Baseball Doesn't Need Saving: If fans question the game's integrity, they do it in a curious way. They keep going to games in record numbers and, based on offseason developments, they are prepared to do it again next season.
posted by justgary to baseball at 04:40 PM - 22 comments
Of course the thing nobody talks about regarding the steroid scandal is that it was the emergence of steroids in baseball that basically resurected the sport after the strike. All those old HR records falling. It saved baseball. The fans really don't care how the result is attained, its just that they get something new and exciting for their money.
posted by Atheist at 05:34 PM on December 28
The media latches onto steroids scandals, cheating, etc., but outside of the hardcore fans, the vast majority of people are willing to overlook it and live life blissfully apathetic as they sip their beer and enjoy the game. Simply put, most people just want to be entertained, regardless of what happens in the backstage.
posted by PublicUrinal at 05:57 PM on December 28
In what may be a first for SpoFi, I am in complete agreement with everything Atheist and PublicUrinal have written. If you'll excuse me, I need to lie down now.
posted by grum@work at 06:08 PM on December 28
I agree with all of the sentiments above. I know this is a pointless comment, but Baseball has taken a hit recently, so I felt it must be said.
posted by hawkguy at 06:30 PM on December 28
In what may be a first for SpoFi, I am in complete agreement with everything Atheist and PublicUrinal have written. If you'll excuse me, I need to lie down now. LO freakin' L!!!!! (That's for you, lbb)
posted by dyams at 07:07 PM on December 28
As far as the steroid problem in baseball, my opinion is ... so what. Nobody seems to care that the Babe was a womenizing alcoholic that used cocaine like just about every other person that partied all night long back then. I played baseball at the highest level and steroids were never a "big deal". Players knew it was available to anyone who wanted them. Many players used them throughout their careers. It isn't new information that steroids are in professional sports, it's just become socially unexceptable. I still love the game of baseball more than any other sport & will still pay to go and watch a game.
posted by JMarlowe33 at 07:51 PM on December 28
Yes, nobody cares-sad commentary for a Brave New World-please excuse me, if I don't feel a little sadness for this state of affairs and apathy.
posted by Nakeman at 08:06 PM on December 28
The recent scandals are why I don't watch MLB. I love baseball, THE SPORT, but have no interest in MLB, in part due to all this crap. When I do watch it, it's because it's my only choice if I want to see baseball. (Until such time as I can find a reliable video stream of Japanese baseball or baseball from anywhere OTHER than the bloody US.) As for just becoming socially unacceptable... For me it has ALWAYS been socially unacceptable. Cheating is cheating. I don't care how you do it. Fuck Selig and his "game". I shall continue living in the past thank you very much. Babe Ruth set the HR record on the performance enhancing drugs known as "Hot Dogs", "Beer" and "Women". Now those are performance enhancers I can get behind, and he hit more HR's than any other TEAM in the league.
posted by Drood at 12:03 AM on December 29
Yes, nobody cares-sad commentary for a Brave New World-please excuse me, if I don't feel a little sadness for this state of affairs and apathy. The article can't answer if people care about steroids. It does show that all the rhetoric about baseball dying, that baseball is in trouble and this time there 'is no ruth to save it', which I've read many times here, is nonsense. You can care about the steroid issue and still go to games. People have thought I've been unfair, but I still believe that it makes little sense to love baseball but wish that people didn't show up, that the stands were empty. Because that will kill baseball. And to see people who say they love baseball disappointed that the stands are still full reminds me of people who follow celebrities to watch them fail. I don't understand how someone who loves baseball isn't happy with the stands full of fans, regardless of baseball's problems. As far as fans who boycott baseball because of this, that's fine. It won't be the first time (the strike). I can respect that, though I find it amusing that they don't hold other sports (football, college football, cycling) that have major problems to the same standards. For some reason fans are rougher with baseball and long for a make believe past that never existed. But the good news, at least for me, is that there isn't enough of those fans to make a difference at this point.
posted by justgary at 01:37 AM on December 29
gary -You're entitled to your opinion and as far as there being no Babe Ruth-he's dead. People can argue all they want about the steroids issue, but regardless if the seats are overflowing, in my mind something has been lost. However, that can said about a lot of the of the fair play and integrity once taken for granted in this country.
posted by Nakeman at 09:45 AM on December 29
Is it now only an opinion that the Babe is dead?
