By Lenn Robbins
February arrived and the baseball season never seemed further away.
It wasn’t because of the Nor’easter that blew into town and left the fields at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium buried under some 10 inches of snow. Sure, it hardly looks like a first pitch is anywhere in sight but that’s not why the season seems shrouded in drifts of uncertainty.
We don’t know that start date of the season or the length of the season or if the National League will use the DH because of this: The owners and players are addicted to the labor war they’ve been waging since 1966, they year the Player’s Association was founded.
They are junkies who don’t stick needles in their arms (well that’s another column). They can’t resist the twisted thrill that accompanies with their 24/7, 365-day blood lust to stick it to one another.
Us fans? You’re nothing more than a disposable needle.
MLB, according to a report in Sunday’s Yahoo Sports, sent a proposition to the players on Friday, outlining their vision of the upcoming season. It calls for a 154-game season that would start a month later than the scheduled April 1 Opening Day, an expanded postseason and a universal DH.
The players have yet to respond but they reportedly want to start on time. They do not want an extended postseason because it de-emphasizes the regular which would negatively impact compensation such as bonus clauses.
The owners want the expanded postseason because they make more – all together now – Money! The New York Post reported in December that ESPN was already negotiating with MLB to televise the first round of the playoffs, anticipating that the postseason will be upped from 10 days to 14.
This latest standoff has nothing to do with coming up with smarter COVID 19 protocols or making it safer to return to stadiums. This is MLB and the MLBPA wrestling in the mud for one more vial of green ecstasy.
The great irony here is that baseball, more than any other team sport, offers an emotional neutral safe ground for families and friends to unite. The languid pace and sunny skies make for even the most diehard Mets and Yankees fans to share a cold beer or Game Stop stock prices.
But the players and owners are too addicted to their billion-dollar battle to think about the joys of their game. We wait and shovel snow, without the warming thought of Opening Day to flow through us like a mug of hot chocolate.