Baseball will never die. It’s played all over the world in different forms. As an example, there is Finnish baseball and a top prospect in the 2022 NHL Draft, Brad Lambert, talked about that with me recently.
“I have been to a Finnish baseball game, and we always played it in school,” Lambert remembered. “It’s fun but very different from the American game. American baseball is way harder. In Finnish baseball, you can pretty much hit the ball every time. American baseball has guys throwing 100 MPH at you. I think Finnish baseball might be more entertaining because they’re always hitting it.”
The game is near perfect, or it was. It’s changing and a lot of it for the worse. I love playing baseball or softball. Many do. Most who love playing it don’t want to watch the current product in one sitting. The DH rule didn’t help that, and no pitch clock or stopping batters from stepping out too much was implemented so even if this CBA gets signed over the weekend, those things aren’t going to happen in major league baseball.
The owner’s ultimatum of a signed CBA by Monday or else regular-season games start to get canceled is a real threat. It will start to happen. I never felt the owners wanted to play a full season, so this isn’t a surprise. Players are already losing here. Soon the paychecks will start to be affected, and when that happens, it starts to get murky.
Do I think the CBA will get signed this weekend? I think there’s a 20% chance, but Tony Clark, who is leading the charge for the players’ seems like he’s in over his head, and while the players seem to support it in public and on Twitter it will be interesting to see if that starts to erode over the weekend.
Fans who love baseball will still support it on some level. Fans who can take it or leave it might leave. They’ll find something else to spend their money on and keep watching whatever else there is on television, and those choices are plentiful.
Even if the owners win, they lose. They were losing mindshare in this country. Rob Manfred is disliked by many. Baseball is holding on to their corporate support like grim death and has been largely ignoring the fans and what they want for decades. There is a price to pay for that. It doesn’t erode overnight, but this lockout can help speed up the process.