This weekend, baseball’s players and owners are meeting in New York in a last-ditch effort to save the season. The strike is now a month old, and the average fan can’t understand why, with all these meetings, they can’t even come close to a solution.

That’s because the average fan has never sat inside one of these meetings .
. .

* * *

MEDIATOR: First of all, gentlemen, I think I speak on behalf of all Americans when I say I’m glad you agreed to get back togeth–

OWNER: Can we get this thing started? I have a tee time in an hour.

PLAYER: Where you playing?

OWNER: Augusta.

PLAYER: Me, too. Can I get a lift?

OWNER: I’ll call the helicopter.

MEDIATOR: Gentlemen. Thank you. Now. We’ve come to consider this new proposal the players have —

OWNER: Before we get to that, did anybody order food?

PLAYER: Order it? We usually have food waiting for us in the locker room.

OWNER: See how spoiled players are?

OWNER: Yeah. Honest to God, do any of you know the meaning of work? Gimme that phone. Hello, Smithers? Go to the Russian Tea Room and bring us back a load of take-out.

OWNER: Tell him to get blintzes!

OWNER: And no caviar! I hate that stuff.

MEDIATOR: Gentlemen, please. We have a deadline of this weekend to decide the fate of the season. The deadline has been set by your commissioner, Bud Selig . . .

OWNER: Acting commissioner.

MEDIATOR: What does that mean?

OWNER: He acts the way we tell him.

OWNER: Haha, good one, George.

PLAYER: See how power hungry they are? They want to control everything.

PLAYER: Tell me about it. Why, just before the strike, my team moved our private parking spaces from under the stadium to outside the gate. Like I’m supposed to park my Jaguar outside!

PLAYER: The nerve. What did you do?

PLAYER: I had to take the limo. It was a real pain.

MEDIATOR: Gentlemen, please, we need to get started. There’s a lobby full of reporters just waiting to relay our progress to . . .

OWNER: Screw the reporters. You can’t trust ’em. I let one of those maggots onto my yacht for a private interview, and he had the audacity to use a black-and-white photo.

OWNER: You must have been livid!

OWNER: You ain’t kidding. I bought the paper and had the little jerk fired.

MEDIATOR: Owners, please! Back to the case. You say you need a salary cap.

OWNER: Damn right. I can barely pay my chauffeur.

MEDIATOR: And players, you say the owners should go on paying you what you’re worth — which right now is an average of $1 million per year.

PLAYER: Absolutely. Hey. One game this season, I had to bat and field, and after the game, I couldn’t find the equipment guy, so I had to carry my bag to the bus.

MEDIATOR: Yes?

PLAYER: By myself! Where are you gonna find someone willing to do all that?

OWNER: In any unemployment line?

PLAYER: Very funny.

MEDIATOR: Now then. According to my papers, the owners say they’re losing money.

PLAYER: Liar, liar, pants on fire!

OWNER: Touch black, take it back!

PLAYER: Trick or treat, smell my feet!

OWNER: Touch pink, your feet stink!

MEDIATOR: Gentlemen! Honestly.

OWNER: You guys are millionaires for playing a game!

PLAYER: And you guys are millionaires for owning a game!

OWNER: It’s a lousy business!

PLAYER: Let us see the books!

OWNER: Why? you can’t read anyhow.

PLAYER: Shut up, you fat, wanna-be jock.

OWNER: That’s it, the minute this strike is settled, I’m trading your butt to Seattle.

PLAYER: I don’t even play for you.

OWNER: I’ll buy you, then trade you.

FOOD MAN: Someone order take-out?

OWNER: Over here!

OWNER: I love this stuff.

OWNER: Hey, save some for the small markets!

PLAYER: Let’s go.

PLAYER: Yeah, I hate blintzes.

MEDIATOR: Gentlemen! . . . GENTLEMEN! COME BACK HERE! WHAT ABOUT THE FANS!

PLAYERS & OWNERS: Who?

* * *

Later, at the press conference . . .

MEDIATOR: I’m sorry to report, that while both sides seemed willing to discuss important issues, our progress was minimal.

REPORTER: Will they meet tomorrow?

MEDIATOR: That depends.

REPORTER: On what?

MEDIATOR: According to both sides . . . it depends on who’s catering.

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