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Locked Out of Heaven

by Paul Semendinger

December 2, 2021

***

Well, they did it.

They shut down baseball.

Just take a moment and ponder that for a moment.

They shut down baseball.

The greed is of such magnitude that the people who run Major League Baseball shut down the sport. They couldn’t get their way on enough issues, issues they have known about for a long long time, and issues they could have solved a long time ago, so they shut down the game.

They shut down baseball.

They waited until the last moments, couldn’t get their way, and they locked down the game taking it away from millions and millions and millions of fans.

***

It’s amazing to think about. Amazing, fascinating, frustrating, and infuriating:

A sport that sells franchises for billions of dollars…

A sport that plays primarily in stadiums and on fields built and maintained on the backs of tax payers…

A sport where the biggest stars make hundreds of millions of dollars…

A sport with television contracts and networks that also make billions and millions…

And a sport that gets trillions of words of free publicity each and every day on the Internet, TV, radio, newspapers, and more…

shut itself down.

It closed because the people that run the sport (not to be confused with the people who ruin the sport, though they are often the same people) couldn’t get their way on enough issues.

So they took their little franchises and went home.

“We won’t play with you,” they said.

Amazing.

Infuriating.

***

Baseball is, in a very real sense, a public trust. The game is, in many ways, a game of the people.

Let me ask the simple question… if the lockout continues and Spring Training is delayed or shortened, will the residents of the cities and communities in Florida and Arizona receive a tax break from MLB as a refund for the stadiums and facilities they built with the understanding that Major League players would be training and playing there? Wasn’t that the deal baseball made with those cities and communities?

Will the residents of baseball’s cities get the same refund if the regular season is delayed or shortened? Wouldn’t the residents, the people whose taxes pay for the stadiums, deserve a refund?

Major League Baseball made a promise to these communities and cities. If the product isn’t there where and when it was supposed to be, shouldn’t there be some penalty or recourse to reclaim public funds not used for the purposes for which they were earmarked?

Who knows?

The whole thing is ugly and frustrating, and sad.

Very sad.

They couldn’t get their way so they shut the game down.

***

It seems that the Winter Meetings will now be cancelled.

The billionaires won’t be paying their millionaire executives to made trades and signings for millionaire players.

And you know who gets hurt the most?

The people, the common everyday people who would have worked the restaurants, bars, hotels, and shops and more who now don’t have that to look forward to. This will hurt many people in profound ways.

This is Major League Baseball.

In a time when people are struggling, mightily, financially and otherwise, the billionaires took their game away from thousands of people who would have benefitted from their meetings – some who were counting on that revenue to help make ends meet, to help save their own holidays, and maybe even for some to put food on the table or pay the rent.

Thanks Baseball.

What a thing to do.

“We want more and we don’t care who we hurt to make sure we get it.”

***

How many billions is enough?

***

Millions upon millions of fans turn to baseball as a refuge from the concerns, problems, and realities of their own lives.

The struggles.

The realities.

Fans of the game revel in the joy of the Hot Stove League of player transactions, trades, and speculation.

We enjoy the banter and the talk – the arguments and disagreements.

It brings us together.

They also took that away.

They took it all away from the public.

They took it away from me and they took it away from you.

And they don’t care how the shutdown impacts others. They clearly don’t. It’s all about them and their never ending desire for more and more.

They took joy away from millions – and for some, reading about the game, their team, or their players is the only joy they look forward to each day.

They took that away from everyone because they want more.

They don’t care what you want or what you need. They don’t care about the businesses hurt in the process or the communities or the individuals.

They don’t care. If they cared, they wouldn’t have shut down the game.

It’s a horrible look. Greed is always ugly.

***

Make no mistake, make no mistake, they shut the game down for one reason, they want more money. Greed. It’s an ugly look.

Real ugly.

“We want even more. And since we can’t get it. We’ll take the game away from everyone.”

***

They took the game away from me.

They took the game away from you.

They stole it. They ripped it away.

And make no mistake here, also, once they bring it back, they’ll tell you that they care about you, that they love the fans, that they appreciate us all.

Don’t believe it.

They only care about the fans’ money. That’s all.

That’s all they want.

Your money and mine. As much of it as they can get.

***

I understand there are issues they need to solve. Solve them. There has to be a way to solve these issues without shutting down the sport, without taking the game away from the fans and the people who need the game to survive, to get their paychecks, to live their lives.

See here from MLBTR:

A transactions freeze will be the most visible semblance of the lockout for fans, at least until the potential for game cancellations if no deal is agreed upon within a couple months. A ban on transactions is certainly not the only effect, however. Jeff Passan of ESPN explored some intricacies of the situation earlier this week in a piece that’s well worth a full read. A few of the less visible effects: injured players will not be allowed to communicate with team training staffs, players are no longer allowed to use team-run mental health services, and some foreign-born players may run into visa issues.

Amazing.

Infuriating.

***

Locked out.

They closed the sport.

They shut down baseball.

What a shame.

***

It’s shameful.

#LaborDispute #lockout

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