Let’s take a break for a moment.

The current state of MLB is dark and dreary, and many can feel the love of the game slipping out of their hearts.

In times like these, it can be helpful to remember how we all ended up a part of this grand, bizarre, often-infuriating puzzle to begin with.

For many, it began in childhood.

A voice on the radio, an image on the TV, or maybe even a visit to the ballpark sparked a life-long love affair.

Maybe your family has always loved baseball. It has been around 150 years, after all.

You may have inherited the game from a time before you can even remember. It is as natural to you as breathing or eating or sleeping.

For others, they can remember a time when a friend or family member brought them on board with a new experience they will cherish forever.

These memories carry a legacy that lives on in baseballs, gloves, bats, and cards displayed proudly and prominently in homes across the world.

For some of us, that early passion turned into playing the game.

Little League, it could be said, is the true national pastime. 

Not everyone can watch 162-game seasons, especially if they are blacked out in you area, but any kid can sign up and head down to the local park for a game of good old-fashioned stickball.

Whether you began with T-ball, didn’t get involved until later, got roped into being a coach as a parent, or never even walked out onto a diamond, there is still something palpably magical about young people playing baseball.

Among the many victims of the current state of things, they are perhaps the biggest.

But we aren’t thinking about that right now. We are remembering that it is the game, and not a specific league, that we love.

We didn’t fall in love with commissioners or profits or growth margins or collective bargaining agreements.

Baseball is what we love.

Fans are leaving. More will. And while MLB may think they are invincible, one has to wonder. Both the short and long-term health of the league are at stake. But not the game.

For as long as mother and fathers and grandparents and aunts and uncles tell stories about their favorite players, there will always be love for baseball.

As long as childhood friends challenge each other as batter and hitter for a healthy dose of good-natured next-day trash talk, there will be love for baseball.

As long as the crack of the bat can still bring a crowd to its feet, as long as 90 feet is still the perfect distance to first base, and as long as we all remember that this game is for us and not for them, there will be love for baseball.

To bring us back to the sad state of our current reality, all of this is a reminder as well that the while the owners are absolutely fighting for themselves, the players are fighting for you.

Of course, they have plenty to gain too, but this fight is about making sure that the next generation of fans gets to have the same kind of experience that we all did falling in love with the game. 

I can’t promise you that this won’t be a long, drawn-out war where nobody wins. But I can promise you that there will always be love for baseball.