Our Boston Sports Insider Tom Caron usually has a positive spin on what has been a brutal negotiation between MLB's owners and players. Today, he painted a scenario in which it could take YEARS for baseball to return.

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If they don't play because of money, while basketball and hockey are playing and then football in the fall and soccer and Nascar?  Everybody found a way to get back.

 

And if you can't come back? There are fans that will turn away from the sport and NEVER come back.

 

And they know that. But they've been digging in their heels and the history of baseball shows that they will drive it off the cliff, rather than begin. That's a scary proposition.

 

- Tom Caron on the high stakes of MLB's work stoppage

The last time something like this happened in baseball was the 1994 strike and it took at least four years for the sport to recover in popularity. The McGwire/Sosa home run mayhem of 1998 was the saving grace that brought the sport back from nearly empty stadiums.

Unfortunately now, it is already losing the sports popularity contest among the younger generations. I, for one, can't stand it when a 9 inning game exceeds 3 hours and the TV ratings show that I am in the majority opinion.

I don't think injecting helium or tighter wound elastics (or however they juice the baseball) will help them this time. Hopefully, they'll figure this out soon because they're at a crucial crossroad that they may never find their way back from.