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Volume 68, Issue 4, Thursday, August 29, 2002


Staff Editorial


Ed De La Garza        Josh Gajewski       Nikie Johnson
         Geronimo Rodriguez          Keenan Singleton

Fix it, once and for all

Major League Baseball owners say they've had enough. This time, they're standing firm. This time, they won't back down, even if it means a strike. A strike could cause catastrophic damage to the game that was once our national pastime, but now is nothing but our national nightmare.

To the owners, don't just talk a good game; play one, too. You've been issued this same challenge before plenty of times and in each instance, you've failed miserably, and that is why baseball is right back to where it was on August 1, 1994.

It was on that day when Tom Verducci began an article he wrote in Sports Illustrated by saying that, while the owners "talk a good game of solidarity at the beginning of each confrontation with the players' union, their commitment inevitably turns out to be as embarrassingly brief as
Bill Clinton's running shorts."

"But history doesn't always repeat itself," Richard Ravitch retorted. Ravitch, then the owners' chief negotiator, added, "This time we're ready."

This time, huh? Eleven days later, baseball's eighth work stoppage began. It lasted 232 days and wiped out a World Series. With the help of a judge's ruling that ordered the whiny baseball players back to their playpens, baseball eventually returned. But no true labor agreement had been reached until March of '97.

The main issue regarding the strike of 1994-95 was a salary cap on team payrolls. The 1997 agreement contained none, and therefore, it was the players who clearly came out victorious in that dispute and owners who clearly ate their own words again.

So it's really no surprise that baseball is now within one day of another strike.

Even though many people genuinely don't care either way, nobody really wants to see another baseball strike. But if it does happen, the owners must stick to their guns, wallets -- whatever -- and this time, not give in to the players. If they do, all will seem well -- until the next time baseball's labor agreement is set to expire.

How about this time, owners, you don't give in not until a favorable long-term agreement is reached.

Until then, fans will be content with football, America's new favorite pastime. And in these parts, most share the sentiment of one middle-aged man who held up a sign at the Astros game Wednesday night that read, "Money Talks/Fans Walk!/Go Texans!" 
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