The players met tonight and decided not to set a strike date. I hope that the impetus towards inaction is driven more by the movement on the ancillary labor issues rather than a desire not to further enrage fans. I am afraid that if the players do not go full bore until a new agreement is reached, the owners will smell blood and cease to bargain in good faith. I don't think that the fans, players, or owners realize how much having a strong union has helped the popularity of the sport as well as the financial remuneration of its players. The call-in show types who profess their hatred for player and/or owners (but usually players) will come and go as will their guarantees to never attend another game should there be a strike (like Barry said, people still ride the bus). The players will have to live with this agreement for a long time, not just the number of years that it will be in effect.
I hope that I am completely wrong and that an agreement will be reached soon that is to everyone's satisfaction. And if the owners do start stalling the players can always set a date in the future. I just keep thinking about Patrick Ewing and the NBA's players union and how quickly they caved into the owners. I cannot believe that that would be good for the sport at this stage of the game, not that a strike would be either.
Game Not Chi on Weirdness
The Cubs-Astros game highlights include three hit batsmen, both starting pitchers being ejected, and the loss of Houston's starting shortstop for six weeks. In a game that featured lots of nasty heat from both Houston's Oswalt and Chicago's Wood who would think that first Wood would get ejected after arguing balls and strikes and then Oswalt would get ejected (along with manager Jimmy Williams) for hitting a batter, clearly not intentionally, after the home plate umpire had earlier warned both benches. The warning came after Wood hit Houston lead-off hitter and starting shortstop Julio Lugo in the third with a rising, inside fastball. Lugo was setting to bunt and appeared to got frozen by the pitch. He was hit on the forearm, breaking it. He'll be spelled by Jose Vizcaino for the next six weeks. The oddest attraction of all was former Chicago Bear quarterback Jim McMahon throwing out the first pitch and singing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game." They should have known better.