Oh hello, friends!
By now you might have heard of this little lockout situation Major League Baseball has found itself in. In fact, I’ve already griped about it on here a couple of times. At first, I didn’t think it was going to be much of an issue. And then I started to realize that we might be in for a longer stretch of baseball-less days. (At least, Major/Minor League Baseball-less days. Those of us with kids in travel baseball and softball will be spending hours upon hours schlepping their kids to practices, games, and tournaments, and in fact, have already been doing so for over a month. But I digress.)
Like most people, I don’t typically care much about someone else’s problems if they don’t affect me. (Ok that’s kind of a lie, because I’m often empathetic to a fault, but go with me here.) The squabbles between bajillionaire MLB owners and majillionaire MLB players seem very trivial when you look at the problems in the world around us. I know this lockout actually is in part due to disagreements over the pay and treatment of the minor leaguers that actually need a living wage, and not so much about the contracts of the Mike Trouts of the league.. but still. Many people look at these negotiations and shake their heads, because we have real world problems, and these guys are arguing over money to play a game.
So that brings me to why I’m here: This lockout finally is affecting ME (and probably you, the baseball fans around Twins Territory and beyond). As I just finished telling you how trivial the issues the MLB owners and MLBPA have with each other are, I’m going to lay out my own first world problems for you here.
The Twins want me to organize my group outing
For the last few years, I have organized the group outing for our school to see the Twins take on whatever team is unlucky enough to play at freezing cold Target Field for a game in early April and have our kids sing at the 7th inning stretch. I just got a note from the Twins that our payment for tickets is due in mid-March and I’m sitting over here like “Is there even going to be a game?” I was flooded with flashbacks to 2020, when I had everything set to go and then BAM! Covid. Cancelled games. Refunds due to the 125 families that had ordered tickets. Chaos ensued. I am not going to do this to myself, or to the other baseball loving families at our school again if I don’t have to, so I sent a note to our ticket rep, because our game is supposed to be during the very first homestead of the season.
Me: Hey <Ticket Rep>! What if the lockout is still going on when we have to give you our money? What if the game we are supposed to go to doesn’t happen? What happens then?
Ticket Rep: If any games get impacted by the lockout (postponed or cancelled), our Twins ticket assurance policy covers everyone with a ticket to make refunds available, or we can keep payments on file as account credits .... I understand the refund process on your end is likely a large task based on your group size. Hopefully we will have a better understanding of what the start of the season will look like at that point.
Now I have to decide if I should even organize the outing this year, because our game is during the first home stand. And what games might be impacted by this lockout if the season gets delayed? THE FIRST FREAKING GAMES OF THE SEASON. And if those games get delayed, do I then try to find another date that would cost the same, that would still work for many of our families, and hope they can all go and only refund the ones that can’t make the new date? Or do I give everyone refunds and try again if/when we get a season? Yeah, I don’t think we’d do a make up game, so then I spend a bunch of time organizing a second game in two years that doesn’t happen. It’s not just about the refunds, it’s also about doling out the tickets to families, and the jigsaw puzzle that is fitting the families in next to other kids in their grade, organizing the choir that will be singing during 7th inning stretch, etc.
Informal poll: Would YOU organize this or would you cancel this year instead?
Would you bother organizing a group outing to a game in early April with the lockout still in full swing?
This poll is closed
Yes, totally worth it to bring joy to those little faces!
Yes, but it’s stupid and you know it.
Maybe, but if I were you, I’d try to get some extra perks from the Twins if it gets cancelled.
No. I wouldn’t want to risk cancellation and the logistical nightmare that would ensue.
Oh HELL no. You’d have to be insane to try this right now.
