The Day Baseball Almost Died

Reading through my blogroll tonight I was reminded by Bus Leagues Baseball that it was 15 years ago today that the players went on strike. This day ruined baseball for me for a long time. It was only after some friends took me to a game in 2002 (the day Ted Williams died incidentally) that I started to get my love back. I still watched the games, but I did not attend them. Those who read this blog know that the exact opposite is the case now.

Two days before the strike became official I attended the Cubs and Giants game at Wrigley. My dad got some free tickets so I took my girlfriend at the time to the game. That was the last game played that season for the Cubs so naturally I blamed her, and we were not together for too long after that. The game was my only time seeing both the San Francisco Giants, and Barry Bonds. Bonds went 1-2 for the game walking twice. The real star was Matt Williams who hit his 43rd dinger of the season. He added a double to that to knock in three on the day. The Giants won 5-2. Future Cub pitcher Rod Beck got the save for the Giants. It was a good day for a baseball game, until the greed stepped in. One of my biggest baseball memories are the souvenir stands begging the fans to buy their goods. The employees of the game that didn’t throw a ball or swing the bat are the ones that got hurt the most. The players lost their potential records, the fans lost the game, but the vendors and team employees lost income. I did get some cheap souvenirs that day, but I lost my pastime.

The White Sox and Frank Thomas were having a great season that was taken away from us. I always looked at that team as our best shot to win the Series. If not for 2005 I would still be talking about that season. As much as we hate the steroid issue, it may be what brought the game back. In fact the powers that be may have let the issue go to help bring the fans back.

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Randy Johnson Gets Win #300

Thanks to the beauty of MLB.TV I was able to see Randy Johnson get win #300 tonight. Randy has always been a class act, and he deserves this win. He pitched six strong innings to put himself into position to get the win. He did not give up a hit until the fifth inning. That would have been something else to pitch a no-no for win #300. His bid almost went for naught, but the home plate umpire on a 3-2 pitch with two outs and the bases loaded for the Nats called an obvious ball a strike. That kept the bid alive, and ended up being the deciding factor.