A scene from the classic movie Casablanca came to mind as I was reading the most recent news items about the “hostile” meetings between the MLB and the MLBPA. On a side note, I am a charter member of the MPO (Majorly P$#%ed Off) group, but I digress.
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is talking about the love of his life, Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) into leaving Casablanca with her husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) in the middle of the Nazi occupation in WWII. Rick says, “….it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.”
There is a part of me that wants to go up to both sides in the lockout and say, “In a world where Ukrainian citizens are shooting it out with Russian soldiers, where people are standing in front of tanks, where border guards are telling the officers on a warship aimed at them to go do unspeakable things to themselves, the problems of two sets of idiots arguing over Monopoly money doesn’t amount to a single bean, much less a hill of beans in this crazy world. And somehow I don’t know what it will take for you to understand that.”
But there is the other part of me that tells me that maybe I am the one lacking in perspective. With all these terrible things happening in the world am I the one who should explain why I care at all about when and if the lockout ends? Who is further from reality, the guys who make a living at a kids’ game at millionaire wages or billionaire earnings or the one who foots the bill and then bends over for a swat with a paddle and says please sir can I have another?
I probably don’t care as much as I did when baseball cancelled the 1994 World Series. That pumped up my cynicism levels to unheard-of heights. But I eventually came back to love the game that has a problem with loving me back. I always thought that this could happen again, so I can’t say I am surprised. Oh, the heck with it, yes, I am surprised that after all that their fans have been through with the pandemic and lockdowns and financial insecurity and loss of most of the 2020 season, these dodo birds would not put pride aside and figure this thing out.
Baseball is not life and death. But for me, using my fandom to release the anxieties of my life might be. It is time to be men and not children and figure this mess out.