The Historic Dateline of Baseball in the first half of the Twenty-First Century

By Larry Teren

Dateline- November, 2020 – Major League Baseball Owners vote to no longer charge ticket admission to the games. Two teams- the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox- are the only ones to oppose. The reason for the decision is that attendance has been shrinking every year to a league-wide average of 8,000 per game.

One anonymous official in the Commissioner’s office said, “few Blacks and Muslims have any interest in the game. The Indian immigrants who fled to the US after Pakistan invaded India and took over are only interested in Cricket. The White population has been shrinking ever since the 2012 Presidential Elections. Hispanics are ardent followers of the sport but cannot afford the typical $100 per game cost of a ticket.”

The owners are hoping that giving away the tickets will get people to come to the game and make it look like the players are not playing just for a television audience. Owners hope to make up the difference in the lost revenue by selling higher priced concessions. Beer will now cost $10 a ten ounce cup, hot dogs- $7 a pup. Fans will not be allowed to bring any food or drink into the ballparks and will be thoroughly checked.

Some of the athletes have been complaining that when playing in front of near empty ballparks, it is hard to tell if they are the home or visiting team. Rocky Peterson is quoted as saying, “hey as long as they pay me my $25 million a year contract, they can do whatever they want. If it means having more fans in the stands- great!” Alberto Zapata, a Cuban defector and recently signed to a three year, $47 million contract said, “Espero que un día encontrar mi certificado de nacimiento y obtener mi tarjeta verde.”

January, 2030- Now that the new Congress is in place, the majority Green Party members of the House of Representatives rush through a bill that outlaws the cutting down of trees for anything unessential. On the list are baseball bats. MLB immediately approves the use of aluminum bats for the first time.

November, 2030- The commissioner’s office is assessing the changes that will be needed to offset the effects of the use of aluminum bats the season that just passed. Seven pitchers are hit by line drives with five dying from the results. One expires immediately on the mound although the batter is ruled out because the ball stayed lodged in the pitcher’s teeth even as he lay limp on the ground.

January, 2030- A consensus of MLB owner’s have agreed to allow pitchers to be replaced by pitching machines, the very type used by kids all over America taking batting practice. In order to placate the players’ union from the loss of up to a dozen men on a squad, teams may now rotate offensive and defensive players during the game at will. Rosters will stay at 25.

The pitching coach will control the pitching machine. He will be able to select from a choice of curve ball, fast ball, slider, screwball and ‘surprise’ while also programming the device to vary the speed and to take into account whether the batter is a lefty or right-handed.

In a related vote, the Cy Young Award will now go the player with the most hits in each league.

November, 2031- After assessing play with the use of the pitching machine, MLB owners have now decided to outlaw bunts as there is no one on the mound to come rushing in to pick up a dribbler. Some owners argue to allow a ninth human to stand next to the machine as the designated fielder but are overruled.

November, 2035- MLB owners vote to point a laser decoder to home plate to determine if the pitch is in the strike zone. Balls will be sprayed with a special phosphorous substance to aid in detection by the laser beam. The home plate umpire will signal the call after reading the display on his hand-held device. Umpires will still decide if a runner is safe at home or if a pitch is batted fair or foul, both subject to instant replay overrule.

December, 2040 – MLB owners vote to put all teams into the playoffs regardless of record. When asked why, the commissioner points out that they did a marketing study and found out that fans care about only two things- statistics and if their team gets into the post season. By playing a full season and being eligible for the post season regardless of record, this satisfies everyone. Fans can keep on comparing batting statistics of players against each other and be comfortably aware that their team makes the playoffs.

All teams with losing records play one game runoffs against each other in each league until there is only one team left. That team will play the wild card winner with the worst winning record among the three wild card winners. None of the regular best-of-five post season matches will begin until one below-.500 team winner is determined. There is a possibility that the regular playoff matches will not start until the third week of October, weather permitting.

December, 2042- After two years of postponing several playoff games due to bad weather, MLB owners have voted to play all post-season games in domed stadiums. It will mean that most participants will not have their fan base show up in person to watch their heroes. To make it fair, if a team has a domed stadium, they must play their opponents in a third-party location.

February, 2045- Due to its scarcity, the congressional majority Green Party has outlawed the use of aluminum in all but essential products. MLB owners immediately lock out all ballplayers from showing up to Spring Training pending how to resolve the bat issue.

February, 2050- Now that the Republican coalition of the White minority along with the newly chartered 51st and 52nd states of Cuba and the Dominican Republic have taken back control of the House of Representatives, they immediately remove the ban on tree cutting for recreational purposes. MLB owners are contemplating ending the lockout and are now scouting Japan for pitchers.

Lowered Expectations

Baby boomers are getting to that age where we expect to get the short end of the stick. Many who have lost jobs during the most recent economic downturn have found there to be an unspoken prejudice against anyone over the age of fifty who are seeking employment. After all, a younger person can be hired at a lower salary, less expensive health insurance premiums and tends to not need to take off as much time as an older person. A younger person also seems to have more energy in doing his or her work. Experience, thus, doesn’t seem to count as much as the pocketbook.
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