Clipping:The NL schedule goes head to head with the PL

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Date Wednesday, April 2, 1890

In the new schedule adopted by the National League this obstinate organization has unmistakably thrown down the gage of battle to the Players' League, as this schedule is a fighting schedule through and through. Dates are made to conflict with the Brotherhood on every possible occasion. In New York Ewing and his men will play only eight of their seventy home games without opposition on the League ground. In Brooklyn Ward and his team have only seven open dates. In Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Cleveland and Chicago it is just the same—strife, conflict, warfare from start to finish. The plan of the League magnates is apparent. They will meet the Brotherhood in a hand-to-hand fight and will leave it to the people to decide which shall survive. The Sporting Life April 2, 1890

[editorial matter] The purpose of the League is plain. It is not, as might be supposed, to refer the dispute to public arbitration and to compel the supporters of the game to choose between it and the Players' League by giving it no opportunity through a non-conflicting schedule to support both liberally, because the League knows that for an entire season, at least, its unequal and experimental teams will prove no match for the admittedly powerful and well-equalized teams of the Players' League—teams which are collectively the strongest in point of skill and prestige ever concentrated into an eight-club League. No, the calculation of the League is to cripple the new League financially no matter how much it may suffer itself, and thus end the war and choke off business rivalry in one season no matter what the cost. The League has the wealth accumulated during past seasons of successful monopoly, while the Players' League, new to the business, has had no opportunity of creating sinking funds, has been put to the extraordinary expenses always incidental to organization, necessarily depleting its capital. The League can, therefore, easier afford to lose heavily than the Players' League can afford in its first experimental season to lose at all, especially as in the League the losses would fall on a few individuals, while in the players' League, under its cooperative principles, losses would have to be shared by many and perhaps involve the players. It will thus be seen that the League's object is to conflict wherever possible, no matter what the loss to itself, simply to divert enough patronage from its rival to prevent a profit on the season and thus to sicken the stockholders in the new League, to discourage the investment of further capital, to compel recourse to other than the gate receipts, to chill the enthusiasm and arouse the fears of the players, and to pave the way for their defection and for those internal dissension, from which alone, aside from financial disaster, the National League can hope for the overthrow of the west-organized Players' League. There is no bluff about this, as some may unwisely consider it, but a cunningly-conceived and well-executed plan of campaign, which will be carried out to the bitter end with the League's characteristic energy and persistence.

This is the fell purpose of the League that confronts the Players' League men, and they must look it full in the face and bend all their energies to defeat it. Two alternatives present themselves—one to accept the issue and take all the chances of a battle on the lines laid down by the League; the other, to avoid the issue and adopt a new schedule. To go on with the fight as it stands means probable loss; the Players' League is almost certain to vastly outdraw the National League teams as the latter are now constituted, but the new League will need a large patronage, indeed, to realize the financial expectations of its backers and players, and if the League can divert enough patronage to defeat those expectations the consequence may prove as disastrous as the League evidently calculates.

To decline the League's open challenge to battle and adopt a new schedule would perhaps look like a confession of weakness repugnant to the combative instinct in the new League,and perhaps a disappointment to that small portion of the public which likes to witness a Kilkenny cat-fight. It might also afford League partisans a chance to do some crowing. But what of that? The Players' League was not organized to fight the National League, but to establish itself in the base ball business, to give the best possible exhibition of ball, and to profit thereby; to accomplish this purpose it need but consider its own necessities first, always with an eye to the future, without knocking chips off shoulders or indulging in fights with all who choose to challenge it to battle for the edification of the outsiders who have no more material interest in the war than a spectator at a dog fight. If the Players' League shall, upon deliberation find that, all things considered, its best course would be to avoid such a battle as the League insists upon forcing upon it, it should bravely adopt such a course and leave its vindication to an intelligent public, which has its eye upon the situation, does its own thinking, and which has hitherto plainly indicated that it is not in sympathy with the League's method of crushing out business competition. The Sporting Life April 2, 1890

Source Sporting Life
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Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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