Monday, October 23, 2006

AMERICA'S PASTIME IS NOW NAP TIME

As a kid, I remember racing home from school in the early fall to watch World Series games. It was a special treat and certainly added some spice to the regular routine of a weekday afternoon.

Even if the Orioles weren’t in the Series, it had an aura about it that made it unique.

It doesn’t feel that way any more. Kids today could care less about the World Series and in many ways, I don’t blame them. It’s just so much different today.

These days, the Orioles are as relevant to the baseball postseason landscape as I am to Angelina Jolie’s Palm Pilot. That certainly has something to do with it.

Then there’s the issue of programming. As a kid, we had The Game of The Week on NBC with Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek. Today, there are games up and down the dial any day you want them.

As a kid, if someone mentioned steroids I would have likely believed it to be a villain for Johnny Quest. Today, it pollutes MLB.

And now, every World Series game is on at night and it’s not the same. I can remember teachers in my elementary school changing the class schedules and bringing in TV’s on elevated stands to let the students watch the Orioles during the postseason until the school bell sounded. Baseball galvanized the community and then we could always count on our favorites being there year in and year out. That was before the advent of free agency.

Yes things were different back then. We couldn’t wait to run home and catch the end of a Series game. I couldn’t wait for my Dad to come home from work so that I could fill him in on all that had taken place up to the moment of his arrival.

Last night while watching part of the game in a Carlsbad, CA hotel room with my son, I unsuccessfully fought off falling asleep while he toyed with his laptop, relatively oblivious to the Tigers knotting the Series at one.

Baseball is just not what it used to be.

2 comments :

Tony Lombardi said...

It’s 9:54 PM and Bud Selig and his collection of knuckleheads are still trying to Game 4 in of the Series. What a joke! How sad really and are they selling out or what.

Today kids are in constant need of stimulation. Baseball doesn’t offer that so they lean on their laptops, their PlayStations, their ipods and their remote controls with picture in picture and hundreds of channels to choose from. MLB has alienated its future customer base with a slow moving watered down product that is as available as smut photos of Paris Hilton.

No wonder they want to go international.

Do they really have a choice?

Greed is killing baseball on many fronts. Too bad for the kids.

The World Series was once the Fall Classic. Now it’s headed for a classic fall.

Greg said...

I couldn't agree more. While driving to an appointment this morning I was listening to the sports update. Talking about the rain out I immediately started to think what you wrote and wondered "What happened?"

The losing of the Orioles isn't what kills my interest in them, it is the hopelessness that the organization exudes. We all know that as long as King Pete is exercising veto power over his supposed baseball men this team will never succeed.

And baseball as a whole is obviously screwed up as well. Not only are the WS all night games stupid in that it doesn't allow the kids to watch, but the whole way resources are distributed is also killing the league. How can they not look at the NFL model and realize that universal revenue and spending limits create a much more exciting product for the teams not in New York, Boston and LA?

I know, the players won't allow it. In that same update I heard Sheffield is mad that the Yankees exercised their $13 million option. I usually defend the salaries players make but please, he signed a contract to make in one year about 10 times what even fairly successful Americans will make in a lifetime. They are in the top 0.000001% of income earners in the world, they are kings in another era. SHUT UP AND PLAY! Anyway, back to the players and their union. If I could get into an owners meeting I would say this to them:

"Tell the players you are instituting revenue sharing and a cap that will be based on current spending on salaries and that will increase with revenue, to be fair. If they strike, fire them. JUST FIRE THEM! Bring up your triple A players, take the money in salaries saved and cut ticket and some concessions prices (cokes and hot dogs for kids) and make the game so cheap for a family it becomes a bargain. Instead of $100 for 4 people get it down to $40."

I will be back in a heart beat if the owners ever showed backbone. And I don't fault the players for getting every dime they can, the problem is the owners can't put together one set of balls between the bunch of them.

RANT OVER.