Baseballs

Baseball takes one more step backwards

There could not have been a better illustration of Major League Baseball’s complete obliviousness to the feelings of its fans.

There he was, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Manfred, enjoying the Florida sun during the ongoing negotiations with the Players Association, practicing his golf swing.

Now Manfred, the players and anyone else awaiting divine intervention to save the game, are free to make their tee times. As usually happens during its mud wrestling for big bucks, baseball’s ship has hit an iceberg.

Past stalemates typically ended with the owners caving, the players offering a fig leaf to hide the owners’ shame, then everyone marching back onto field to celebrate the Great American Game.

And, of course, to soak the game’s fans for as much as possible to keep the owners fat and the millionaire players happy.

But Tuesday’s exasperation had a different feel to it. While reports showed a cluster of fans picketing outside Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., that doesn’t represent the feelings of folks stuck in winter’s slowly weakening grasp, whose immediate interest is bracing for the next snowstorm.

There is no shrieking, no outcry, no flowery prose mourning the loss of baseball’s innocence and yearning for the days of glory and the reserve clause.

MLB has cancelled its first six games of the season, keeping a straight face while regretting the hurt it will cause. Owners are publicly shrugging their shoulders and explaining the games cannot be made up later and that the players’ pay would be docked for any games missed.

It is the lone chip the owners have in luring the players to their way of seeing things.

The players again see it for what it is. It is the owners jutting their collective chin and saying, “We’ll keep chipping away at your mountains of gold until you settle this.”

Do the games have to be cancelled? Certainly not. Erase a few off days and schedule a few doubleheaders – separate admission, of course, so more fans can go out to see their favorite team.

That was the bromide first floated decades ago when day-night doubleheaders became prevalent.

By a lucky coincidence, an email landed here Tuesday from an internet marketing outfit called Digital Third Coast, affirming that attending a Red Sox game is akin scheduling one day of fun at Fenway Park means spending the rest of the vacation at home.

In 2021, a day at Fenway cost an average of $101.36 per fan, including the ticket, parking, two beers and a hot dog.

For fans who are unable to stop at two beers and one hot dog, there are ATMs located in the concourse. Or, you can run up the old credit card.

Cash or credit, it means nothing to the lords and princes of the game.

It will be interesting to see how the lords and princes would react if all is not forgiven this time.

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