“War, good God, what is it good for? Absolutely nuthin! Say it again…”
Now, that’s a well-known song from awhile ago. Given all the complaints I am hearing and reading, and the analyses, that very refrain could apply to the great (or once) national past time, baseball. Instead of singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch, you leave early so you can avoid the traffic jam, and frankly you were bored anyway, the game takes so freakin long! Oh, and don’t forget everything is too expensive, from tickets to parking to beer, the balls are juiced, the Umps miss too many calls, the whole thing is just one big dumpster fire. And the players are way over paid!
Wait a second. Wait, hold on:
I took my 7 year old niece last Sunday, a nice day game at the park. She loved it. She was going on and on about how some of the batters were tricked by the pitcher, how the short stop was so good at scooping up the ball, she giggled about the music when players came up to the plate, the peanuts were crunchy, she got a chocolate malt, we did a little browsing in a store (she did insist on a pink baseball cap, fine). And, she is still talking about it a week later. In fact, she wants to go back. She also wants to play more baseball.
Don, one of my buddies, took his adult son to a game last night. This is what got me thinking… He said the game was good, but what he mentioned the most is how nice it was to have time to hang out with his kid (who is 28), talk, compare notes, laugh, reminisce, and catch up on a bunch of stuff.
Then there’s Renee’s dad. I work with Renee. He’s retired military. All things considered, at 90, he is ok but walking is not as proficient as it used to be, or for that matter seeing. They feted him before the start of the third inning. He was the Military Veteran of the Game. This is a month ago. It was awesome by all accounts.
So, put aside the excitement of walk-off home runs, the advent of so many really good young players, at the same time veterans are impressing (such as on the mound, like Justin Verlander). The ball park is a unique, even incomparable setting.
Yes, there is always room for improvement. And there is a lot of thought going into trying to keep baseball popular, let alone relevant. Trying to keep baseball fan friendly. Trying to keep attendance up at a time when clearly some franchises are struggling to fill their stadiums. Baseball does have growing pains. Don’t we all?
But, if you think baseball is not worth it, is riddled with deficiencies, and boooorrrrrrriiinnnnggggg…. Ok. I just ask that we go to one game together. Let me have a chance to show you why I have a tear in my heart, both when I walk into the park, and when I walk out. Upon reflection you may sing a different tune. Just let me take you there, all kidding aside. I want to try to get you to see what I see, or feel what I feel, or you know, just let’s go! I am telling you there is beauty. I promise!