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‘Twas the Lockout Before Christmas

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A baseball-themed poem to share with your family this lockout season.

J.P. Hill - Viva El Birdos

‘Twas the Lockout Before Christmas

‘Twas a few days before Christmas, when all through the game
Not a player was playing, a work stoppage to blame.
Uniforms weren’t hung, the lockers all bare,
with no hope that a season soon would be there.

The children forgotten as they slept in their beds
While visions of ‘95 danced in my head.
Owners in their mansions, Commish in their lap,
had locked us all out for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the internet there arose such a clatter.
Was that reporters gathering with their usual chatter?
Away to the Twitter I flew in a flash,
And Viva el Birdos, I refreshed with a dash!

But, lo, I found nothing of news to report
No story to write about, or rumors to sort.
Just the glare of TV lights on newly pressed suits
And the rustle of paper from 100-page legal disputes.

But what is this I see? Is this baseball’s demise?
No, just another press conference with only more lies!
And there did my eyes catch a frightening sight
Of MLB’s legal team all prepped for the fight.

With them a sallow man, pale, and eyes dead
I knew in a moment it must be Manfred.
Weighed down by their billions, the owners too came
And he cackled and chortled and called them by name.

“Now DeWitt, now Crane, and Jerry Reinsdorf!
On Illitch, on Sherman, on Charlie Monfort!
To the players they whispered, hearts shriveled and small,
“Destroy them! Squish them! Squash them all!”

But then a defiant shout I heard to the side
And a great body of athletes my eyes surely spied.
To the conference Tony Clark joined in with a bound
Backed by his union, the players gathered ‘round.

Pitchers and hitters, their likenesses blocked,
But their financial pitches were ready and cocked.
The sides faced off across a negotiator’s table
To argue it out, as each side was able.

Players I heard say: “We want more of the dough!
Every team’s financial records you must now show!”
MLB growled in anger: “We can’t do as you suggest.
You all work for us, on our whim and behest!”

Teams, Manfred cried, are all losing their cash!
So, budgets and spending, they threatened to slash.
The players knew that was nothing but lies,
For franchise values were reaching the skies.

“We want fewer years before free agency!”
“Speed up the game, and end fan complacency!”
“What about the DH? Surely we agree on that!”
“Only if the arbitration system stands pat!”

Manfred spat, “It’s on you if you don’t get to play!”
Clark shrugged, “Meet our demands; we’ll start today!”
Back and forth the accusations they flew.
Compromise, though, was a word no one knew.

Watching all of this, I could only shake my head.
Knowing that soon they would leave the game dead.
Another work stoppage MLB can’t survive.
Billionaires fighting millionaires just doesn’t jive

With fans who pay hundreds to go watch a game
And instead get adults bickering and passing the blame.
So, maybe respect us a bit, bargain in good faith
And end this silly lockout before it’s too late!

Both sides just laughed at me as they packed up to go.
Promising more negotiations in January’s snow.
But I heard Manfred call as he drove into the night,
“Happy lockout to all, and to all a good fight!”