Holidays Are No Fun For Baseball People This Year

IBWAA

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It's an odd Christmas with baseball in lockdown.Christina Rutz, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0

By Dan Schlossberg

It was the night before Christmas

And all through the house

Not a creature was stirring

Not even a batboy

Last year, owners and players found Covid shots under their trees.

This year, nothing but lumps of coal.

As winter sports struggle to find enough healthy players, the owners and players of Major League Baseball are sitting on their hands, waiting for the other side to blink.

Like Desi and Lucy, whose dramatized life story comes to silver screens this weekend, they can’t live together but can’t live apart.

It’s a matter of trust, overshadowed by a huge helping of greed. They can’t stand to be in the same room, let alone on the same planet, but neither can survive without the other.

Fans, as usual, are the losers. If and when the warring parties reconcile, spectators will pay higher prices and suffer longer waits between innings while sponsors pitch everything from gaming to gummy bears.

In a winter when trades and free agents should be dominating the sports pages, baseball purists are reduced to arguing the merits of Cooperstown candidates with histories of cheating, from Sammy Sosa to Alex Rodriguez, to such other suspects as Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, and Roger Clemens.

When your numbers get better as your age increases, something’s not kosher in the State of Denmark, as the late Yogi Berra once said.

No matter what happens with the lockout, fans of baseball history will still have a long afternoon in Cooperstown on July 24. A pair of veterans committees picked six new members of the Hall of Fame, swelling membership to 339, and winners of the writers’ vote, to be announced next month, will join them (Big Papi is a lock).

Here’s The Pitch weekend editor Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ writes and speaks about baseball. He’s covered the game since 1969 and written or co-authored 40 books. E.mail him at ballauthor@gmail.com.

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