Photo Courtesy of Andy Singer
Major League Baseball may or may not be coming back in the near future. Much has been said on these pages and others regarding the acrimonious negotiations between MLB owners and the players. The truth is that I have always been fascinated by the ins and outs of labor negotiations, even beyond sports. Lately though, I find myself edging closer to disinterest regarding the latest “updates” in the discussions. So much has been lost over these last three months, that the particulars grow less important by the day. Well, for everyone who isn’t a player or an owner. Hannah Keyser at Yahoo Sports examined the thoughts and fears of essential members of baseball front offices across the league in an article yesterday that captured my thoughts to a “T.” MLB owners are taking the players, but more importantly anyone who has invested their money, time, and even careers into the game of baseball for a ride.
Viewed from an outsider’s perspective, MLB’s various offers did not budge with regards to total revenue awarded to the players while asking the players for major concessions prior to the most recent developments on Wednesday and Thursday this week. The players showed movement and offered additional concessions in every offer presented publicly. I genuinely get the sense that the owners only returned to the table when their fire and brimstone PR strategy failed in spectacular fashion. While certainly hope that there is some form of MLB season, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sympathize at least to some extent with people who are ready to keep the TV off when games return. Even if I personally believe the blame lies mostly with one side of these negotiations, I also understand the growing number of people who can’t understand or sympathize with either billionaires or millionaires who can’t come together for the common good to play some baseball games. I won’t say too much more about it in this piece, but I place the majority of blame at the owners’ feet for the current labor strife. They are supposed to be the stewards of the game, and they have taken that game from people like the ones who read and write at this site.
I’m tired of talking about it. For now, I just want to talk about some of the things I miss about baseball and the Yankees:
Today is Friday. I have summer hours at my day job that I intend to use for a change, which means I’ll be playing golf late in the afternoon, which seems almost like a return to normal, but the cadence is all wrong. Normally, I time my late afternoon Friday 9-hole rounds to end with just enough time for me to race home or to the nearest bar to watch the Yankees play. The cadence of my day feels all wrong.
Aaron Hicks is reportedly almost completely healthy. I want to see if Tommy John Surgery brought his arm back to its former glory. There is nothing more exciting than watching the fear on a runner’s face when he tries to tag-up or run on Aaron Hicks. News flash to runners: you shouldn’t run on Hicks, but keep doing it, because I love watching the highlights even years later.
Oh, Aaron Judge can throw a bit too. I love watching him make a throw in what seems like slow motion, but then the ball just explodes at 100 MPH to its intended target.
Watching Brett Gardner grind his way through each game with his “hair on fire” (pretty impressive for a bald guy). Every second Gardy is on a baseball field, you get the sense that he claws for every bit of success he’s ever achieved. In what may be his last season as a Yankee, I just want to see him play as much as possible.
I miss the sound of seams ripping through the air. Oh, I’ve played catch this summer and heard the sound, but I want to hear it picked up by a camera at Yankee Stadium.
The snap of a brand new, professional quality baseball mitt – you know, the one that sounds like a gunshot coming through your TV screen when the broadcast picks it up in the bullpen.
The crack of a bat after the ball careens into the sweet spot. I particularly miss hearing the sound of the ball off of Sanchez, Stanton, and Judge’s bats. It just sounds different when those guys hit it, and I want to see if they can add to their presence on the all-time exit velocity leaderboard (2017 and 2018 looked the best, but I’m hoping for a return to glory in 2020).
A disappearing Tanaka splitter. I know that the pitch really didn’t work last year, but when Tanaka is right, that splitter is one of my favorite pitches to watch.
Gerrit Cole…just Gerrit Cole. I’ve waited too long to watch him in pinstripes…we all have.
The smell of the infield dirt. Anyone who has a well seasoned mitt knows what I’m talking about.
Yankee broadcast banter. It never occurred to me how much I would miss listening to the crew of Yankee broadcasters in my house on a nightly basis…I think even Michael Kay and John Sterling, but mostly David Cone, Paul O’Neill, and Kenny Singleton.
Talking about the progress of minor league prospects. We just did our series on the 2020 Top-15 Yankee Prospects, but that list really can’t be updated (save for including the most recent Yankee draft picks, possibly) without seeing them play. All of these players are losing development time.
Eating a hot dog while watching a baseball game. Yes, this is perfection.
Watching Gleyber Torres continue his march towards elite player status. The guy is for real.
Mike Trout. This isn’t Yankee-related, but Mike Trout is a generational player, and we are all lucky to say we got to see him play. Watching him play is a treat.
The next Yankee rally meme. Thumbs down was great, Savages was hysterical, and Gardy beating up the dugout roof was my favorite. I want a new one in 2020.
Seeing the game. In my author bio, it says that I am a misplaced baseball rat, and that really is the truth. The lack of baseball hasn’t been a hole so much as it has been an open wound in my life.
I will welcome baseball’s return whenever it happens. I just hope there are still some other people around who care about it the same way.