Tag Archives: fans

The 1994 MLB Players Strike: The 20th Anniversary

On August 11, 1994 the final game of the 1994 MLB Season was played between the Montreal Expos and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates were victorious on that day winning by a score of 4-0. Twenty years ago today the history of baseball changed forever. There have been strikes in the game of baseball before but none of them were as damaging to the game as this one.

Here is the short story of what transpired prior to August 11, 1994. The MLB Players Association had been going back and forth with the MLB Oweners for almost one year over a proposed salary cap. The Owners claimed it was necessary to have a salary cap in place for small market teams to survive the current state of MLB.  The salary cap combined with local television revenues would sustain the smaller market teams and thus benefit all of MLB. The players were not willing to agree to the terms the owners had set and after numerous negotiations decided as a group to sit out the rest of the season. On top of all of the problems between the two sides there had not been an official commissioner presiding over baseball since 1992.  Baseball needed a commissioner that could moderate between the two sides.

The lock gate of a MLB stadium during the 1994 Players Strike. (Getty Images)

The locked gate of a MLB stadium during the 1994 Players Strike. (Getty Images)

On August 12, 1994 The strike officially began and America would not see Major League Baseball action until the strike ended on April 2, 1995. Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States District Court for the Southern District, New York, issued an injunction that ended the strike. Judge Sotomayor ruled that the players and owners were bound by the expired collective bargaining agreement until a new deal could be reached. The strike lasted a total of 232 days and reduced the 1995 season to 144 games from the traditional 162 games.

The sight that awaited the players when they returned to the diamond following the 1994 Players Strike. (Getty Images)

The sight that awaited the players when they returned to the diamond following the 1994 Players Strike. (Getty Images)

Throughout the 1995 MLB Season the fans showed their displeasure with the strike that had tainted the game that they love.  Many fans saw it as two greedy side fighting for more money.  Fans all over the country showed their disdain for the players in their own ways.  Many fans decided not to go to games or buy any MLB merchandise, while other fans decided to show up and let the players know how they felt by throwing objects at them and taunting them.  Baseball did not see much gain in popularity until the steroid driven home run fest of the late 1990’s.  The “Steroid Era” further damaged the game of baseball when it was made public in the mid 2000’s.

Because of the 1994 MLB Players Strike there was no World Series played that year, it was the first season without a World Series since 1904. There were many casualties of the strike of the 1994 Strike. The most notable were the Montreal Expos who were having their best season in team history and lead baseball with a 74-70 record when the strike ended. The Expos would have likely reached the MLB Playoffs and possibly even the World Series but instead faded into obscurity. The franchise would not reach the post season until the team became the Washington Nationals more than a decade later.

There are many lessons that have been learned from the 1994 Players Strike. The most important of those lessons is that no League can disregard the fans and still profit greatly from them. Many felt the financial impact that the strike had on the game due to raising the fans ire. Baseball was considered America’s most popular sport prior to the strike. It fell behind the NFL in popularity a few years after the strike and has never grabbed its old position back from football since. The game of baseball is a beautiful game but in 1994 it was tainted by greed and the fans were the biggest victims of the dispute between the owners and the players.

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History Now: Lebron James Is Returning To Cleveland

In July of 2010 Lebron James was live on ESPN and sports fans all over the world were watching to see where he would go as a free agent. Many consider that moment one of James’ worst since bursting onto the national sports scene in 2002 while he was still in High School. With the words “I have decided to take my talents to South Beach” James ripped the hearts out of the already heart broken Cleveland sports fans bodies. The fans of Cleveland loudly voiced their disapproval and ran to the streets to burn James jerseys and shout their hate for their once beloved star.

Lebron James wearing the jersey we will see him in again when the 2014-15 NBA season begins. (Getty Images)

Lebron James wearing the jersey we will see him in again when the 2014-15 NBA season begins. (Getty Images)

Fast forward four years to today and a lot has changed for Lebron James. James never won an NBA Title in Cleveland during the seven seasons he played there. However James was in the NBA Finals over the past four seasons and won two titles with the Miami Heat. James had accomplished his dream of winning an NBA Championship and seems to rest easier with his accomplishment than he did as a player still seeking a title four years ago.

There was much speculation as to where Lebron James would go after he declined the final two years of his Miami Heat contract to pursue free agency. He spent the last ten days of his free agency period to make everyone wait and see where he would end up. On July 11th, 2014 around 1pm EST its was announced through a press release from James that he would be returning to back home to Cleveland. The fans of Cleveland have largely forgiven James for what happened that summer in 2010 and just wanted him back. Cleveland got their wish and their Ohio son back today.

While the city of Miami was reaping the benefits of having Lebron James for the past four seasons the Cleveland Cavilers have struggled to say the least. With multiple number one picks in the NBA Draft the team never recovered after James departed but do have the pieces in place for James to excel with. Much talk will swirl over the next four months before the season begins about whether James made the right choice but one thine is certain, Lebron James makes the Cavs an instant contender.

