Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire aren’t walking through that door.
Twenty-four years after two of the most prominent faces of the steroid era saved baseball after the strike of 1994-95 by combing to hit 136 home runs in 1998, the question begs to be asked, “who will save baseball this time?” after regular-season games have been canceled for the first time in 27 years due to the current labor dispute.
For baseball and sports fans that are approaching the age of 30, this is a new experience for them, as they only know a world in which Opening Day is an annual event, a sports holiday. But, that won’t be the case after Rob Manfred shut down the event and the first two series of the season on Tuesday.
“So far, we have failed to achieve our mutual goal of a fair deal. The unfortunate thing is that the agreement we have offered has huge benefits for fans and players,” the commissioner wrote in a letter to fans. However, being skeptical of anything Manfred says or does is par for the course given that he’s the only reason why Roger Goodell isn’t the worst commissioner in all of sports.
Eventually, baseball will be back. But what we don’t know is what kind of shape the game will be in when it returns, or how diehard fans will feel about it. However, that could be the least of their problems because as the game falls further and further behind the NFL and NBA in popularity, attempting to engage casual fans and a more diverse audience has been what’s held baseball back the most.
Life is about wants and needs. And in this situation, the forever fans are the “need,” while casual fans and a more diverse audience are the “want.” So, if baseball is ever going to evolve it’s going to need its fans to stick with them while simultaneously finding a way to clean up its act so that others will want to tune in.
Here’s a list of those things that need to be addressed: