Way back in 1994, as the major leagues prepared to strike, there were a bunch of Class-AAAA guys that clubs signed as replacement players, should the spring labor dispute spill into the actual season.
One of those players was then 23-year old Ron Mahay, whom the Red Sox drafted in the 18th round of the 1991 amateur draft.
Actually, Mahay was already in the Red Sox system, but he went to work at Spring Training, essentially crossing the major league picket line, and that was enough so that when Mahay was called up for real in 1995, he was excluded from joining the Player's Association.
There were actually around 38 of these Replacement Players, as they would be referred to forever on, who actually made the majors, including some notable names, like Kevin Millar, Brian Daubach, Matt Herges, and Rick Reed.
Needless to say, those who were locked out during the spring of '94 were never particularly gracious to the Replacement Players, which is really just another example of the true empathy professional athletes feel for the rest of the world.
For, it is easy enough to champion a kid sick with a dangerous disease, but, to use Rick Reed as an example, the right-hander had been in the Reds chain for a decade, and was paying the bills for his ill mother. The Reds basically told Reed to report to spring camp, or be released. So, the reward for toiling in the minors that long, and then getting a chance at the Show, was ostracization.
So, while it is easier to sympathize with the players over the owners most of the time, in this case the players were just as arrogant in dismissing the reality of their would-be peers. In fact there were also stories about how the Replacement Players were left out and dismissed for years after the affair.
Well, somehow Mahay has strung out the longest career of them all, playing for Boston, Oakland, Florida, San Diego, Chicago (NL), Texas, Atlanta, Kansas City, Minnesota, Los Angeles (NL), and Arizona.
The situational lefty, who was released by the Diamondbacks last week, compiled a career 27-12, 3.83 record over the years, ideally putting the entire sad story of that long labor dispute, and much of the terrible behavior exhibited by those in the baseball business at the time.
Although I am not totally sure I want to forget it all, despite how much I love the game.
For the only way to transcend bad behavior is to embrace it, whether that is a difficult thing or not.