I think for me that baseball changed for good in 1993, when the Cubs let their best pitcher go and cried that they were too poor to pay him what he was worth. That was Greg Maddux, who ironically apears to be returning to the team, but only because this is where he can get the most money. I watched as player after player signed contracts that continued to rise until someone inked a deal for $100 million, money that at the time would have taken me 2000 years to make at my current job.
And of course, the players and owners managed to cancel a World Series. 1994, the year baseball played an exhibition season of 130 games.
Now there is a player that will make $200 million over the course of his contract, and he has just been traded to the Yankees. Alex Rodriguez joins a team that will pay five of its players more than three teams in the league will play their entire roster.
Baseball is now a game where half of the thirty teams go to spring training with no chance of making the playoffs. The Cubs are one of the "haves", so I continue to be sucked in.
I've heard people say "hate the game, not the player", which I think describes my relationship with the Cubs, except that I can't call it a game anymore. I'm not sure what to call it, other than what it is, a business, more concerned with money than success.
Yellow easy chair not included!