What a Disappointment!

Pete Khazen is unhappy enough about the current state of Major League Baseball to compare it to pro wrestling.

Why does Major League Baseball continue to disappoint?

In the immortal words of the comedian Chris Rock, "I'm tah-tah-tired of this !"

Year in and year out Major League Baseball does something, if not many things, that boils my blood. If it's not looking the other way when it comes to performance enhancing drugs, it's declaring a tie in an All-Star game and then making it the venue for home field advantage in the World Series. And if it's not refusing to implement a salary cap throughout the league, it's repeated squabbling in labor talks. The latest incident to boil my blood is this Kenny Rogers fiasco and how it was handled.

The more I think of it. The more I watch the replays. The more I read the articles. The more I hear the players, coaches, umpires, and Commissioner speak about it, the more I realize baseball can't seem to get anything "right" anymore.

It's really bothering me, as if this story isn't proof enough. And it's downright disappointing. I wonder if there was a time that might have existed before I started walking this great earth when baseball did get it "right".

Now I'm pretty much basing this on my gut reactions to how the other leagues handle similar issues. Or how such issues just don't seem to crop up nearly as often. I know the other leagues all have their problems, but they seem pale in comparison. And when forced to come up with answers to controversial issues, the NBA, NHL, and especially the NFL, seem to get it "right" far more often than they seem to get it wrong. And when they do get it wrong, it definitely seems like they're willing to admit their own fault – something baseball refuses to do.

When forced to take action, the powers that be in baseball just don't seem to make the right choices, often taking the road of least internal resistance. And when forced to say something profound in response to an issue or to justify their actions, they rarely sound like they know what they're talking about. And this isn't just Bud Selig. It appears to be rampant at all levels throughout the league.

Is it because we are searching for perfection, yet we continue to hold baseball under a microscope to analyze its flaws? Do we not do that with the other leagues? Do we only reach into our pocket and pull out a magnifying glass when looking at the NBA or the NHL? And when problems pop up in the NFL, do we just turn our heads and look the other way?

Some might argue so, especially those people who are a part of baseball. But I don't think so.

Now I have to ask, am I being too critical? Are we all? Do we have the right to be critical of players, coaches, owners, and the Commissioner when we don't walk in their shoes everyday? Or when we, the fans and media, can't seem to come to agreement on what we all think the "right" answers are to the questions that fill our minds?

I think we do.

But is this perhaps the nature of baseball itself? Our nation's so-called pastime. That no matter what controversial topic bubbles to the surface, there is no "right" answer in the critical eye of the fans, the media, and the analysts. That there is no answer we would find satisfactory.

I don't want to believe that. Check that, I refuse to believe that. The game of baseball deserves better, and I, as a fan, expect better. I imagine you do too. And I think this is where lies our problem.

We're fairly realistic in that we don't expect baseball to be perfect. But we do expect baseball to be the "best" when it comes to handling controversial issues. And we expect those issues to be rare. Because the simple nature of the "controversy" means that something is awry in baseball. It means there's not a little problem; there's a big problem. And we don't like it when baseball has big problems, because it IS our pastime. And we expect better.

The best recent example of this is evidenced by the countless numbers of players and coaches who, in light of the Kenny Rogers incident, have provided a vast array of perspectives on the matter. And indicative of the big problems was that so many opinions involved justification of the "unwritten" rules in baseball, and how if you're going to cheat, it's pretty much fine so long as you don't get caught and you're not doing anything "too" bad (whatever that might mean).

But then why does baseball have such a defined rulebook? And if some rules are ok to break, what are those rules and who says it's ok to break them? And why do some players break them and others not? And for those who do break them and get caught, how do you determine the severity of the infraction with all these unwritten rules?

It's all bogus in my mind. I don't know what to believe anymore. And everyone in baseball is at fault for it. When I sit down to watch professional wrestling, at least I know it's all fake. They used to try and deny it, but they wised up and admitted to the world it was all fake (big surprise, right?). With baseball, I don't know what is real and what is fake, and it's one huge disappointment. Baseball continues to operate with these unwritten rules, deaf ears, blind eyes, and poorly spoken leaders. It's a disgrace to our pastime, and it's our responsibility to try to change it by continuing to voice our dissatisfaction.

I don't have all the "right" answers to baseball's big problems. But I recognize this fact. And I don't try to hide it. More importantly, I'm not paid to come up with the answers. For those who are paid to find those answers, I suggest you start working harder to find the "right" solutions. And I suggest you start by giving up this notion that baseball isn't disappointing its fans with its problems. Because it is.

Got something to say? Share your thoughts on our discussion board or send Pete an email at pete@petekhazen.com.


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