The start of the 2009 Major League Baseball season was maddening. Instead of the focus being on the start of the MLB campaign, the International Winter Games took precedence. Teammates were pitted against each other as they represented their home countries. It was, in my opinion, a strange and inappropriate way to start a Major League season.
Even worse is this year’s paused action by the National Hockey League to give way to the 2010 Winter Olympics. It’s hard to imagine that it is in the league’s or the fans’ best interest to entirely stop NHL play mid-season so that certain players can leave their professional teams and represent their countries of origin.
As much as I enjoy watching the Olympics, I strongly believe that a professional athlete’s first responsibility should be to his employer and that, short of a natural or man-made disaster, a season’s schedule should never be interrupted.
What about potential injuries? What about teammates playing against one another? What a shame it would be if teammates clashing ended up in a season-ending injury.
More than anything, the rhythm of the season has been severely disrupted — and NHL devotees’ attention has been short circuited. It’s hard to imagine that a two week, mid-season shut down of League activity is in the best interest of the game.
This experimentation with season disruption should stop. Fans of professional sports teams should know that the leagues they support are 100 percent committed to their respective sports — and that any given season takes precedent over theatrics or other interuptions. All the leagues should end this experiment immediately and recommit themselves to their own product and their fans.