The sport of baseball isn’t in the best spot at the moment. For the first time since 1994, regular season games have been canceled due to a labor dispute. There are even fears that each and every April game might be canceled. It’s been an ugly three, soon to be four, months for all parties involved. Especially, for the fans. On Thursday, reliever Joe Kelly wrote an impassioned op-ed to baseball fans in the LA Times.
“A plea: Don’t give up on baseball. It’s too important.”
Kelly voiced his concern that the endless cycle of disappointing CBA news is washing away fans’ fond memories of their favorite game.
“When you’re watching bat flips, punch-outs, home run-robbing catches, and laser throws from the warning track, it’s easy to remember all the feels. Bathing in news of collective bargaining agreements, not so much.”
Like many baseball fans, Kelly enjoys watching the NBA, NFL, and even the NHL. Quick side note, Kelly has a ton of respect for hockey players and noted last week that they’re his “cup of tea”.
Anyways, central to the motif of Kelly’s column was that enjoying baseball, unlike the other aforementioned sports, takes patience.
“This isn’t Amazon. I can’t order up a dose of October postseason drama, drop it at your doorstep and simply quench your thirst for instant gratification.”
This isn’t Kelly’s first public engagement in the larger conversation surrounding baseball’s decline in popularity. Back in January, the reliever used his Instagram account to announce his support of the “baseball isn’t boring” movement.
In a highly competitive entertainment landscape, the postponement of baseball’s Opening Day was the last thing the sport needed.
The CBA dispute between MLB and the MLBPA is more nuanced than “millionaires versus billionaires”, but to the casual fan, it’s just that.
Which is why, unfortunately, many of them might give up on baseball.
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