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Moore: Baseball players and owners need to get it together and play ball

Will we see Mariners baseball in 2020? (Getty)

I’ve gone from missing baseball and the Mariners in particular to shaking my head at negotiations between the MLB owners and players and not caring if it returns this summer.

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I can see some of the points from both sides. The owners are concerned about lost revenue without fans. The players want pro-rated salaries and don’t want to factor in the absence of fans.

I’ve heard the comments from Tampa Bay left-hander Blake Snell, who said: “I’m not playing unless I get mine,” sharing health concerns about the coronavirus but sounding selfish nonetheless.

And there are those who think the owners are so rich that they can handle an estimated loss of $640,000 for each regular-season game that is played.

So we’ve gone back and forth in the last two weeks, hearing discussions about 81 games, then 114 games, now possibly as low as 50 games. Hey guys, how about ZERO games?

Why don’t you take your bats and balls and gloves and go home? Take your $40 parking prices and $12 beers with you.

I know I’m missing details when I say this, but why can’t they all share in lost revenue in a lost season and play baseball anyway, recognizing that we’re dealing with unique circumstances here. Suck it up for one lousy year and play for less and make less than usual.

Think about it being a hiccup, a temporary financial setback, you’ll be back to making hundreds of thousands and millions next year.

To me, Major League Baseball is still a great sport. I won’t ever go away. Even if they don’t play this summer, I’ll be back next year, looking forward to spring training and another season of Mariners’ baseball even if it’s the 19th or 20th season in a row without the playoffs.

But I’m almost 63, I wonder about the attraction of baseball with younger fans. It’s a slower game, and we’re in a faster, shorter attention-span world now.

The game isn’t as popular as it used to be, and I’m concerned about it long-term. It’s still more fun to go to the ballpark than watch games at home, but you can make a great case for HD-TV, free parking and cold beers for less than $2 straight from your fridge. And as the years go by, you can see that more and more fans aren’t as interested as they used to be.

In my mind, baseball was at a crossroads before the pandemic hit. How are casual fans going to feel if the sport doesn’t return because of squabbles over money? Many of these fans are out of work or living paycheck to paycheck, and you guys can’t figure this out?

The very small portion of Rick Rizzs in me wants baseball back in the worst way. But the bigger cynic in me has a darker thought in mind. Go ahead and kill the 2020 season and see how stupid that would be. See how many fans get fed up and permanently spurn the game.

If baseball isn’t played this summer, I could see a scenario in which fans are welcomed back with open arms next year but are so bitter that they don’t return at all.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jim Moore on Twitter.

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