Diamond Dirt: Don't let what happens off the field keep you from the ballpark

Dominic Genetti

Like it or not, baseball does have a business side. Purists like myself really do hate it when there’s no team loyalty and players bounce around for the best price, but that’s just the way things go.

Folks like to say baseball used to be a game and not a business, but, truthfully, our beloved game has always been a business. There have been controversies, bad deals and, of course, disagreements between owners and team leaders, but that shouldn’t stop baseball fans from coming out to the ballpark on those beautiful summer nights and witnessing the greatest game.

Teams going to court over ownership disputes is kind of stuff that happens in just about every baseball league across the nation. Don’t let a business ordeal remove you from the game and your hometown team.

Go to a game and take in the atmosphere of the grandstand and the concourses; get your gear and cheer on your team while you enjoy a ballpark hot dog and an ice-cold soda or beer –– just have an overall good time. After all, it’s baseball, and there’s never a dull moment.

Off the field, baseball has been a system of dollars and cents, arguments and settlements, likes and dislikes, but that never stopped anyone from coming through the turnstiles.

Major League Baseball has been to court –– the Supreme Court, as a matter of fact. How do you think the St. Louis Cardinals legend paved the way for free-agency? It wasn’t easy, and it took several trials and tribulations, literally, before you had the baseball operations of today.

And sure, there’s going to be some issues in the front office, too. Did you know that the Cincinnati Reds owners refused to give hall-of-famer Frank Robinson a raise after he won the 1961 National League MVP because he left too many runners on base?

And did you know legendary owner of the New York Yankees George Steinbrenner was suspended for a period of time because of his involvement with Watergate?

Unfortunately, it’s all true. You’d think a player is due a raise if they do something like win the MVP award, but it didn’t happen. And it’s sad to say that baseball forever has a link to the history surrounding the Watergate scandal, thanks to the late Mr. Steinbrenner. But those things still never stopped the people from coming out to the ballgame.

Because no matter what happens off the field, the game of baseball will continue to amaze everyone so much that they’re going to want to go to the game and see it for themselves.

“If you build it, they will come,” is a twist on one of the greatest movie lines of all time, but it’s the truth. And I say keep coming out. Bring your friends and family to the ballpark, let your jaw drop when you see an amazing hit or an unbelievable catch, chat with the folks around you, boo those bad calls, cheer on those great plays, stand up and applaud a homerun –– laugh and cherish the moments, and enjoy yourself.

Baseball is our game. See you at the ballpark.

Dominic Genetti writes for the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post.