Can baseball still be called Ämerica's Pastime" or better yet will it be after this year ?  What for decades have been leagues that have been looked at as secondary to Major League Baseball (MLB) are now moving miles ahead.  The NBA and NHL have been in suspended play mode since early to mid March.  Baseball shut down Spring Training shortly thereafter.

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Now, both the NBA and NHL are solidifying their return to play plans.  Baseball remains stuck. Top that off with the NFL not altering its game schedule and beginning to allow coaches back to their team's training facilities today (Friday).  And this is even before you take into account that MLB plans to eliminate 42 minor league team affiliates (including potentially the Binghamton Rumble Ponies).  Add this all up and it is difficult to imagine a pent up passion for baseball to suddenly return.

According to Jeff Passan writing on MLB generates roughly $10 billion in annual revenue. There are millions of dollars in contracts riding on the season.  But neither side will move on agreement.  According to ESPN's Buster Olney discussion may now focus on a 48-game season.  The player's have proposed 114 games and the owners an 82-game slate.  Now talk of 48 games.

This all continues while we near the second week of June. With the NBA and NHL planning to begin to get underway and the NFL on their heels how desperate are baseball fans to see a 48-game schedule?  Amateur teams often play more than that. Will pro players risk injury to play 48 regular season games at a fraction of their overall salary.

There are a lot of outs showing up on the MLB scoreboard.  Apparently, both sides expect fans to grovel for their return. Right now baseball is watching an already shrinking fan base potentially slip away even further.  The sad part is baseball is giving it away without even a fight against the others sports ready and willing to take over with the game baseball has created.  Self-destruction is a sad thing.

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Gregory Shamus, Getty Images
Gregory Shamus, Getty Images

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