Baltimore Orioles: MLB can’t screw up a good thing

As I’ve said before, the Baltimore Orioles don’t seem to be signing anyone. But neither does anyone else. It’s a perennial tug-of-war between teams and players. However let’s keep in mind that MLB is in a good spot right now. And one of the only things that can ruin that is labor unrest.

And you have to hope that we aren’t headed in that direction. Unlike the NFL, baseball has strayed away from controversy of late. The NFL on one hand appeared to embrace players kneeling for the national anthem. And then on the flip side they wouldn’t accept a Super Bowl ad from a veterans group asking people to stand for the anthem – because they didn’t want to be political.

Regardless of where you find yourself on that issue, there’s no question that there’s the impression of taking one side over the other. And again regardless of your views, there should be no question that people don’t tune into a sporting event in order so that politics can be shoved down their throats. They tune in for the love of the game and in order to see their teams win.

Now in fairness, people might ask what else the NFL could do in that situation. If they had required players to stand, they would have been taking the other side. So maybe it was a bit of a Catch-22. But the fact is that the entire issue was mis-managed. And that’s taken it’s toll on a lot of fans.

Again in contrast, MLB has stayed out of political issues like this. Furthermore, baseball has a unique advantage in that the meat of it’s season comes at a time where there’s no competition. For the most part, from June until September it’s the only sport. Yes there’s the NBA and NHL playoffs, but those seem to drag on and on – and eventually it’s only the cities involved who are truly paying attention. And while the stretch run of the season and the playoffs go up against the NFL, September and October baseball is usually as compelling as it gets.

But only labor unrest could possibly ruin this. Players and owners alike should take that into account. I might remind folks that the 1994 World Series was canceled because of a players’ strike. The first part of the 1995 season was as well. And as a result when baseball did come back, many fans did not. It took a guy named Ripken going to work everyday to fully bring baseball back into our national discussion. Is there another Cal waiting in the wings to rescue the sport this time around?

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