It’s to the point I no longer enjoy most professional sports. Lots of reasons but I think it is mainly because the teams are no longer teams.
I remember when trades were rare. Year after year you had most of the same players back and, win or lose, team loyalty still played a major part in the game. I can still name most of the Reds players in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
But this year I can name very few. Maybe you are suppose to be loyal to the team name, Cincinnati Reds, and not the individual. Maybe we as fans are not suppose to care who plays on the team as long as they win.
This year, the Reds have disintegrated due to money. Too many players were being paid so much, or would eventually be paid so much, that ownership had to get rid of them. I recall as a kid playing on a dusty, dirt field, outfield grass knee high, no uniforms, equipment mostly taped up, but playing for the love and the fun of the game.
I don’t think the pros think about love of the game. Their agents bargain for every dime they can get out of the owners and the owners try to figure ways to get every dime out of the fans.
And many pro teams, especially basketball, are dominated by hot dogs, individuals who cannot spell team because it does not have an “I” in it.
Contracts that top $100,000,000 are almost common today. It is laughable when a pro athlete is interviewed and he makes a statement, “We are doing so well because we are playing for fun!” Who are they trying to fool?
I like to think that after all the years I played sports, I can truly say I played for fun. A lot of you reading this can say the same. I think professional athletes need to be paid a fair amount, but the salaries I see are way out of the FUN limits.
As I said, I watch a team and have no feeling for names I do not recognize. Playing for big bucks may be the fun the pros are talking about, but no fun for me.
Tony Lamke is a former coach and writes a periodic column for the News Journal. He can be reached at [email protected]