Baseball Strike: Fair or Foul?
By KRISTEN STERNBERG
NIE EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANT
Baseball players have threatened a walk out that might cause a stoppage of major league games across the nation. If the strike goes off as planned, according to a newspaper editorial published recently in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, the world of baseball could change forever. This is the ninth threatened strike in professional baseball history. What's behind the latest proposal? Can-or should-anything be done to try to stop it? If the strike takes place, what will the consequences be?
Pitch and swing
Brian Jordan swings through a pitch during a spring training game against the Marlins. (Photo: News-Journal/Bill Zimmerman)
Many people believe that greed is behind the current threat. Baseball team owners have recently proposed a new tax on salaries. With such a tax, teams whose players have the highest salaries, on average, will be required to contribute to those with lower averages. As with other pro baseball strikes in recent history, players' salaries are a key issue in the current conflict. An average salary for a baseball player is over two million dollars. The minimum is $200,000 and players' salaries routinely top 10 million dollars or more!
Although being a professional player may seem glamorous, in reality it's a lot of hard work. A majority of sports superstars are hardworking and extremely focused. Their profession typically requires them to build physical and mental strength through exercises that push the boundaries of their endurance. Like other dedicated athletes, many baseball players may practice for hours every day. Still, many fans believe that baseball players are paid far too much. Hero worship aside, many feel that baseball players are just doing a job, like millions and millions of other workers.
The first major baseball strike took place during the 1972-1973 season and caused the cancellation of 86 games. That year, baseball season didn't start until April 15th. The most recent baseball strike, in 1994, lasted 232 days and caused the cancellation of the World Series. If baseball players walk out on August 30, it will be the ninth strike in baseball history. Fans are increasingly disappointed over salary disputes and other such issues. Many fans are now staying away from the games as their own form of protest. If the strike takes place, will it be "the end of major league baseball?" While you ponder this issue, why not check out the newspaper activities and web links provided below?
Try these interesting activities using The Daytona Beach News-Journal
1. Follow ongoing News-Journal coverage of the impending (upcoming) baseball strike to see how this issue becomes resolved. Do you agree with its resolution? Study Letters to the Editor found in your News-Journal to get ideas about how to express your opinion. Then, write a letter to the editor explaining how you feel about the baseball situation. Watch the newspaper to see if it gets published. (Sunshine State Standards LA.B.2.2.1, LA.B.2.2.3, LA.B.2.2.6)
"Front Row" Joe Rowe, who attended his 500th home Daytona Cubs game in a row, is seen here in "The Den" during a game against the Clearwater Phillies. (Photo: News-Journal/Joanna Kaney)
2. Baseball is one of many professional sports. Skim The News-Journal Sports pages and clip 10 or more photos of people playing sports. Let each photo stand for one sport, and make sure they all show different ones. Challenge yourself to find how many ways you can group the sports shots you clipped. Examples: Group clippings by number of points attainable in a single game (many, some, few), by whether professional competitions in that sport are typically played by males, by females or by both, etc. After you have discovered several ways of sorting on your own, ask a friend to help you think of even more ways to group the photos. (Sunshine State Standards MA.D.1.2.1)
3. Locate an action photo in the Sports section of The News-Journal. Clip the photo and mount it on a large, blank sheet of paper with tape or glue. Using the spaces around the photo, list all the ways you can think of that science is can be "seen" at work. Share your creation with a parent or a teacher. (Sunshine State Standards SC.H.1.2.2, SC.H.1.2.5)
4. Use The News-Journal to find this season's baseball statistics. Take player and team statistics to create math problems and challenge your friends to solve them. (Sunshine State Standards MA.A.3.2.1, MA.A.3.2.2, MA.A.3.2.3, MA.B.1.2.1, MA.B.1.2.2)
5. The ability to strike, or even to threaten a strike, is a right that many Americans take for granted. Striking is a form of organized protest that not all countries allow their subjects to participate in. Search The News-Journal for other examples of basic rights afforded to Americans by the U.S. Constitution. Read each example you locate in The News-Journal and ask a friend or relative to listen while you explain what you learned. (Sunshine State Standards SS.1.2.4, SS.C.2.2.3, SS.C.2.2.4, SS.C.2.2.5)
6. Baseball fans in Central Florida can take pleasure in attending games throughout much of the year. Check The News-Journal to find a baseball event that is taking place near you. If possible, attend a game with family or with friends.
A copy of Florida's Sunshine State Standards can be found at intech2000.miamisci.org.
Check out these links to learn more
Atlanta Braves outfielder Brian Jordan checks with the base coach during a spring training game. (Photo: News-Journal/Bill Zimmerman)
Use a search engine to locate more information about the possibility of a baseball strike. For example, typing in the search keywords "baseball," "strike" and "history" at google.com returned thousands of current articles, including ones published in the National Post and the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspapers, abcnews.com and many more. www.google.com
Read an interesting article about how popular baseball is among kids of all ages. www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/3889399.htm
At this site offered by the National Baseball Hall of Fame, you can play related games, see online exhibits and more. Learn about the history of baseball and check out some neat baseball souvenirs. www.baseballhalloffame.org/
Daytona Beach is home to the Daytona Cubs, a popular minor league baseball team. Check out stadium's web site to find out more about game schedules, seating and the historic Jackie Robinson Ballpark where games are played. www.daytonacubs.com/stadium.html
The Newspaper Association of America's web site contains links to many newspapers in the U.S. and around the world, which may contain additional news stories about baseball. To access the newspapers at the site, select a state. Click on the "Internationals" button to view choices from other countries.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal NIE Program, published August 26, 2002