The fake deadline invented out of thin air by MLB owners has been moved.

Maybe they will reach a deal at the 11th hour and maybe most people will be happy that a deal was reached at all, caring little for what was actually rendered.

Despite tons of passive language being used to describe what is happening now, games are under threat of being canceled and not for any reason other than because the owners decided to do so as a tactic to try to get the players to bend to their will.

The players, thankfully for those who care about the long-term health of the game, are mostly holding firm amid absurd demands and so will risk their own paychecks in order to try to force the owners into doing the right thing.

Fans are angry. Maybe forever. And many will not be watching MLB for a long time.

Across the country, people are canceling subscriptions to apps and TV services and plenty are taking the tough step of ending their time as season ticket holders.

People are losing their love of the game.

Kids in little league’s will have to wait to watch their heroes and cheer them on. The next wave of young players and fans will sit and wonder if the game will ever be the same again.

Because 30 incredibly wealthy people have decided to make up a series of rules that protect them and hurt everyone else, maybe we can’t have baseball.

Because 30 people who have shown that they care more about their pocketbooks than they do about their employees and customers, maybe we can’t have baseball.

Because 30 people who could absolutely afford to pay just a little bit more to make everyone around them better off refuse to do so, maybe we can’t have baseball.

Because 30 people hold archaic notions of how to make money, selfishly hoarding as much as they can for themselves rather than adopting a “rising tide” mentality, maybe we can’t have baseball.

Because these 30 people will be fine, and it’s just the rest of us that suffer, maybe we can’t have baseball.

Nobody has covered this more thoroughly, passionately, or accurately than Jeff Passan.

In his latest, he brings into focus the issue behind the issue that most of un intuitively know but for some reason seems to regularly be left out of the conversation:

“If you went and got the next 1,200 best players in the world, the product would suffer greatly. If you handed MLB teams over to any 30 competent businesspeople, the sport would not suffer. Actually, it might improve. It doesn’t take a billionaire to leverage a spot in a legalized monopoly with profound built-in revenues.”

All the owners do is provide an infrastructure that they have complete control over. They can actively make the game worse and nobody can stop them.

Well, that is the theory we are testing right now anyway.

For years, the MLBPA has seemed resigned to letting the owners do whatever they want and just getting what they can.

They are trapped. If there was competition across town. If a different set of 30 wealthy people were able to build stadiums and create a far-fairer set of rules, the players would flock to such a league and so would the fans.

That is clearly where our loyalties lie. If there was a WCW or AEW equivalent to challenge MLB’s version of WWE – a stagnant product that exponentially worse without competition – the owners would have agreed to the players first proposal.

They would have agreed to that proposal because they know it was more than fair, and they know that they can afford it. They just also know that they don’t have to do it and nobody can make them. There is no other league to go to.

Well, the players seem determined to make them this time.

And, it would appear, they may actually have more fan support than they ever have before.

There is plenty to bemoan about the age of social media but one of the benefits is how much more savvy the average fan can be about things like collective bargaining. With so much fantastic reporting going on, casual audiences are much better informed about the exact how and why of this lockout.

Of course, there will always be those who don’t care about the details and just want their baseball back, but the MLBPA has far more media and fan support than they ever have before.

This is why their tactic of turning missed games into a weapon against the owners is so important.

They’ll lose fans but they’ll gain far more respect for standing their ground and demanding that the owners behave like stewards of a game people love and like respectful members of a community.

If the players can’t force them to do it, who will?

Because if 30 people can tell 1,200 people that their rights don’t matter but millions of people stand behind them to respond, “yes they do” then maybe we can have baseball.