NFL Sundays Are Back

After a long spring and summer America’s top sports league is back.  The sometimes boring and monotonous training camps of July and August are complete.  It is finally time to get the season under way on the greatest day of the week, Sunday.

(Getty Images)

There are many story lines to pay attention to this year.  Will the young rookie Andrew Luck and RG3 QB’s shine and have a season the likes of Cam Newton last season?  Will Peyton Manning return to his old form with the Broncos after sitting out the entire 2011 season?  Can the teams like the 49ers and Texans continue the strong play they had last season?  There are many more storylines that will follow as the season rages on through the Fall and into the Winter.

There is something about this season and this time of the year that just makes football fans a little happier.  For many of us it bring back memories of growing up watching football with our families.   Your home town team that you love so much no matter how horrible they are every year.  For others it’s the nostalgia of playing the game while in grade school or high school.  Then there are the fantasy football nuts that just can’t wait to show all of their friends how much more they know about the game and managing their own team.  Whatever you reason is for getting excited about the upcoming season it a valid one.

Football has been around for many years and will be an American favorite for a lot more to come.  It is engrained in our make up as people and as a country.  We as Americans love physicality and proving who the better man or better men really are.  In every game every Sunday we get to see just that, who is better on this day.  So let the gatherings of friends and the barbeques continue into the winter cause football is back.

“The Fall Out” How Jon Jones Killed UFC 151

The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones helped make history this past week.  It was not good history by any means.  The UFC was forced to cancel their September 1st show in Las Vegas.  Jones is completely responsible for this cancellation.  When his challenger went down due to injury on Thursday a wild ride began that did not slow down until Friday afternoon.

Jon Jones
(Getty Images)

UFC President Dana White was able to get a replacement in Chael Sonnen.  Jones would not face Sonnen with only 8 days before the fight.  Jones’ Coach Greg Jackson tried to take the blame for not letting his fighter take the fight.  With that situation Dana White was forced to cancel the show and blamed Jackson for being a “sport killer”.

The next option for the fight was Lyoto Machida.  Machida was due a title shot but not this soon.  It was announced that Machida would take the place of Henderson and the fight would be moved to the UFC 152 show on September 22nd in Toronto.  Machida later declined and the UFC went after another former champion to fill the spot.  That former champion was Shogun Rua, he too declined the fight.

With no other options for a main event fighter for Jones, Dana White chose UFC veteran Vitor Belfort.  Belfort accepted and the fight will take place on the UFC 152 show.   Belfort has great hands but does not have the genetic gifts that Jones possesses.  Belfort is much like a Dan Henderson type fighter in the sense that he is a dangerous veteran that could win but will likely lose.  This 24 hour period of insanity is a true low point for the UFC.

Traditionally when a fighter goes down due to injury the replacement is usually accepted by the remaining fighter.  Jones did not want to follow suit.  Because of this he will drive his appeal down with a fan base that does not really see him as a star yet.  Jones is a fan favorite for the hardcore MMA fans but not casual fans who are the ones that really make or break a star and a champion at the ticket window.  Jones has gone Heel (a pro wrestling term for bad guy) but he is doing it the wrong way.

MMA has had its share of heels through its history.   The most recent being Brock Lesnar and Chael Sonnen.  Both of those fighters know what they are doing with their characters and play the role well.  They make calculated moves that make themselves the bad guys but still marketable and appealing.  Jones does not have the personality or the where with all to be a true heel.

Marketing was stated as a possible reason Jones did not take the fight.  Jones was worried that he may not keep his hot streak alive and possibly lose and hurt his selling potential.  If that was his concern he would have taken the fight with Sonnen.  Even if he lost and came back to another title shot he would be in a better light and position than he is by not taking this fight.  Sonnen was the perfect opponent, he had not been training and would be moving up a weight class.  Jones on the other hand would be peaking for the fight still and would have had 3 months of training under his belt.  Now Jones will be know as the man responsible for destroying UFC 151.

There are many victims from Jones’ decision.  The Cable companies who promoted the fight and where counting on their percentage of the PPV numbers.  The UFC has also spent a lot of money promoting the fight, they even had a huge billboard at Times Square in New York City.  The fighters who will have to wait on a pay day because their fight has to be moved to October or even November.  The most hurt will be the fans who have spent their money to fly into Las Vegas, stay in a hotel  and wait to have their tickets refunded by the UFC.

Jon Jones will likely become a villain from this situation, which for most fighters could be a positive thing.  Not for Jones who needs to be liked.  He recently signed a deal with Nike and when it come to merchandise if you are not liked people will not buy you things.  Jones has a long road ahead of him, can he shake this situation?  Maybe, he could come out on UFC 152 and knock out Belfort and everyone will forget about this like it never happened.  It could be something that sticks with him his entire career and effects his earning and drawing potential.