The Twins want fans to redeem their Flex tickets
Similar to the issue with the group outing, the Twins reached out to me to let me know we can redeem our tickets. And similar to the group outing, I was having flashbacks to 2020. I had tickets for the Justin Morneau Twins HOF induction, First Avenue 50th anniversary night, and a slew of other special occasions for 2020. And guess what happened to those special games? Oh, that’s right. Cancelled. And then we had covid at our house during the Justin Morneau HOF induction make up in 2021 and I missed it again and now I have MORE tickets to redeem in 2022 because those were credited to my account.
Looking at the schedule, some of the games we’d want to see would be in early April (like the Dodgers series). Do I bother getting tickets yet? Do I bother trying to get tickets to the home opener this year (not included in flex plan)? What if the opener ends up being in June? This doesn’t pose AS big of a problem for me - yet. Last year we ran into schedule conflicts with both kids in the aforementioned sportsballs they play, and we had a hard time finding time to get to Target Field because we rarely had a night free from baseball/softball. And then we would have a free evening? Well, we’d fill those free evenings with more baseball at Target Field. I don’t know that we’ll be able to use that many tickets if the season starts late, and then I have to try to sell or give away our tickets.
This is most definitely a first world problem and I don’t expect any sympathy. And you may be thinking “Marea, you dumbass! You shouldn’t have gotten a flex plan this season if you can’t get to games, you whiny mcwhinerface. People have real problems.” Well... true. But what I forgot to mention is that I accidentally got a flex plan for this season. I missed the email that said my flex plan would auto-renew on a certain date and all of the sudden our credit card was charged for a boat load of tickets one day a few months ago, even though we hadn’t planned on getting a plan for the 2022 season. And guess what? No returns. Oops.
Spring Training games are delayed
You know what we should have been celebrating last week? Pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. And you know what didn’t happen last week? Pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. I know that most of us don’t head to Florida or Arizona in the spring to take in those early games after a long, cold winter. But I, for one, love watching those first few televised games or listening on the radio because they remind us that this bleak ass white and gray landscape is about to turn green and blue and warm and happy. The first spring training game for the Twins won’t happen until at least March 5, and at this rate, probably not even then. And many players have been pointing out that there’s nothing stopping teams from at least starting under the old CBA while they hash out the new agreement, so now the situation is just souring a lot of people to the game rather than bringing excitement for a new season.
I have very little to write about
We all know that I’m not the Twinkie Town stats person. I don’t usually bring you the hard hitting news. I like to write about fun basebally things, the players, fun memories, smartassery and the like. I don’t particularly enjoy being a Grumpy Gus when writing here. I like to bring the readers a silly little break in their day when they should be working, but they’re wasting time reading about baseball instead. There’s very little that is silly or fun about baseball right now. In fact, I’m growing resentful over giving so much time and money to this league for the last few decades. I have plenty of things with which to occupy my time in the summer that don’t involve Major League Baseball, but I have chosen, year after year, to invest countless hours and dollars and emotions into this team and this game.
In this day and age where we have infinite options for entertaining ourselves, baseball is already becoming a dying form of entertainment to a lot of people. The game can be slow. Looking around the stands at a game, you’ll notice at least half of the people there are looking at their phones while keeping half an eye on the game. Smaller market teams have to bankrupt themselves of money and prospects to buy a shot at the postseason and their fans are sick of losing seasons because they can’t keep up with the Yankees or Red Sox or Dodgers. This was already a problem for baseball before the pandemic. And then, in 2020, in the midst of the world being cancelled, we found plenty of ways to entertain ourselves while covid - and then this very same squabble happening today between owners and players - delayed the baseball season all the way into July. Can the league afford to lose even more interest? How many times can I, a woman with a lifelong obsession with this game, keep writing about the lockout before I decide to turn my attention elsewhere? And if I, a woman with a lifelong obsession with this game, am losing interest? Well then MLB is going to have a really, really hard time getting the casual fans back.
So, friends, I appreciate you reading what will hopefully be the last installment of my Lockout, Shmockout series. I’ll let you get on with your day, and I’ll have to get going on organizing that GD group outing. Or not. Maybe I’ll let you guys decide if I should do it instead.