Baseball sits on the precipice of ruin. There exists a scenario in which there are no Major League games played until 2022. With the world on fire and no shortage of entertainment options available, it's reasonable to assume only a tiny fraction of an already dwindling fanbase will care to revisit the rusting husk that is the sport when the overgrown weeds are eventually trimmed away and play resumes. This is apocalyptic, I Am Legend stuff for America's pastime, which has seen its time pass.
And it's abjectly terrible. Depressing and maddening at the same time to see hubris, greed, and active disdain for supporters play out in real time. On further review, perhaps it wasn't a great idea to let owners who couldn't give two damns about the sport accumulate so much power and ownership. Alas, it's far too late to go back. This is not Lost and there's no crazed, bearded Matthew Fox to lead the charge.
This is deeply personal to me. Baseball was my first and purest love. The connective tissue to family, childhood, and home. The diamond is the place where I'm happiest, where time ceases to exist and the weight of the world drifts away like a lazy fly ball to left.
A barrel fire of ineptitude and disappointment is par for the course. The year 2020 does not come bearing lemons. It comes wanting to shove those lemons in all of one's orafices. Upon reflection and soul-searching, though, I've come to a realization that other baseball fans may want to consider.
As natural as it may be, I'm not going to let the most corrupted and perverted machination of baseball -- the labor struggle between people infinitely more wealthy than the average sandlot player or C-level executive -- ruin the entire sport for me. It's not fair to the game or the fan. Worse, to discard something you love or even enjoy because others are shooting themselves in the crotch is to cede one's power. It's de facto robbery with the getaway vehicle packed with absconded joy.
I'm not going to let anyone have that power over me. Baseball -- and we're about to drift into some saccharine stuff here if we weren't already -- is goddamn beautiful. It's human beings that ruin it. Like government and religion and everything else, power corrupts and distorts. It's worth remembering that it's the game you love, not the Major Leagues. It's worth remembering that there will still be Little League, high school, pickup and Wiffle ball games happening all over the world. There will still be fathers teaching their sons curveballs. There will still be kids fielding tennis balls with gloves made out of milk crates.
Bases will still be the perfect 90 feet apart. You'll still be able to teach someone the infield fly rule. You can still have a catch with someone you care about a lot or don't care about at all. The sounds of a wood bat making flush contact will still resonate in chests.
So go ahead, light professional baseball on fire. Send its carcass careening down a deep canyon. Let it turn into a curio for Instagram influencers to pose next to a la Chernobyl. Baseball's popularity grew on legend and myth and if that's all we'll have going forward, so be it. I don't mind teaching my kid about a staple lost to the plague and human folly. Bring on the mystery and mysticism of a once-great civilization lost to time.
Try as they might, they can't kill baseball as long as it lives in the beating hearts of those who have allowed it to let theirs skip a beat.