Saturday, July 31, 2010

Full Count

Bill Simmons had a great piece on the lackluster interest in the 2010 Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball in general the other day. Let me just quote a bit for you below that made particular sense to me:
We're feeling the effects of two solid decades of World Series games ending well after the bedtime of any prospective young fan. And don't kids have dozens more choices in 2010 than they did in 1975? Back in 1975, I went outside, whipped a baseball off the wall, dove for it and pretended I was Freddie Lynn. Do kids do that now? Isn't it more likely that they're watching Nick Jr., playing video games, watching DVDs, messing around with the computer ... how could baseball possibly mean as much to a young kid now?

Baseball has become a bore.

I ought to preface that by saying there are few things better in life than watching a ball game on a warm June or July night. The field glows white under the stadium lights and the sound of the bat cracking against the ball echoes into the night. The smell of hot dogs and brautwurst permeates the humid summer air. Children shout scream to pump up the scoreboard's "Noise-o-meter." Old men complain about the pitching. And lack of pinch hitting. And base running.

I love going to the ball park. I absolutely love it. There's nothing better than a live baseball game and I don't care what anyone says about HD this or 3D that. Sitting in a cramped seat, clutching a steadily warming beer and a steaming sausage is about as good as it gets. I find the experience even more relaxing when I don't care about either team. That sounds strange, but then you have to remember the life-or-death struggle every game of every season represented for the Red Sox until October 2004.

So I've had a good run this summer. I saw the Sox play in Baltimore and sure, they lost, but it was the first chance I've had to see Beckett pitch live. I went to a Nationals game in Washington and on this previous Friday night attended my first Brockton Rox game with the family in several years.

And that's what baseball is all about. The game, the plays and the experience. Which is why it's sad to see so many stories of disgust emerging about the *new* Fenway experience, where Yawkey Way is more like an amusement park than a street, the stands are filled because going to a Red Sox game is more of a social outing (look at my Facebook pics! I went to the game!) then appreciating the sport.

I haven't been to Fenway (for a game) since I was in college and in all honesty I haven't missed it much. It's not that I've lost interest in baseball, it's that I've lost interest in the showbiz attitude Major League Baseball has adopted.

Because there's still nothing better than a good ball game with a steaming sausage and a cold beer in hand. If you can still find it for less than $100.

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