I sat in the make-shift press box at Fenway Park on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, watching Xander Bogaerts mishandle what appeared to be any easy ground ball and it hit me. And then, a little later, the Red Sox confirmed that their ace Eduardo Rodriguez and third-baseman prospect Bobby Dalbec both came down with COVID-19.
Baseball is in trouble.
I’m late to “the game,” aka COVID-19 destruction on our daily lives, probably due to my fascination with the sport.
I figured, as far back as early March when this got serious, that baseball would figure it out.
Personally, I’m a sucker for the sport.
I like getting to the park early. I like watching batting practice. I like watching guys take grounders. I like watching coaches talk to players.
Most of all, I like the timelessness and unpredictability of the game.
But now, more than ever, it is obvious:
Baseball, with COVID-19’s influence, is in trouble.
Today. Next week. Next month. Post-COVID-19. And so on.
The greatest game ever invented is akin to kick ball right now among the masses.
COVID-19 has exposed a lot of issues in our country and daily lives. It seems like a lot of what we do is hanging on a thread and this pathetic virus has sheared the thread.
The negotiations this spring between owners and players, when it became obvious the virus was not going away, were vintage 21st century baseball. A hot mess.
Baseball has a history, especially in the free agent era, of being selfish.
The game’s biggest stars have long-term deals that would allow their children’s grandchilden’s grandchildren to never work a day in their lives.
The problem is that if this sport doesn’t get its act together, our grandchildren might not care about it.
What’s wrong with baseball?
We don’t have the time for that list just yet, but all you need to know is that an agent, Scott Boras, is considered the most powerful man in the sport.
He’s worth more than any player that has ever played the game, with a net worth estimated at $500 million. Not bad for a dude who lasted four years in the minors.
But that’s a topic for another day.
With every new day of “Summer Camp,” bad news seems to be on the horizon.
Players are opting out of the 60-game season. The bigger problem is that the vast majority of those players are very good, and rich, ones.
Nick Markakis, David Price, Felix Hernandez, Mike Leake, Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond are among the Who’s Who List of major leaguers deciding to stay home with their families instead of being with their teammates and their sport.
Combined, that talented crew has earned, on average, $139 million in career salaries. In other words, “Bleep you baseball. We don’t need you.”
We should not be surprised. Baseball is different than the other sports — too many players with too many agendas.
Same with the owners. There are the Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, Mets, Dodgers, Cubs and Phillies, franchises who lately have all flirted with $175 million-plus in yearly salaries, and then the rest.