Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Baseball: The new pro wrestling?

They might as well stop selling major Major League Baseball as a bona fide sport.

The top players are juiced like pro wrestlers

The system is fixed so that the Yankees, Red Sox and occasionally the Mets get top of the line free agents, just like Triple H and Jeff Jarrett always seem to get title shots.

And the frequent Bud Selig-Donald Fehr battles bear much resemblance to a WWE Raw angle involving Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff.

Maybe instead of home whites and road greys, we can throw some tights on these guys, put turnbuckles where the bases are and make a 'rassling ring out of the diamond.

Because basically, pro wrestling is what this sport has become.

Major League Baseball was dying in just about every market after the 1994 strike. Only Boston, New York, and the north side of Chicago were the only places drawing as many fans after 1994 as before. In many places today, it still is because most people outside of Boston, New York, and the north side of Chicago only pay attention to baseball if their team is doing well. (Except for the Atlanta Braves, they still can't even sell out a playoff game).

Anyway, by 1994, the alleged national pastime had been long since passed by the NFL, the NBA, and college sports and, at the time, hockey and NASCAR were nipping at it's heels. Oh, and that summer the first soccer World Cup in the U.S. managed to steal the summer spotlight baseball usually has to itself.

So to juice the revenues, the higher ups at Major League Baseball let the players juice themselves.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be like injecting cancer cells to cure chicken pox, it didn't help the initial problem (lack of overall revenue), and made the game sicker than ever.

Of course, there's nothing Major League Baseball can do to cure itself. The only way the fans will accept that Major League's steroid policy as legit is if Barry Bonds flunks a drug test and gets every homer he hit since 2001 erased from the record books.

And, as our friend Corey at Sporting Fools would probably remind all of us at this point, Barry ain't the first hall of famer who cheated. So basically, they'd have to take a wrecking ball to the Hall of Fame if they did anything to Barry Bonds. MLB probably doesn't want to do that, considering that baseball's contrived history is one of it's few selling points.

Problem is, Bart Giamatti set the standard for baseball dealing with scandal when he banned Pete Rose for life, and Bud Selig has to live up to that standard. Anything less and and it would be the capper of a tenure most would regard as the worst by a commissioner in American sports history.

A Catch .22 that Joseph Heller himself probably wishes he could have written.

Like I said before, the only thing for MLB to do at this point is to script the games, throw 'rassling tights on the players, juice them all up and market it as "sports entertainment". Maybe while they're at it, they can put foreign objects under the bases to make close plays that much more exciting. Oh, and a few random steel chairs would liven up those bean brawls.

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By the way, baseball as a legitimate sport is still out there, you just have to drive to a college game or minor league park to find it.
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