Is America's national pastime really history?

By Monty Phan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

For 36 days, America has been reminded about the ongoing struggles between the forces of professional baseball.

And if the trend of the Arizona campus is any indicator, America just doesn't care.

Granted, there are some people with legitimate ties to the game who don't enjoy seeing the game thrown around as it has been the past five weeks. People like head baseball coach Jerry Kindall, for instance.

"I've been in baseball all my life," Kindall said. "I played ten years of professional baseball. I've had close ties with pro ball ever since. So many of my players have gone into professional ball and many of them are in the major leagues, and many are impacted by this strike.

"I have a real sadness about how it is affecting them, but perhaps more deeply about how it is affecting the game, the fans' confidence in the game, and the credibilty of the game.

"For over ninety years, we've had a World Series," Kinadall continued. "Two world wars, epidemics, scandals, earthquakes, and previous strikes nothing has been so serious as to cancel the World Series, which is the greatest sports spectacle, I believe, of all.

"And it's the one that the American people respond to because it's so deeply rooted in our history, and now there's no World Series. I'm not out to fix blame on why this is happening, I just share the tremendous remorse that there is around the country that baseball has shut down."

Kindall has kept in touch with former Arizona players who have been directly affected by the strike, including Chip Hale of the Minnesota Twins.

"He was here the last ten days or so, staying in shape, hoping that when they settle the issue he'd go right back up to be with the Twins," Kindall said. "I talk with Chip every day and the disappointment that he and Judy, his lovely wife, are feeling now I feel too, on their behalf. He's out of a job."

Around campus, there is a mixture of feelings, ranging from concern to blatant indifference. In short, the most common response was, "Who cares?"

"I'm actually pretty happy because its one less sport I have to watch on TV," said Kelly Gupta, a pre-med junior. "It's more TV time


for something that's going to entertain me a liitle bit more."

Another student, political science major David Wilner, presented the side of the average sports fan.

"I don't really like how baseball players are getting paid all that they are getting paid, and are still complaining," said Wilner. "I'd play professional baseball for twenty bucks a year."

Sophomore Damon Jackson, a biology major had this to add: "I'm not really taking sides. It's a shame because I just want to see some records being broken."

Taking the objective approach, student Lara Tuman said: "They already get an obscene amount of money, but if they want more, they're entiltled to a strike. It's America."

Being a former player himself, Kindall expressed concern for his peers, but he also realized the bigger problem that is involved.

"I'm more closely aligned with the players than the owners because I understand the heart of the players," Kindall said. "At the same time, I recognize that some of the salaries are obscene, and out of control, and I believe that baseball and ownership has to do something to control it. But why is the game itself becoming the sacrificial lamb to placate the greed of the owners and the players?"

That's what the fans would like to know. The rest, it seems, can live without it.

Read Next Article