- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Hopefully, the baseball owners and players will revert to their usual state of acrimony in the coming days and set a date to call it a season.

They are not serious people, the owners and players, just money-grubbing clowns whose ongoing negotiations are particularly insulting in the context of these uncertain times.

There is the war on terror, and there is the jitteriness on Wall Street, and there is the alarming number of layoffs, and there is the lactating Caucasian woman at Boston's Logan International Airport being ordered to drink her bottle-stored milk if she wants to be allowed to board a plane.

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These are crazy times, no doubt. Even the suicidal are being forced to re-evaluate their jumping-off spots on the Golden Gate Bridge out of fear of being blown up by the peace-loving branch of Islam.

Islam means peace, of course, plus the unyielding devotion of 72 virgins in the afterlife, a daunting prospect among those with a modicum of sanity.

This is where we are as a people. We are grasping to comprehend the incomprehensible, while being ever alert around a Caucasian woman who is armed with two fully loaded breasts and a dangerous infant.

Baseball is tone deaf to it all, to the pain, to the incertitude, to the evilness, to the average working stiff who supports this entertainment form.

The owners and players need to go away, as they have done eight previous times since 1972. They need to grab their toys and go to their rooms, plus stick their lips to the suspicious bottle of milk at Boston's Logan International Airport.

We would consider the action a public service.

The objection to baseball is not with player salaries or owner insipidness, or even, really, with the sad sack of chicken fertilizer sitting in the commissioner's office. The objection is that baseball finds itself in this position again. How can that be? How can these insulated souls, in the top echelon of wage earners in America, find enough things wrong with their lot in life that it could lead to a strike? How can either side permit it?

Please, spare us another explanation. It is exhausting. It is offensive.

Braves pitcher Tom Glavine says, "We feel like there's a window of opportunity to get something done in the next several days."

It sounds as if the players are on the verge of a breakthrough in landing a $2-an-hour increase in pay.

Baseball's lackeys in the national media can recite all the talking points in the negotiations, which is a tip to be wary around their flatulent insights. Try to understand. You are what you eat, which in their case is ballpark food. A few probably could use an extra dose of Viagra to clear their senses, although that's assuming the other party is incredibly desperate.

They have been connecting the dots since the bad old days of Curt Flood, which really weren't all that bad. In 1976, the last season before free agency, the average player salary was $51,500. A lot of Americans today would not mind making $51,500 a year.

Adversity has been redefined down considerably in the last generation by the media, long past the point of absurdity. Cry freedom? What a laugh.

The players still go by the union label, as if they are distant relatives of sweatshop workers. Don Fehr, the so-called union chief, is still around, and as odd-looking as ever. He is kind of jowly, kind of lippy and kind of obtuse, an invention of the lawyerly hairsplitters who seek to claim this great land.

It all comes across as grossly inappropriate at this time in America.

Where's that newly found perspective following September 11? Where's that plaintive cry to bring America together, to provide a happy diversion to the real-life challenges ahead?

These were baseball's utterances last fall.

Now, in hindsight, amid the beating of war drums in Washington, it comes across as almost a convenient marketing ploy.

Now, after 30 years of labor-management strife, all of them, owners and players alike, just need to go away.

They have become a noxious, nauseating nuisance to America.

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