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Conventional wisdom suggests that baseball fans in particular and the entire planet in general ought to be mournful over the loss of this month's World Series. That does not seem to be the case. Withdrawal from America's favorite pastime appears to be moving along rather nicely, leading one to wonder if both players and owners ought to receive a bonus for letting greed do what two world wars and the Depression could not do.

We have seen most of October without the playoffs, and it has been, well, not bad.

At the risk of sacrilege, baseball's reputation exceeded reality. Too many players traded mediocre skills for million-dollar contracts, ticket prices stretched even comfortable wallets, owners confused love of the game with profit, and besides, the season was too long anyway. If the strike has proved anything, it is that life indeed goes on, even when grown men in knickers take their gloves and go home.

Beyond the obvious mother of all sermon illustrations (the wages of greed is a lot more than a locked stadium), the community of faith might also gain insight from what one striking player said as he cleaned out his locker and headed home: "I can't wait to go fishing." The blessing of our market-driven economy is also a curse. We turn play into work and work so much that there is never time for play. Imagine a young man earning $2 million to play a game and yet wanting even more. Imagine a businessman who cannot celebrate yesterday's success because tomorrow promises even more.

If the baseball strike contributes to more men fishing with their sons and daughters, more families going to the zoo on Saturday, more couples talking to each other in the evening, more dollars in the family budget, and, in general, more time for play, ...

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In the Magazine

October 24, 1994

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