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Los Angeles Times Special Report / Baseball : Readers Reflect : Memories of '94 All Sour

October 22, 1994

Good night, baseball. See you in another 50 years, Cleveland. The Gashouse Gang, the Boys of Summer, the Lumber Company, the Whiz Kids, the Bronx Bombers, the Big Red Machine....Home Run Baker, Bobby Thomson, Ty Cobb, Pie Traynor, Teddie Ballgame, Joltin Joe...a nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Thanks for the memories, Bambino Willie, Reggie and The Mick. Ain't gonna be no pennant race this year; sorry, Don Mattingly, no chants of Yes We Can" or "We Are Family" or "The Giants Win The Pennant!"

Thanks anyway, Billy Buck, Mickey Owen, Fred Merkle, Donnie Moore...you gave us your best and we forgive you. Ain't gonna be no Mark Lemkes this year, or any Bucky Dents or Pepper Martins or Bill Mazeroskis. No Fall Classic. No called shots. No pinch homes. No perfect games. Not even a bench-clearing brawl to look forward to.

Owners and players be damned, I don't care whose fault it is. This game is my heritage, and my love for it is a birthright; my dad told me so, and his dad told him. What are we to tell our kids? So much for mystique, folklore, tradition: the crack of the bat, the smell of leather and fresh-cut grass, shiny new baseballs and sharply lined basepaths, peanuts and Cracker Jack. Remember how it felt to put on eye black when you were 9? Remember your first pair of spikes? Digging in? Leading off? The national pastime has been trashed. My condolences, America. We will never be the same.

Jim Mallon

Goleta, Calif.

*

I am only 16, but I have enjoyed baseball all my life. I went to the World Series when I was 3 and I played Little League. I tried out for my school's baseball team, and when I didn't make it, I tried out the next year. I do all this because I love the game. That's why it upsets me when players who average more than $1 million a year go on strike and ruin the entire season. Baseball survived wars, depressions and other catastrophes, but was stopped by something worse than them all...greed. I think when next season comes around, if there is one, all of us fans should go on strike. Our top demand should be for an "expense cap," limiting the amount a family can spend going to see game. But we won't do this. We'll still go to the ballparks and cheer through nine innings of excitement because we love the game. Unfortunately, the players don't.

Ben Gleiberman

Beverly Hills

*

When I was 10, I used to lie awake at night spellbound by the voice of Vin Scully painting the heroics of Koufax vs. Gibson or Drysdale vs. Larry Jaster. As a transplant from St. Louis, I saw the Cardinals as my heroes. At 10, baseball was a simple game in a complex world that made no sense.

Today, at 40, I watch as they defile baseball in a complex war that makes no sense. I hate (yes, hate) Bud Seaslug, Donald Fear, every owner and every player for driving a knife into the heart of the baseball dreams of every 10-year-old boy across America.

Hoard your millions, Mr. Player and Mr. Owner, while you can. Just remember who pays the bills around here. And bang the drum slowely...for the death of innocence.

Joseph Dennett

Rancho Cucamonga

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