What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
When we as a nation take a hard look at why we love certain sports, it comes down to down to some ugly facts. We as a nation identify with the characteristics in sports that we see in ourselves. If you don’t believe that look at the most popular sports in this country. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sniveling pansy who wrings his hands over what a violent culture we live in, rather I see that as the reason why we love the hyper-violence of Mixed Martial Arts and the National Football League. Even if you are one who doesn’t like NASCAR, we all have that “racetrack” fantasy while we are on the freeway. But it is that same introspection which forever cements baseball as America’s National Pastime.
Football can claim to be more popular now, but football can never be the cultural force baseball will always be. Name another sport which has lent so much of its lexicon to the American landscape. How many schoolboys considered a movie date to be successful if they got to second base? Failure in that endeavor is only one in which one could be said to have “struck out.” Even sporting rival football refers to a runner who from scrimmage can take the ball 80 yards to the end zone as a “home run threat.” This is exactly why people like Ken Burns and George F. Will wax nostalgic and touch themselves over the “integrity and purity of baseball.” I also get what gets them to gird their loins over “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke;” at the same time I understand most who identify themselves as baseball fans haven’t the foggiest notion of what that even means.
Let’s be honest. There’s a crushingly large number of Americans who are petulant, vulgar, competitive, comically superstitious, meat-heads, which is exactly why we identify with a sport filled with petulant, vulgar, competitive, comically superstitious, meat-headed players. This is why baseball is not just the national pasttime, it is the national mirror. There’s a reflection of all of us somewhere in the “local nine;” if there isn’t a guy amongst the 25 it takes to make a baseball roster in which we see ourselves, there’s at least one who has a character we wish we could emulate; maybe it’s the “crafty” veteran pitcher that uses wile and guile (and perhaps a little Vaseline and an emery board) to get by, perhaps it is the “gamer” utility infielder, or it might just be the “fiery, competitive manager” who tells off umpires like we all wish we could with our boss.
Let’s be even more honest, I’m the quintessential American in this sense. My love of baseball stems exactly from which I speak. If you are an American my age, you likely did the same thing I did as a kid, which was to spend hours pretending to be your favorite ball player churning out the storybook heroics. Rod Carew would be surprised to learn how many times he won a World Series for the Minnesota Twins by hitting a home run on some sandlot in southern California. I also understand that lines like “when I was a kid” are a cardinal sign of the old and curmudgeonly nature of the author, but when I was a kid, people looked forward to October and championship baseball, as it was the pinnacle of that sport which was all of us. It was unimaginable that anything could derail that; I can’t imagine the monstrous evil it would take to do that.
Enter Fox Sports.
Somehow, those monolithic ass-wipes at Fox have made post-season baseball unwatchable. Actually, replace the word “somehow” with “through sheer greed and complete avarice for the game” and you have the idea. My beef on this topic actually started back in 2004, when the Red Sox finally broke the “Curse of the Bambino?” As much of a sign of the apocalypse that was, it wasn’t the first that year. Do you remember when the ass-clowns at Fox convinced the ass-clowns at Major League Baseball to approve a plan to advertising for the movie Spider-Man 2 on the bases during interleague play? Thankfully, fan outrage killed the idea, but it should have served as a warning sign that anything was fair game in terms of making a buck.
I apologize in advance, but I don’t know any other way to do this without sailing into the waters of “gut-wrenching, sappy nostalgia.” After all, no nostalgic baseball-as-America column can do without mentioning the unique joy that is taking your kid to the ballpark for his or her first baseball game. But thanks to a absolute dearth of day games and the unholy alliance of Fox and MLB, most playoff baseball might as well be played on Mars. You can forget about watching it on television; most games worth watching don’t start until well after 8 p.m. Eastern time.
But let’s say you are one of the lucky ones who can get to Mars for a ball game. You’re likely to find yourself shivering in your seat until well after midnight, due not only to late starting times butto the extended between-inning time so that Fox can squeeze in more beer ads and promotions for Fox network programs, most of which a re shit anyway. Not too mention Fox loves to plant the pseudo-celebrities from said crap-fests in the stands for the “casual look-at-this-douchebag-who- you- are expected-to-believe-is-a-baseball-fan” cameo, which essentially reduces the real fans to backdrop material and extras who got to pay for the privilege. Meanwhile, the kids who buy all the posters, T-shirts, and trading cards get it all via SportsCenter the next morning. And then everybody wonders why the number of kids watching baseball is on the decline.