They have asked me to say a few words about the baseball strike, and I will do just that.
Mine is not an informed opinion.
In fact, it is a deliberately uninformed opinion.
I don't read stories about the strike. I don't have conversations about the strike.
It's not that I don't care about this strike, it's that I don't care what this strike is about.
I have, with malice toward all, refused even to familiarize myself with the issues over which the baseball players would strike -- let alone try to understand them.
And although I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there are some important principles at stake here, I still leave them to others -- more scholarly than I -- to pursue and debate.
This strike is "Dynasty" v. "Dallas."
Whoever wins, in the end, real people lose.
The settlement will come. Both sides will smile and say they're glad it's over, and they're glad they could do this for the fans, because it's the fans, the loyal, true baseball fans who have suffered the most.
That's the signal for you to reach for your wallet.
It'll only be a little while until you'll be reading how it's "unfortunate but unavoidable" that ticket prices have to be raised.
This is collective bargaining all right.
Look who's collecting.
On one side of the table you have 26 owners. Rich people. Very rich people. People who, if they had their way, would repudiate free agency, reinstitute the reserve clause and take baseball back to the good old days when a nickel was a nickel and owners were owners, and their response to "I'm thinking of joining the union" was, "Fine. I'll forward your mail. Close the door on your way out." Baseball wouldn't be, as the players often say, like slavery. Baseball would be slavery.
On the other side of the table you have about 700 people being paid to play baseball. Rich people, getting richer all the time. Average salary: $350,000 a year. Twenty years of that and a person could become an owner. Here's what one player, Reggie Jackson, had to say about his plans in the event of a strike: "I've got some cars that need some work. I'll do some work for ABC, Panasonic and TRW. I'll go to Colorado and see Mr. Coors. I'll go to Nebraska and look at a new airplane, and remodel the house in Carmel."
Somehow I get the feeling this is not the same as "Norma Rae."
As I write this, on Tuesday evening, it is yet unclear whether the strike actually will happen.
I hope it won't.
I like baseball. Who doesn't?
But if my memory is correct, we went through this once before -- for 50 days in 1981 -- without serious loss of life or property.
And if my memory is again correct, when the strike was settled and baseball finally did resume, attendance was greater than ever. Apparently, even if those jilted fans who vowed to stay away forever did, indeed, stay away forever, a holy host of others was eager to sit in the vacated seats.
The same thing will happen again.
Regardless of the cost, regardless of the inconvenience, fans will go back to baseball for the best reason of all: They like it.
And I know we'll meet again some sunny day.