For the first time in a long, long time, Major League Baseball kicks off a season gloriously free from both labor strife and off-the field distractions, writes Howard Bryant at ESPN. The league has a well-chronicled history of labor unrest, but right now, it's in good shape compared to the NFL, which is in the midst of a lockout. Sure, the ongoing Barry Bonds trial is a reminder of baseball's embarrassing steroid era, but a new generation of talented young players is also cleansing the sport of its drug-plagued past. Here, an excerpt:
As improbable as it sounds, baseball — with its eight work stoppages and enough deep, historical grievances to be worthy of a college course on labor relations in the 20th century — opens the season in the ironic position as an oasis of stability in the otherwise unsettled world of professional sports...
At a time of the year when the sports fan can choose from a bounty of alternatives — the Final Four is this weekend, The Masters is next week and the NBA and NHL seasons are finally gearing up for the playoffs — baseball might be the most appealing option.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- 6 tiny scientific mistakes that created huge disasters
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- Three major publications have acknowledged plagiarism by Fareed Zakaria. Does CNN have no shame?
Subscribe to the Week