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Say It Ain’t So, Joe

February 8, 2022

The title of this post is over 100 years old. It originated as a result of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. A reporter asked Shoeless Joe Jackson about cheating in the World Series. The reporter didn’t want to believe it.

Say it ain’t so, Joe.

The first World Series was played in 1903. It wasn’t played the following year. But, it played every year since 1904. It played on through two world wars. It played on through the cheating scandal of 1919. It played on through the flu epidemic of 1918 and the Covid epidemic of 2019.

Only once since 1904 has the World Series not been played. If world wars and global pandemics couldn’t stop the series what could?

The answer isn’t too surprising: money.

In 1994 baseball players and baseball owners weren’t getting along too well. The players wanted more money and the owners didn’t want to give it to them. The players went on strike. As the World Series drew closer, Neither side blinked. And the World Series dates came and went.

What’s this have to do with us today?

Well, the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the contract that governed baseball for the past few years has expired. And now? You guessed it, money.

This time, it’s the owners not the players who are holding out. The owners have locked the players out. It’s not a big loss the first week of February. But, the second week of February is when pitchers and catchers typically report for Spring Training. And the following week the rest of the players. And then the Spring Training games start.

I considered going to Spring Training this year. I’ve never been. I decided not to attend. Family events came up and I ended up using my vacation time. But, I doubt anyone will be going to Spring Training any time soon.

I’m a fan of the Seattle Mariners. The New York Yankees have been to the World Series 40 times of the last 117 series. They’ve won 27. The Mariners? Not a one. Never won it. Never even been.

And yet, every year, hope springs eternal, in the Spring.

The Mariners do hold the record for the most wins in a season. The season is 162 games long. The Mariners won 116 games in 2001. The most of any team in history. They share the record with the 1906 Chicago Cubs who also won 116 games. Some will credit the Cubs with the better record since in 1906 the season was only 152 games.

But, every year the Mariners put on a good show. They are in the middle of a rebuilding process. They just barely missed the playoffs last year.

Oh yeah, that’s one more record they hold: Longest playoff drought of any major sports team. The Mariners last appeared in the playoffs in 2001. Yes, the same year they won 116 games.

Will the Mariners make the playoffs in 2022? (Assuming the season is played at all?)

Probably not.

But, as any baseball fan will tell you, each Spring every team is starts on equal footing. Every team and every fan thinks that THIS might finally be their year.

That is if they don’t end up cancelling the season over some crazy labor strife.

Say it ain’t so, Joe!

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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