* The less I know about all the particulars of the NFL player lockout and all the squabbling between the players and owners, the better.
I keep up on the basics. I know the issues. But I’m not delving in too deep. I’m doing my best not to care about this nonsense and find it indefensible that people with this much wealth and popularity – the players and the owners – can’t get their heads together and figure this out.
I guess they’re banking that the NFL’s many fans will be like sheep led back to water once the lockout ends, whenever that might be. And they’re probably right? There’s nothing like the NFL in America and football fans gotta have their fix.
When the Major League Baseball players’ strike cost fans the 1994 World Series, many never returned to the sport. I still regularly cross paths with people who say their love for baseball died that season.
I’ve never been on strike, so I’m no expert. But I don’t understand why reasonable people can’t get out ahead of these issues and figure out a way to compromise. There is a fair settlement to every disagreement, but it seems like we have to drag these things out to the point where they become irritating.
Was it really necessary to have a mediator in these talks? Do we really need litigation? Aren’t there enough legitimate problems in the world without the NFL players and owners raising a ruckus over how to divide a $9 billion pie?
The NFL Draft will be held Thursday night and it’s always one of my favorite events of the sports year. I’m not as big of an NFL fan as some people. But I would probably rate myself a 7 on a 1-10 scale. I participate in a fantasy league and I watch a bunch of games. I even have a favorite team, the St. Louis Rams.
I’m into the draft and will watch the whole tonight Thursday night. I’ve read quite a bit about it and think I have a decent idea of the different needs for all the teams and who might or might not be on their draft boards.
But I think the NFL is kidding itself if it thinks the lockout won’t do irreparable damage to its fan base. We “Average Joes” out here don’t like to be taken for granted or treated as if we don’t matter. We’re the ones, after all, who make that $9 billion the players and owners are arguing about possible. We pay the ridiculous ticket prices, the insane cost of parking at an NFL stadium and the exorbitant price of a beer just so we can be a part of your incredible product.
There has to be middle ground that hasn’t been explored. It’s beyond me why the owners don’t relent on their demand for an expansion to an 18-game regular-season schedule, two more games than are played now. You can’t talk about your concerns for safety and the long-term health of players and then add two games to the schedule. It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
There are ways for the players to compromise, too, I’m sure.
The NFL regular season is scheduled to start on Sept. 8, a Thursday night, with a couple of games. The first Sunday of NFL action is set for Sept. 11, the 10-year anniversary of the greatest tragedy in American history.
It’s unfathomable to me that the NFL would not be in action on that day. So I hold out hope that these smart people will figure out a way to overcome their differences and play football. Everybody wants football to be played, right?
* Periodically, throughout the baseball season, I’m going to share some of my thoughts on the St. Louis Cardinals. My team.
I’m not happy that the Cardinals are just one game above .500 going into tonight’s game against Houston. I’m not happy that there have already been six blown saves.
I’m fine with right-hander Mitchell Boggs getting the ball in the ninth inning, even after his blown save against the Astros on Tuesday night.
I’m not happy with the way the Cardinals kick the ball around in the infield sometimes. Third baseman David Freese and shortstop Ryan Theriot are making too many errors on routine plays.
I do, however, like a lot of things about this team. I love the Cardinals’ offense, especially the addition of right fielder Lance Berkman. He looks fantastic and is hitting the ball hard in almost every at-bat. I think he’ll stay strong over the 162-game schedule, too.
Colby Rasmus has to be more consistent. Yadier Molina has to keep those legs strong. He’s playing fantastic at the moment. I like the starting pitching and some of those power arms in the bullpen, especially rookie right-hander Eduardo Sanchez.
The Cardinals, though, have shot themselves in the foot too many times. They should be five or six games over .500 at this point, not one game over.