that they are the greatest regular season team in the history of baseball and allow the St. Louis Cardinals to advance to the World Series.
And then the Yankees will win it again. I told you a strike would have been a better finish.