Maybe this practice has been going on for a long time and I just haven’t noticed it, but there seems to be a wave of players that are being “shut down” for the remainder of this season. Joe Mauer, Andre Ethier, Johnny Cueto, Chone Figgins, and several others have decided–or been told–that they won’t play again this season. And so here, on my forum for reaching the outside world, I am announcing that I, too, am shutting down for the rest of this season. MLB, I’ll see you again in 2012.
Why am I doing this? There are a few reasons, but the most important one is that we fans are still in charge of the game. The players I named above all get hefty paychecks from the teams they play for, not because the team owners are generous souls, but because fans like me (and probably you, if you came here from mlb.com/blogs) pay the ticket prices, buy the concessions, watch the games on TV, and otherwise take an interest in this game, to whatever degree possible.
But that love and commitment is not always reciprocated back to us. Teams have millions of dollars invested in certain players, and they want to be sure to get the services they are owed under these long-term contracts. Players have only a limited window to make what they can before they retire and make their living through card shows and whatever else it is that they can do.
The result of this thinking, if you have tickets to see the Twins play against the Royals at Target Field next week, is that you won’t be seeing Mauer, as you might have thought you were back when you bought the ticket. You won’t be seeing Justin Morneau, either. And Jim Thome, the sure-fire Hall of Famer you wanted to see one last time before his contract is up? Well, he was traded away some time ago. But hey, they’ll be lots of rookies playing, so make sure you buy a program when you come out to the game!
So I’m done for this season, too. It feels like an empty gesture, with my team out of contention and safely on the road until next Wednesday. And I crossed over to see one game on the other side of town already, so that’s enough until next season. I’ll probably keep up with my fantasy team until next week, but that’s it.
The memories from the games I actually went to this year (ticket stubs shown above) will have to last until next year. And the thought of next year will have to carry me through the fall and winter ahead. After all, that’s the bargain we make with this game.