Once Upon A Pastime - by D.M. Magee
'BASEBALL LOCKOUT WILL TAKE ITS TOLL ON EVERYONE'
The crack of the bat, the dew on the shoes, where are you the Boys of Summer? Once Upon A Pastime is all just a memory that has faded into winter and Spring hopes that are no longer eternal. We've seen this game without fans, because the pandemic kept us away. This time it will be by choice. The baseball fan has to be tougher than other fans. And it’s not fair. We stay through thick and thin, but this time may be too much for even the strongest of hearts.
We aren’t sure who we’re more furious with, but we are seething at the teeth and foaming at the mouth. Is it the owners who locked out the game? Or The players who nobody trusts, that they wouldn’t strike like in August of 1994? Or the media, the writers? The ones that seem to have a glow when games are missed, as they were in 2020. Stop banging your chest Clark, Manfred, the owners, the players. There is absolutely nothing to be proud of. Shame has fallen on our great game.
It was supposed to be the opening of Spring Training last weekend. Instead, It’s finally here, the deadline for a new CBA. A day that only the fans have taken seriously. The owners have locked out for leverage, the players are asking for more of a slice of a pie that has been very good to all, and the baseball fan can’t fathom either argument being just. It came and went, and no deal was made. It’s been announced that we’ll lose at least the 1st week of the season. And only the die-hard fan is there to pickup the pieces.
Sure, labor strife is an American tradition, as old as baseball itself. That eases little pain to the loyal fan who stares out the window awaiting first pitch. We lash out and say things like “I’m done with MLB, I’ve canceled my tickets, my subscriptions. I’m tired of caring”, and some may never return. The cautionary tales of ‘94, and before, seems to fall on deaf ears. It has become a part of history, and not the vivid memory of this young generation of players.
The players are too young to remember, the owners are too old and jaded to care, but the fans remember. All too well. Some fans have never came back, and more are being lost again. I’ve never blamed those fans, I’ve only pitied anyone who doesn’t have baseball in their life. Today the pity is shared by all.
It's cold beer, hotdogs and warm sun in shirt-sleeves, and the pop of the glove. It's dreaming of October, while in a playoff chase in April. The dedicated fan will come from near and from far in hopes to catch a glimpse of a brilliant line-drive catch, or a relay at the plate, or share the tales of yesterday. Once the curtain is lifted on the great stage of the diamond, a lot will be forgiven. A few will forget over time, but too many the pain will haunt far too long, and they will not return.
It’s not their game to destroy. Not the owners, not the players and not the media. This game is ours and they’re stealing each inning. Each hour. Each day. Each memory, and each hope. It’s our game. It’s our pastime.
The blame game from each side pales in comparison to the blame that should be shared by all' from every fan. in the absence of our Opening Day, a hollow void, forgiveness will come at a very slow pace. In a world that has so many things to be worrisome and down about, it’s baseball that heals our soul. It’s baseball that frees our mind. The flag will still fly, and the calendar will still flip, but Spring without baseball is not our America we cherish. Without the first pitch the cheers won’t echo, and the heroes won't reign. Come back dear baseball, before the future never has a chance to become a part of our past.
D.M. Magee - Once Upon A Pastime