August 12th, 1994. A beautiful summer’s day turned tragic when Major League Baseball saw the Players Association go on strike, effectively ending the 1994 season and the beginning of 1995. Today, it appears MLB is one step closer to cancelling regular season games for the first time since the mid-90s (with the exception of 2020 games lost to COVID-19).
In 1994, the Montreal Expos appeared to be readying for a playoff push. Perhaps a deep run, maybe a World Series would have driven fans to the stadium and created a path for sustainable baseball in Montreal. Instead, they would never make the playoffs again. Tony Gwynn had perhaps the best chance of hitting .400 in a season since Ted Williams. Instead, he was left hanging at .394.
Would the Yankees dynasty started 2 years earlier? Could Cleveland push for the AL Crown? Maybe it was time for the Reds, White Sox Rangers or Dodgers to enter the promise land. Instead, baseball games were lost and fans were let down.
Fortunately for Major League Baseball, the home run race of 1998 and the era of steroids was about to begin. While MLB conveniently turned a blind eye to the steroid issue, they were thrilled to see fans and media start paying attention again.
Where Do We Go From Here?
That is the million dollar question. There is still time to save the regular season but how many games do we get? How many records will we miss seeing broken after this generation misses parts of two MLB seasons? How many fans simply decide that enough is enough and turn off baseball for the final time?
Everyone seemingly knew that this was the likely fate for MLB back when the two sides couldn’t agree on a return to play in 2020. Everyone seemingly knew this was the likely outcome when Rob Manfred and Tony Clark refused to meet until the middle of January.
Yet here we are as the calendar turns to March and baseball looks like it won’t be happening any time soon.