Whitey Herzog, talking about modern major-league baseball players back in 1992: “I just don’t understand it. I never saw so many unhappy millionaires in my life.”
1992 was, of course two years before the baseball strike that caused the cancellation of the World Series, that caused me to go on strike myself the following year by refusing to watch a game all year, and that, as it turned out, put an end to my life as a serious baseball fan — once I got by without it for a year, I never went back. The quote that summed up the baseball players’ attitude as I perceived it came from whining, self-pitying Pete Incaviglia: “People think we make 3 million and 4 million a year. They don’t realize that most of us only make 500,000.”
Once the owners and fans realized how much economic damage they had done themselves by destroying the fans’ goodwill, they tried to recapture audiences by colluding on the steroid era, with the ridiculously artifical McGwire/Sosa home run race. That temporarily got attention, but once the fans caught on, it simply caused even more disgust. And Monday night, when I took Kai out to watch Monday Night Football at the local sports bar, the MLB playoffs were on…on about two of the fifty televisions in the place, with all the speakers blasting the sound feed from the football game that owned all the big screens. Congratulations, MLB. You earned it.
Wait, did that sound bitter?