Sunday, 2 September 2012
FRSCitizenJournal: HBO Sports: When it was a Game One: When Baseball Was Worth More Then Money
Baseball in the 1930s, 40s and 50s wasn't a perfect time, players were well underpaid and didn't have nearly the same Economic Freedom. As the average American, as far as being able to decide where they work and so fourth and lets face it Pro Sports is work or otherwise it wouldn't be professional. And even though Major League Baseball was diverse ethnically, plenty of Irish, German, Italian and others playing the game. And even some Latinos, African and Jewish Americans were denied the ability to play Major League Baseball, simply because they were Jewish and African. Which is one reason why the Negro Leagues came about but even with all the injustices in MLB, there was still this sense that baseball was about baseball even in MLB, that players played literally for the love of the game. Because they knew they weren't going to get rich doing it but also because they loved playing baseball, which is something that Major League Baseball has lost a bit of. Where players holdout because they want another 100K$ on their contract or even they are under contract. They see someone else who plays the same position and they do, signing a contract for more money and feel they deserve at least that amount and won't play another game until their contract is redone.
Management of course isn't innocent here, players get traded or released because management doesn't want to fulfill their end of the contract. Or don't want to come up with 100K$ even if the player deserves it but back then baseball was about baseball and winning, not how much many you can make. Which is a lot different today where you see high profiled Free Agents signing for huge contracts and getting overpaid by losing clubs, because the club is trying to sell tickets. So they can make money now and win in the future, Alex Rodriquez signing with the Texas Rangers in 2000 or 2001, is a perfect example of that. And also back then and MLB has gotten back to this, MLB clubs played in ballparks, not football stadiums that can be converted for baseball. Which is what we saw in the 1970s, something I covered in a blog about the NFL yesterday.
The title that HBO Sports came up with for this film When It Was a Game, says it all about Major League Baseball in this time period. Because it was a business back then as well and no one is disputing that but back then MLB had the feel of a game rather then a business. Baseball games back then were like community events where people could get together and watch their team together. Rather then where people would go to relax and get caught up with their email or something but they were there to watch baseball.