Wake up MLB owners and players,
While Major League Baseball owners and players argue over money, there are three underlying facts that could make whatever they do moot. COVID-19 is not going away. The United States has a massive unemployment problem and there are protests in the streets. All three factors should relegate the baseball money dispute into a corner of no one really cares about your monetary fight since in the truest sense baseball is non-essential. People can live without a baseball game. Major League Baseball has faced a depression and recessions before and has come out relatively unscathed. Baseball survived the 1918 flu epidemic. But baseball had no idea what to do in April, 1968 in the days after the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There was a lack of leadership and Major League Baseball was tone deaf. In a sense with many cities having protests perhaps it is better that the Commissioner Rob Manfred, the owners and the players are not being asked on a daily basis for opinions on America’s three biggest problems.
In 1968, Roberto Clemente, Bob Gibson and Bill White said no to playing on the day King was being buried. The Washington Senators ownership canceled the April 8, 1968 Presidential opener because of rioting in the city. Every team that was scheduled to play the home opener on April 9 decided to postpone the game except Walter O’Malley and his Los Angeles Dodgers, an odd decision because it was the Brooklyn Dodgers organization that hired Jackie Robinson in 1946. The Los Angeles opponent on April 9 was the Philadelphia Phillies. O’Malley’s refusal to go along with the rest of baseball could have had extremely embarrassing consequence as Phillies players led by Bill White decided not to play which would have resulted in a forfeit. Eventually O’Malley backed down. No games were played on April 9. The 1968 players had spoken.