As the MLB lockout turned from days to weeks to months with negative progress on the new CBA, it’s become abundantly clear that we’re not going to get the start to the MLB season anytime soon.
Even if, by some miracle, a deal is reached before the end of March, the season will have already been marred by the CBA controversy surrounding it. The owners’ reputations have been smeared and in case the curtain hadn’t been peeled back enough already, the door has blown wide open on the business of baseball: “It’s not about the game, it’s about the profits the game brings in, and that’s all that matters.”
With a shortened schedule, even if a season is played, fans will still consider this season a wash in the same way that 2020 was. The Dodgers won the World Series that year, and while we ended up getting the two best teams in the World Series, many fans still believe that season should have an asterisk next to it. I still hear that championship referred to as a “Mickey Mouse ring.” Yes, it’s still very possible that we have a 120 or 130-game season, but a deal would have to be struck soon...like really soon. With each passing day, more games are taken away and we are not close to a deal.
As fans continue to look for light at the end of the tunnel, every step sets us deeper in darkness. I am depressed and all I can say is “Fuck you MLB.”
We’ve already lost a year of prime Mike Trout, Juan Soto, Fernando Tatís Jr., and Shohei Ohtani thanks to a COVID-shortened 2020 season. Now, we’re having another season shortened? One that could be prevented? Fuck you.
Obviously, nobody, owners included, wants to see the season canceled altogether, but I’m honestly not sure a deal will be reached before the point of no return. A full MLB season cancellation hasn’t happened since 1994. Baseball was much more popular then than it is today, and still, the lack of a season that year almost destroyed the game. Popularity was way down as World Series viewership decreased in five of the following seven seasons. What saved MLB? Steroids, of course. And after years of the higher-ups at MLB turning a blind eye to PEDs, the same thing that saved baseball also tore it down. It’s like that one quote from Iron Man 2.
With baseball’s popularity at near-record lows in 2022, I’m legitimately worried that a similar scandal could pop up soon. Am I being paranoid? Maybe, but there have been so many scandals across MLB lately, that I have to imagine the league has plans for other ones ready to go. They’re going to have to do something to get fans back, right? They clearly have no idea how to market their players, or be fun for younger generations, or hold players and teams accountable for cheating, so why not do a little cheating themselves. They’re likely just hoping they don’t get caught.
Of course, they will get caught. They always do, but as was the case when they looked the other way while hundreds of players used PEDs in the late 90s and early 2000s, MLB will vehemently deny it had any idea. It has to, because it has to make it seem like it has some integrity left. It doesn’t though. It doesn’t care about its fans. It doesn’t care about its players. It doesn’t care about baseball.