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If baseball stays dark, why would we ever return to the ballpark?

My truth is not your truth. We've had that reinforced enough through recent events across this fractured country. My truth is not your truth. So I can't tell you how to feel.

But I'd be disappointed in anybody who ever sets foot inside a major league ballpark again if there's no baseball this year. And there would be no baseball this year if owners and players cannot agree on which sides split which millions of dollars.

Think about that again.

A pandemic has killed more than 100,000 people in this country. Millions and millions are out of work. Civil unrest, stemming from a police officer committing murder — on video — of an African American man in Minneapolis, abounds everywhere. Life hasn't been this unstable ... ever?

And then there are the baseball players and owners bickering over millions and millions of dollars. All while the NBA and NHL have plans to return. All while the NFL plans to carry on a full season.

It's kind of hard to fathom, given that television ratings alone in recent years suggest baseball's popularity is swirling the bowl. And while tone deafness conveys an inherent sense of obliviousness, this graduates all the way to insulting. And shouldn't ever be forgotten.

I get that we sports fans are bored and yearn for games to watch again. Maybe baseball is counting on our collective weakness. We'll return, no matter what. But baseball as an industry — down to some of the people who cover it — has an inflated view of its importance. As if the players and owners are performing some civic duty by mastering launch angle.

Baseball is no longer our pastime. Football — college and pro — went ripping past it years ago. Younger generations care about baseball significantly less. Still, in a time when we need baseball most — to give us a distraction — the piggish behavior of the dramatis personae has become the distraction.

We've made it to early June with no baseball. And we're still here. Keep bickering, baseball. Get us to August. Know what happens then? We'll all start talking football. We'll watch the NHL and NBA playoffs. Baseball? Out of sight, out of mind.

Baseball is out of sight, out of mind already in many outposts. We have a skewed view of baseball's relevance here in the northeast. We see Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium full every night. We hear about baseball frequently on sports radio and see it covered in print and electronically. It must be popular.

But baseball is becoming a sport that's relevant only in the cities bearing franchises. I'm guessing the people of Portland, Ore. and Nashville, Tenn. aren't breathing into brown paper bags on Saturday nights awaiting Fox's airing of the Brewers vs. the Royals. Bet they'll tune in for Auburn vs. USC though.

Again, I ask: If baseball is dark this year, why would any of us ever set foot in a ballpark again? Remember: other professional leagues are making this work. Baseball can't. Baseball has this guy named Tom Ricketts — he owns the Cubs — who told ESPN, "The scale of losses across the league is biblical."



Mr. Ricketts just became the second out-of-touch rich man this week to use the Bible as a prop.

Perhaps Mr. Ricketts should absorb this verse instead. It is truly Biblical. It's from the Book of James:

"Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes."

We moths — at least the ones who can identify a bunch of graceless, greedy, grumblers — shall have our revenge. Or at least I hope.

You stay away this summer? I stay away forever.

We've made it this far. We have plenty of football, basketball, hockey and soccer to give us our sporting fix. And at least those sports won't rain launch angles and spin rates on us like hailstones. So there's that.

Keep bickering, baseball. And lose me. I can't speak for anyone else. But I suspect I will not be alone.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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