Baseball means a lot to us in a number of different ways. When I say the word, “baseball,” you might think back to your mom or dad driving you to your little league games or you might even think of driving your own kids there. You might even think of brats on the grill at home with all of your buddies and clamoring inside the house once the FSN theme kicks in and you hear the voice of Dick Bremer bellow throughout the house inviting you to another edition of Twins baseball. For me, baseball has meant so much more than a game and now more than ever, I and the rest of us need it back.
Picture yourself being a young pup saddling up for a weekend tournament and getting dressed in the morning looking at your idols on your wall trying to emulate their game in your shoes. For me those posters were Torii Hunter, Joe Mauer, and Nick Punto. I never got to pro ball, but in my mind I tried to play like those pros I idolized as a kid everyday I went onto the field. I tried to fly around and smile like Torii, I tried to go wherever I was needed on the field like Nick Punto, and on the most important position on the field (I’m biased), I tried to call a game like Joe Mauer. But these qualities were not just exclusive to baseball, they helped me in my life as a man. It disheartens me knowing there is a possibility we won’t have baseball this summer but even more than the reasons I’m sure we’re all feeling is that, I can’t but think of a young boy or girl right now who because of this season may never get to truly experience the beautiful game.
All I’ve been reading on social media is how other sports are taking over the landscape and baseball is continuing to slide but that’s ok because, “the games are too long,” or “it’s a boring sport anyway,” but I think these are all issues of perception. All of us who love baseball aren’t affected by issues like this because we were all brought up in an environment that showed us how truly remarkable this game is. Today the youth of the world have a unique opportunity to follow along with their favorite players outside of the diamond like Gavin Lux, a prospect in the Dodgers organization who has his own YouTube channel, to our own in Trevor May who started the MLB The Show League and streams on twitch as well. Baseball has some of the greatest personalities in the world playing their game and the sport has failed to market them. Now with the fate of the 2020 season in the balance, it’s more important than ever that instead of looking into dollars and cents, Rob Manfred and the ownership groups salvage this season not just for the sake of bringing baseball back, but it has to be done to save it.
We will never know the butterfly effect of this season if we do or don’t have one but right now there is a young child at home who could grow up to be the greatest baseball player that has ever lived, there is a young child at home who is turning off the volume on the tv and is calling the games in their room hoping to be a broadcaster someday, there is a young child who is using legos to build a beautiful future ballpark, and there is a dad throwing a ball with his son before his first game, all of that and more could be gone- if the MLB doesn’t get out of the way and just let the kids play.