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Opening Day 2019: Why I Still Care

March 28, 2019

Yes, the Cubs are now part of baseball’s oligarchy. And yes, the ownership team is populated by one neoliberal, Laura Ricketts, and a bunch of Trump sympathizers and supporters. And yes, Wrigley has been gentrified in a way that makes the team less accessible to the least privileged, economically speaking. The players, too, happily participate in a general capitalist individualism that contributes to wider inequalities in the game and beyond. The game, and one of my teams, hasn’t necessarily changed for the better in recent years.

I still love, however, the game of baseball—and the history and tradition around the Cubs.

Between the Cubs and Royals, attending to baseball, by television and next-day write-ups, has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I developed an appreciation for mathematics by dissecting player statistics. My neighborhood friend, Scott, and I entertained ourselves for hours playing a modified, two-person Whiffle Ball game in his backyard. Alongside that, cheering for those two professional teams has been a relatively pure and decent diversion from life’s problems, personal and professional. I don’t know how I could permanently give up my fandom. It’s ingrained in my neurological pathways, hardwired into my brain’s desires for fun and leisure.

I do know that it would be easier to cheer, guiltlessly, for my teams if there were a salary cap and full revenue-sharing. Baseball, like our wider society, needs socialism. That fundamental move by ownership would make it possible for baseball to again be America’s game.

I’ll forcefully advocate for those ends even while I find comfort, as I have from my earliest days, in the beauty of the game. – TL

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