Baseball Strikes Tend To Kill The Sport For A Lot Of People

baseballsEmpty ballparks for more than a year? It’s the tactical equivalent of sticking your face in front of a Randy Johnson fastball. Players will lose jobs, fans will lose the pennant races and the game will lose fans. But the negotiators are still playing chicken, hoping the other side’ll blink.

The players are understandably reluctant to amend the hare-brained system that enabled them to earn an annual average salary of US$2.4 million for throwing and hitting and running around the diamond. The owners, who agreed to the contract terms that enabled those salaries, now want concessions like revenue sharing and luxury taxes on the highest payrolls. League income, about $3.5 billion in 2001, is so unevenly distributed that only a handful of rich teams can afford the nine-figure payrolls required to seriously compete for World Series titles. Supporters in two dozen also-ran cities can dream, but realistically, they have no shot. No wonder they’re tuning out.

There are no good guys in this fight. The players demand far more than their skills and drawing power deserve, and the dopey owners give it to them. Tom Hicks, billionaire boss of the Texas Rangers, set the record for fiscal dim-wittedness in baseball — quite an achievement given the competition — when in …

Charlie Hustle Deserves The Honor

charliehuntleTO FANS EVERYWHERE, Pete Rose was “Mr. Baseball.” He was the guy who swung his heart out, ran as fast as he could to get on base, and didn’t bat an eye before diving headfirst into a slide. He holds the career records for most hits (4,256), most at-bats (14,053), and most games played (3,562). A 17-time all-star, he donned the jerseys of the Cincinnati Reds, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Montreal Expos before signing on as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

Yet Rose, 61, isn’t a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In fact, he’s set foot in a baseball stadium only a handful of times in the past 13 years. In a sport where he once reigned as the “Hit King,” Rose is almost invisible. That’s because in 1989, he was banned for life from baseball for betting on games, including his own team’s.

Despite hard-hitting evidence against him, Rose has always proclaimed his innocence. Recently, he has been in talks with Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, trying to negotiate his way back into baseball. People close to the commissioner have said Selig may end Rose’s exile if he admits to gambling on baseball games. An end to the ban would let Rose manage, …