October 12, 2001
Loyalty is an interesting concept, especially as it pertains to sports. If you ask anyone what one of the biggest changes in sports today, a large number of those questioned would exclaim free agency. With the advent of the free agent, Major League Baseball changed forever. Gone were the days when a player would break into the big leagues as a rookie and play their entire career for one franchise. With the retirement of Tony Gwynn we may have seen the final player of our generation begin and end with the same National League team. Fans everywhere are becoming accustomed to seeing their favorite player move from the hometown team to a rival. When these moves occur, the fans are in an uproar as the player is admonished for their lack of loyalty. “Where is their sense of community?” they ask. “How could they abandon the fans like this?” or “The players are nothing more than a bunch of pampered millionaires looking for money.” These comments are often heard on sports talk radio or read in print. Soon, that player that was the cornerstone of the local team is now publicly ridiculed and derogatory remarks are made that he didn’t care about the fans or didn’t care about the game.