Formula 1 faces a schism, with the circuit’s eight top teams threatening to form their own break-away championship rather than submit to a cap on expenses mandated by the sport’s highly entertaining chief executive, Max Mosley. (Hey—you can’t pick your parents. You can pick your role-playing scenarios, however.) This prospect raises the question of whether either side in the dispute has taken a good, long, sobering look at what happened to boxing. However, the F1 “crisis,” if indeed that’s what we have here, is not the first potential world-sport civil war. Cycling almost split a couple years ago over…something. (Whose turn it was to work the hypodermic and whose turn it was to look away and grimace while humming a favorite childhood song, perhaps.) In football, the perennial threat of some kind of “European superleague” provides at least a few panicky Brit-press headlines every year.
This just doesn’t happen in American sports, of course, because American sports run with the kind of lockstep efficiency Max Mosley’s father would have particularly admired. Our franchise-based leagues fall somewhere between a black-ball-happy private gentleman’s club and Stalin’s First Five Year Plan, as far as organizational principles go. Still, those given to dreamy speculation (ah…) might imagine the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Cubs and Dodgers walking out on their major-league brethren and forming a Special League of Baseball, cherry-picking a few other defectors and leaving the Pittsburghs and Milwaukees of the world to suffer the consequences of their new Quadruple-A status. Hell—this is probably something hockey should actively consider. Bring back the Original Six!