MLB Strike Will Strike Out With Fans

ByABC News
August 13, 2002, 4:08 PM

Aug. 15 -- If Major League Baseball players decide to go on strike once again, the sport will survive but not necessarily as the "national pastime" for its fed-up fans.

"Baseball will survive, but it will be hurt badly in a couple of ways," said Melvin Philip Lucas, a baseball historian at Cornell College in Iowa. "Several revenue streams may begin to dry up because the fans will be turned off. TV revenue will begin to dry up since some fans will be less likely to watch them. Some stations have been turning increasingly to other sports such as basketball. Advertising streams that would normally go to baseball will go elsewhere because the other revenue streams would have been stunted."

On Friday, the baseball players union could set a date for a strike Aug. 30 according to a Washington Post report which would mark the ninth work stoppage in Major League Baseball since 1972. On Monday, the baseball players union opted not to set a date. Donald Fehr, Major League Baseball Players Association executive director, told reporters that the players would let negotiations continue throughout this week before considering a strike as a last resort.

The last strike was in 1994, and was a symbolic strikeout to many fans who vowed never to follow baseball again. It led to the cancellation of 921 games as well as the World Series for the first time in modern baseball history. It also delayed the start of the following season.

Ill Never Watch Baseball Again

It took years and a spectacular race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to break Roger Maris' then-single season homerun record in 1998 for fans to forgive the players and the owners and to return to the stadiums. But another strike would be the last straw, especially for those who believe that both the players and owners are nothing but a bunch of greedy millionaires who care more about the money than the game and its fans.

"I think the baseball fans are at the point now, they're just sick and tired of it. They're fed up with it," said ABC Sports' Johnny Holliday. "And the fans can have a say. They can say 'OK, you guys go out, we're never coming back.'"