The real losers of the lockout
Without baseball and without the Astros, there are losers in the world today, and some aren’t even the ones who play.
Texting has become part of our daily routine. After a few weeks I could tell you what time of day they would arrive within 15 minutes anyway.
They almost always come in spurts, usually twice a day, three or four in a row. I grew to realize that the first wave occurs during the “consultation” period and the second during her lunch.
The lyrics are about the lockout and a 15-year-old struggling with the complexities of a multi-billion dollar business and what it means for him and for us this summer.
Many fathers and sons mark events in their lives by the year they occur or their age and then return to the event. In this house, we do the opposite.
We start with a baseball game and go back to the year, because the year is not so important, it is the event that binds us.
“Remember that time we went to Corpus to see Seth Beer and Chas?” “, I ask. It remembers and can tell you the year, date and probably the weather.
That day Taylor Motter threw the ball to him at the end of an inning and he knows where Motter went to school, who he played for in the major leagues and wonders how he ended up with Midland in Double-A that day.
This will be his research project when we get back to the hotel.
I also remember that trip, but more than the game, I remember the three and a half hour drive home the next day, when we talked about God and the girls, school and friends and everything else.
This is without a doubt one of the favorite conversations of my life, and it never would have happened without baseball.
We’ve seen minor league games from Charleston to Corpus, major league games from Arlington to Tampa, and it’s an annual ritual to take a trip to Houston to see a few games each year.
Ever since the night it happened, my phone’s lock screen has been the picture of pure joy on her face when Yuli Gurriel hit a foot bomb at Minute Maid Park.
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Then there was the night we were nosebleed to get our replica rings, and we saw back-to-back Houston Astros home runs against the Rays.
One night we saw Nori Aoki pitch, and there was a series against the Yankees where we sat in three different areas of the ballpark for three straight days for the different views. Good times, unforgettable memories, with baseball as a vector.
It’s cliché, but to me it’s more than baseball games and I’m sure those with kids understand, as do those who as children shared similar experiences with a parent.
So I’ll be happy to pay the high prices to get into the games, cough up too much money for a lukewarm beer and buy him a small cold pizza for the price of two at home, if that means I have an opportunity for more bonding before it grows up and is gone.
I’m not important in this vignette, I’m not Major League Baseball’s target demographic anymore and if I ever set foot in a major league ballpark, no one will care.
But there’s a 15-year-old boy with decades of buying ahead of him who loves baseball so much he sends questions I can’t answer. Questions about why millionaires argue with billionaires over who deserves more.
Wondering if either party cares about the fans and why should they continue to care if they’re going to do “that”.
I tried to explain it in non-baseball terms, about being exploited by management, for example, and understanding the value you bring to your employer. I also made comments on the owner’s side.
It doesn’t change anything because for him, at least at 15, it’s confusing. We want to give them money and they won’t take it. We want to encourage them and shoot for them while they get rich and that’s not enough.
He hopes everything is settled in time to start on schedule, hopes it’s not like the summer of 2020 when the pandemic shut down baseball until the end of July and there was a void during our summer .
My son represents younger fans in these texts he sends, questioning owners’ “real priorities” and being “on the fence” about continuing to be a fan with “revenues at an all-time high.”
There may be no trips to Houston this year, no road trips to share, and I’ll make sure we find another way to think about life’s big questions. My disposable income will end up elsewhere, probably in Sugar Land, Round Rock or Corpus, or maybe all three.
When this is settled, people will write about winners and losers. Owners will win and players will win.
The real losers, however, are those like my son. Those who just want baseball.