One of our two "art" essays for BBBA 1997 (bearing no relation to the mensch-like work of Art Martone, the Red Sox correspondent who gracefully braved our pages during those tumultuous years) was all about a dystopian future for baseball. Which one, you say? Well, it was one that didn't quite arrive (at least not yet)...not that we really expected it to, of course. It was an exercise in extremity, an experiment in spoofery, a joyful jeremiad of left-wing faux-paranoia (something that was right to be in the air in 1997, however; for little did we know how soon we'd be plunged into those eight years of government-as-terrorist-against-its-own-country that would follow).
It was also kinda stupid, but by now you're used to that, too. Looking back on it, with all of the overwrought internationalism that this spoof--entitled "Baseball's Org Chart 2010"--brought to bear on the little world of baseball, these so-called "horrifying" results wouldn't actually be worse than anything ol' BS has laid on us in real life since that time. The cynical use of the steroids issue is a good bit more reprehensible, given how it continues to poison history.
According to the spoof essay, in 2010 we were supposed to have had something called "the Global League" stuffed down our throats once outsider corporatists had breached baseball's time-honored monopoly. There was an overwrought, overdetermined schedule (natch) which went on and on and on, with playoffs that would make even the NBA blush.
Reading all this (in the Angels' team essay--for some reason, we really enjoyed not writing about the Halos in anything remotely resembling an analytic vein in those days), we can't help but think that if Al Gore had been awarded his rightful place in the White House in 2000, then Shrubski would have wound up as Commissioner of Baseball and just about everything we outlined in the spoof would have come to pass. Better in baseball, one shrugs ruefully, than in the Middle East.
Of course, the part of all this that makes the most sense is the "post-globalist" phase, the years where the structure begins to metastasize, and the dearth of regulation that would have been part of a Shrubskite policy would have made the game over into a mirror-world of oligopoly (quoting--at last!--from said spoofery):
What happens to the players in all this? Well, the natural tendency in a true corporate structure is verticality. The effective result will be that certain teams begin to dominate their leagues due to unfair revenues (remember, revenue sharing will go out the window under this scheme: baseball is far less attached this scheme than football). After a ten-year period in which haves and have-nots will become more clearly defined, baseball's corporate czar (probably someone who is a cross between Edgar Bronfman of Seagram's* and Peter Ueberroth: let's call him Petgar Bronfmanroth for the sake of tongue twisting) will force a realignment of leagues into "competitive zones," creating one elite league and two lower leagues for the smaller markets.
|(S)whirling images from upper left : Bronfman displaces his "finger to|
the world"; (Mani) Petgar's rueful self-portrait; and another Petgar seals
the deal by revealing that it's all just another variant of rug merchantry...
[*NOTE: Bronfman has been with as many companies since this was written as he's had women "with child," which just shows to go you that there's no better defense than a good offense.]
We were lucky--or were we?--that virtually none of this came to pass in the thirteen years between the time it was spoof-prophesied and the year it was "supposed to happen." Instead, we had a huge offensive explosion, a backlash against it that was almost as large, and a few telling changes to baseball's rules that would make it a lot easier to take the game down the road outlined in aforesaid spoof.
|Steve Treder blows a series of sour notes in the general direction|
of the Yankees...
There, at last, the digression that aptly comes back to the central point: it could be so much worse.
There actually could be a guy named Petgar Bronfmanroth!