The Baseball Strike of 1994 was like the Millenium Bug or the Blair Witch Project or any other toothless apocalypse.

Twenty-five years later the game is so relentlessly prosperous that it might be time for another one.

There were victims, mostly in Montreal. The Expos were 74-40, the same record the Dodgers had last week, when the bats were packed up on Aug. 12. They were probably headed for the World Series, which would have been Canada’s third consecutive. Instead they sold off their top players when play resumed and were in Washington 10 years later. Now the most soulful city in North America wants baseball back.

They say Don Mattingly might be in the Hall of Fame if the season had proceeded and the Yankees had made their first World Series in 13 years, but that’s dubious. They say Tony Gwynn could have hit .400 that year, and we don’t know that either.

The World Series was scrapped, and somehow Americans hung onto pro and college football and their churches and each other. A midterm election was held without interruption. Everyone marched on.

There were heroes, too. Michael Jordan, in between NBA jobs, could have validated commissioner Bud Selig’s replacement-player scheme in 1995. A union veteran, he firmly refused.

Sonia Sotomayor, then an appeals judge, effectively rekindled baseball shortly before Opening Day with an injunction. The owners were refusing to negotiate with free agents or offer arbitration, so that was an unfair labor practice. The teams played 144 games that year and the two sides signed a Basic Agreement the year after that. The owners had wrecked a season in search of a salary cap. They still don’t have one.

Sparky Anderson, near the end as Detroit’s manager, came back to the dugout for Opening Day in Anaheim. He had taken a leave of absence, rather than manage the stunt men in spring training. He said he didn’t care what happened, but he wasn’t going to put no undeserving players in no Baseball Encyclopedia.

Meanwhile, everyone in America had a neighbor that would absolutely, positively never go to a ballpark again. He’s the guy that, in two months, will break out his Dodger window flag.

Attendance is legitimately dwindling, especially among the headphoned youth, and the game itself loses more speed and spontaneity each month.

But no one in 1994 could have foreseen how fat the calf has become in 2019.

Between 1995 and this season, the average payroll has grown by $102.5 million. That’s per team.

Those fabulous Expos? The next season, their payroll was $12 million. Today’s Washington Nationals are making $207 million.

The Yankees were considered spendthrifts back then, at $48 million. This year they’re paying $228 million. The Dodgers are at $193 million and were at $39M.

This only happens with the type of revenue explosion baseball has overseen. In 2018 the clubs made $10.8 billion, with the Yankees leading at $668M.

After the strike, the teams agreed on a revenue-sharing plan that has been amended with each new Basic Agreement. But in 2018 each team took in $200 million from the revenue-sharing pool.

We know that baseball congeals on television, yet last fall MLB and Fox signed a $5.1 billion deal through 2028. DAZN, the streaming service that serves as an annuity for Canelo Alvarez, is not too cutting-edge for baseball. It signed a three-year, $300 million deal for games and studio analysis.

We have seen it in every sport. A strike or lockout is not a terminal illness. It is more like a sinus infection.

But since baseball never had lost a World Series over such pie-splitting issues, there was legitimate fear. Taxpayers had voted to build some of these stadiums. How could they be persuaded to return?

Well, 1995 was the year that Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive-game streak, and he was a willing symbol for what was Good and Right with the game, his Players’ Association membership aside. And 1996 was the year the Yankees returned to the World Series, won it, and kicked off a reasonable facsimile of a dynasty.

Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa rode to the muscular rescue two years later. The Red Sox and the Cubs exorcised themselves. The once-sickly Giants, in a new jewelbox ballpark, won three World Series in five years. Forgiveness was expanded to the point that Selig became a Hall of Famer, even though Barry Bonds, Pete Rose and Roger Clemens were not.

Much to the surprise of baseball, the Strike of 1994 was not a blackout but a pause. There is little to fear from a lockout in 2022, unless nobody notices.