One strike and they were out
It was the year of O.J. Simpson’s infamous leading of police on a slow-speed chase on one of southern California’s freeways, the bizarre act of a supposedly innocent man who went on to beat a double-murder rap before committing the truly heinous crime of memorabilia theft. The latter, of course, did what Marsha Clark and Christopher Darden couldn’t: put Simpson behind bars.
1994 was also the year Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa and Michael Jordan discovered that hitting a curveball was more difficult than defying the laws of gravity on a basketball court. Jordan eventually returned to the NBA, in part because baseball abandoned him first.
Twenty years have passed since baseball’s most crippling work stoppage, one so sweeping that even the 1994 World Series got wiped out. Not coincidentally that was also the moment when an awful lot of fans finally decided to abandon the sport, at least the major league version of it, for keeps.
There were no sides to take in the squabble between millionaire athletes and billionaire owners because there were no good guys involved in the fight. Both groups were greedy, but the owners didn’t stop there — they also had stupidity on their resume.