Sunday, March 30, 2008

Major League Baseball doesn't get it

As much as I like baseball ... and I do like baseball ... I am constantly frustrated by the idiots running Major League Baseball.

Sure, baseball is a business. Despite the ruling that it's not -- the ruling that keeps MLB from having to follow anti-trust laws -- it is a business.

And I certainly realize that a business has to do what it needs to in order to stay in business.

But there's a limit.

For example, if a pharmaceutical company were to skip the safeguards and distribute drugs without proper testing and evaluation just to make money, there'd be problems. Major problems. Enough so that there'd be a movie starring Julia Roberts and Tommy Lee Jones made about it.

Okay, I'm perfectly aware that pharmaceuticals are one thing and baseball is something else. But, within the confines of what they are, business actions should be appropriate.

In real business, playing fast and loose with people's lives and safety doesn't justify making money. There are limits.

In sports, there are limits, too. Different, to be sure. But limits. And relative to the sport.

Barry Bonds, for instance.

They should have kicked that lying, cheating drug user out a long time ago. But they didn't.

If he wasn't chasing Hank Aaron's home run record -- still the real home run record -- he'd have been suspended or banned by now. But the clowns in suits didn't do anything. And now, the "official" home run record is tarnished.

Yeah, Barry Bonds is the past. No team will get near him. Something they should have done a long time ago.

But this week, Baseball again did the wrong thing.

They opened the season in Japan.

In Japan.

America's past-time opening the season in Japan!

That's just wrong. Oh, I'm fine with Major League games being played in Japan. Pre-season, sure. Regular season? Okay. I'm okay with that. But not Opening Day.

Opening Day belongs in the USA.

Here's the way it should happen.

The first day of the season ... Opening Day ... should feature two day games: one in Cincinnati and one in Chicago.

The first game would be the Braves against the Reds. The later game, say an hour later, would be the Cubs hosting either St. Louis, New York, or Philadelphia.

Here's why.

The senior circuit, the National League, first played in 1876. They had eight teams:
Chicago White Stockings (now the Cubs)
St. Louis Brown Stockings (defunct)
Hartford Dark Blues (defunct)
Boston Red Caps (Atlanta Braves)
Louisville Grays (defunct)
New York Mutuals (defunct)
Philadelphia Athletics (defunct)
Cincinnati Red Stockings (defunct)

By the way, the Cardinals are descended from the American Association's St. Louis Brown Stockings (founded 1882), not the National League's Brown Stockings (folded after 1877 season).

And the 1876 Cincinnati Red Stockings aren't the same team that became today's Reds. The Reds trace to the American Association's Cincinnati Red Stockings.

Oh, Philadelphia and New York only lasted the 1876 season. The 1901 Philadelphia Athletics are unrelated, and in the American League.

Okay, back to Opening Day.

The Braves play the Reds in Cincinnati.


Well, the first professional baseball team was the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. They played two years, going 57-0 in 1869, and generally kicking butt in 1870.

In 1871, businessmen in New York put together the first professional league, the National Association. It lasted through the 1875 season. They managed to convince Harry Wright, the owner of the Red Stockings, to move to Boston and put a team together.

Wright brought many of his Cincinnati players with him, and fielded the Boston Red Stockings.

And, when that league folded, his Red Stockings, now the Red Caps, joined the new National League in 1876. Only one other team from that first year of the National League is still around: the Chicago White Stockings became the Colts, the Orphans, and, 1902, the Cubs.

Boston (descended from that 1869 Cincinnati team) became the Beaneaters, the Doves, the Rustlers, the Braves, the Bees, and finally, again, the Braves. The moved to Milwaukee in 1953 and to Atlanta in 1966.

So, the Braves, descendant of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team, playing in Cincinnati on Opening Day would be true to the tradition of baseball.

And the Cubs, the 2nd-oldest team, playing in Chicago later that day would also be true to the tradition of baseball.

Hey, I'm as open minded as the next guy. If you want to play a night game or two in an American League city, do that as well.

But Opening Day should be in Cincinnati, Ohio -- hallowed ground for baseball.

If only the suits who ran Major League Baseball cared about the sport.

If only.


  1. Hey basil! Thanks for the history lesson. And I agree by the way although I really don't know that much about baseball, but I do like to watch it. Not so much on television anymore. Hey, The Gent and I were at Ruby Tuesday's last night and thought of you. I'm going over to see if the Catfish schedule is out because we'd LOVE to come to your town this year and catch a game with ya!

  2. The Wife and I would love to have y'all down for a game. We've been racking our brains over the schedules for the Catfish and the Biscuits, trying to find ways to get to as many as we can, both here and Montgomery, as well as away games in driving distance.

    If y'all do decide to make a trip to these parts, let me know. It'd be great to see y'all again.

  3. I looked at the schedule but I have a questions. Which ones are the home games? The ones in blocked out in blue? For the Catfish, or we can do a Biscuit game too! I'm excited!!!


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