Nine strikes and who is outta here?
Today, baseball players are expected to set a date for the ninth strike in the history of Major League Baseball.
For hardcore baseball fans, especially those with season tickets, this might seem like a good day to take off work, hanging on every news brief connected to the strike, the season, the sport.
And that would be the second poorest choice made on behalf of baseball today.
Not more than two months ago, there was word the players of the WNBA were also thinking of going on strike.
Haven’t heard much about a WNBA strike as of late. Too bad the players of the WNBA can’t have a talk with the players of baseball, who fear little and seem to care about even less.
Oh, the players will set a strike date today, for after strikes in ’81, ’85, and ’94, it appears they need to strike as badly as they need to spit and scratch.
One has to wonder if the players even understand the issue or the state of the game. Seriously, have you ever seen a player talk at length about labor issues while his agent is drinking water?
If the players must strike, they should not set the date for late August or September, as expected. Of course that would be ideal for them, in terms of leverage. But let’s call a work stoppage interrupting a season what it really is: holding another World Series for ransom.
True, A-list actors make filthy bank for their movies. But at least fans get to see the entire film.
Maybe worst of all, a strike sets the stage for the owners and commissioner Bud Selig to creatively try and restore the damage these things cause.
Let’s see, among baseball’s solution to the ’94 strike that resulted in no World Series was to juice the baseballs and hit them in numerous new, hitter friendly parks. Exciting, in a softball kind of way.
Baseball also introduced the wild card and broke the league barrier by introducing inter-league baseball because it was said fans wanted to see American League players compete against the National League.
These games are then scheduled shortly before and after the All-Star game, which is basically an inter-league game on steroids.
Hmm. Bad analogy. Maybe.
And these gimmicks were what, a reward to fans?
Imagine the anger fans will have if baseball shorts us again. Then imagine the spite you’ll feel next year when Selig announces the latest wrinkle to preserve a sport bent on self-destruction: perhaps nine-inning ties broken by dramatic games of dodge ball?
Vince Vosti is a sportswriter at The Union. E-mail him at
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Grass Valley native Brad Sweet drove past the competition and into victory lane last week, snapping his longest winless streak of the season.