Archives For Roger Maris

The Great State Debate

David Gregory —  September 11, 2009 — 6 Comments

Cold, harsh winters, agricultural summers, and overalls. Lots of overalls.

The midwestern portion of the United States of America is known from sea to sea as a unit, “Middle America” to the coastal extremists. In both good and bad instances, the “Heartland” is seemingly conjoined to much of the populace. It is a singular identity. That ends now.

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The Montreal Expos never did win the World Series.

The ‘Spos had the best record in Major League Baseball on August 12, 1994 and were primed to take their talented, small-market approach deep into the playoffs. In 2009, the Expos are now named the Nationals, residing in Washington D.C. and occupying the dregs of the National League East.

Standings aren’t the only thing that has changed in the 15 years since the MLB Players Association staged a strike that cancelled the ’94 postseason. Steroid use became the story of the new millennium, and big-budget clubs dominated the postseason. With such a dynamic shift in the fabric of the game since the strike, it begs the question, was 1994 the baseball tipping point from national pasttime to third-tier American sport? The strike of ’94 was hardly the first time the MLB had ground to a halt: eight stoppages had occurred since 1972. Long-standing distrust between the players and the owners led to a widening gap between expectations, with Commissioner Bud Selig wanting a salary cap and MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr hearing nothing of the sort.

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