APPEARANCE OF GUESTS: Play ball! | Opinion

Enough of MLB Incorporated and the Players Association. Enough of pompous monarchs and cultured morons stealing the game from us all.

Owner profits and “superstar salaries” drive double-digit prices for a beer, a hot dog and a slice of pizza. They stole our leisure.

Eliminate the selfishness of “owning” part of America’s pastime, when we know it belongs to all of us. Enough pampered players who prostitute their talent for more money than they or their families will ever need, even considering the limited time to make their loot bundle for retirement. Where is the gratitude for the luck and skill of playing baseball for a living?

Let’s return America’s pastime to enjoy on a lazy Sunday or a quiet evening after work. Be there for the love of the game. No need for loud Steinbrenners and their silent partners.

Enough turnover and negotiation for the talent to win a World Series. Like the cream, let the talent rise to the top. Let’s get excited for the clutch shots and dazzling plays like Derek Jeter racing from shortstop across the first base line as he reversed a wide throw from the outfield and returned it to the receiver Jorge Posada for the strikeout in the playoff plate Game. It’s the team effort that makes the game.

Watch the wonders of athleticism explode onto the field as we lavish the fun of the game, whether quiet or exciting, marveling at those who play the game with passion and grace – every throw, every play, whatever the round, because it’s never until the last outing.

Oh, don’t you love those ninth-inning comebacks, or those relievers like Mariano Rivera with fastballs whistled by the batter, all the way to the last pitch of the last inning?

Honor Jackie Robinson with a pledge never to put any player through the heartache he went through for being a black man who played amazing baseball.

Let the municipalities own the teams. Pay players a good salary while keeping stadium admission prices accessible to everyone. Pay a living wage to those who set the stage for us to enjoy the game. Going to a baseball game shouldn’t cost the price of a vacation weekend.

Maintain the price of drinks, sausages and sushi in the park so that the average fan can afford a meal while enjoying the game and the vendors can earn a living.

Every innings with extra hits, Ks, interceptions, DPs, walks and hesitates. Umps looking for mistakes and mischief like the Niekro brothers, throwing tainted balls as well as punches. Nine or more rounds of back kicking or nail biting at the edge of your seat.

And, when the game is over, hang out with other fans, no matter which team you rooted for, because it was one hell of a game. Players and supporters. Coaches and referees. As a community, celebrate the game.

Let’s bring the oldies back for a few rounds to honor them today, for what they gave us in their heyday. To appreciate their youthful spirit, long after retirement, to pursue a life and opportunities suited to their talents. Revered alumni, as they join the fan community, as the next generation arrives on the plate.

Celebrate the no-hitter. Or a grand slam. Or be outraged by the referee’s call. Enjoy the rhythm and rhythm of leisure and play.

Give us back the game. Let’s have “dollars days” where we can afford a slice of pizza and a drink, like we did at Auburn’s Falcon Park, watching the Doubledays play single-A ball until few years ago.

Bring the game home for all of us.

Tony Del Plato is a village administrator in Interlaken who contributes opinion pieces to the Finger Lakes Time frequently.