posted by hawkguy at 10:18 AM on December 29
You're entitled to your opinion and as far as there being no Babe Ruth-he's dead. My opinion is simply that a present day babe ruth isn't needed to save baseball. It's impending demise has been greatly exaggerated. but regardless if the seats are overflowing, in my mind something has been lost. What has been lost by people filling the stands? And what does baseball gain with half empty stadiums? That's what I don't get. You love baseball, but hate that its popular.
posted by justgary at 10:43 AM on December 29
It's impending demise has been greatly exaggerated. I agree justgary. The thing I find curious is why did the Mitchell report change everything/anything for the purists of the game? For all those out there, have your eyes been closed? This is not a new idea. The use of steriods in baseball has been obvious for quite some time now. If the Mitchell report said: "No one in baseball is using steriods". Would you have believed it? Or would you have taken that report and proceeded to close your eyes for another 20+ years?
posted by BoKnows at 02:18 PM on December 29
What has been lost by people filling the stands? And what does baseball gain with half empty stadiums? That's what I don't get. You love baseball, but hate that its popular. I don't want the demise of baseball and if you can find anything that I've said about that demise in previous post, you will have to point them out to me. Nothing has been lost with fans filling the seats and it's good for baseball. I'm talking about baseball on an emotional level. Your father playing catch with his 8 year old son. Grown men crying their eyes out at the 2004 World Series win at Boston. Men acting like school kids receiving autographs from Mantle, Mays or Stan the Man. Baseball is above the other sports on an emotional level. Ask most men which sport they have the fondest memories, that they shared with their Father's. Ask grown men, who they emulated at young boys, who jerseys they wore and who achievement they tried to copy. For the younger children today these things still exist, however the older folks remember these joys without the controversy and the turmoil. And that's why, I feel something has been lost. Maybe I'm overly sentimental about baseball, but please try to understand, baseball is the most perfect game ever played in my view. It kept me out of trouble as a kid, kept me focused on other things besides my hoodlum friends and some of the fondest memories I have of my father (passed away) were baseball related. So, you ask me what has been lost. This is the best answer I'm able to convey to you or other contributors.
posted by Nakeman at 02:33 PM on December 29
You love baseball, but hate that its popular. I love music but hate Britney Spears. It's possible to love some aspects of the game and detest others. I don't think baseball is dying, but it will be some time before I feel like I did watching the '77 playoffs as a kid and the '91 Series as an adult.
posted by drumdance at 04:28 PM on December 29
So, you ask me what has been lost. This is the best answer I'm able to convey to you or other contributors. posted by Nakeman I can accept that. I thought you were lamenting the fact that baseball was still popular. I love music but hate Britney Spears. It's possible to love some aspects of the game and detest others. Either I don't get what you're saying, or your example doesn't make sense. I love baseball but hate roger clemens. That's similar. Comparing empty stands to hating one singer in the pop world isn't.
posted by justgary at 04:54 PM on December 29
"Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come". Therence Mann These words are far more eloquent than mine and just about sums up my feeling about baseball.
posted by Nakeman at 04:33 PM on December 30
I'm talking about baseball on an emotional level. Your father playing catch with his 8 year old son. Grown men crying their eyes out at the 2004 World Series win at Boston. Men acting like school kids receiving autographs from Mantle, Mays or Stan the Man. So, baseball has lost something important since 2004? That was a quick fall, indeed. I appreciate your eloquence, Nake, but what you're saying is intensely personal, and very subjective. Look at baseball today; steroids, recreational drugs, and performance-enhancing drugs have cast quite a shadow over the game, but all the stuff you mentioned still happens. Well, except for getting autographs from dead guys. Fathers still play catch with their sons, sometimes at the stadium before the game; I can tell you that I shed a tear at the Sox' championships in 2004 and 2007. Perhaps you feel like you've lost a little of the awe and innocence that you regarded baseball with. As a fan, I can sympathize, because it sucks to lose the simple happiness that a game can bring you. Baseball is above the other sports on an emotional level. Ask most men which sport they have the fondest memories, that they shared with their Father's. Ask grown men, who they emulated at young boys, who jerseys they wore and who achievement they tried to copy. Again, very personal, and very subjective. I grew up in South Florida, and I watched Dolphins football with my dad and grandpa. One of the earliest sports experiences I remember is watching during the perfect season of 1972, when I was only four or five years old. I didn't give a rodent's posterior about baseball until much later in life. So, while I may disagree with you regarding some aspects of your recollections, I know exactly where you're coming from. The powers that run organized sports at all levels know we'll always have the passion for the games, and they know that they can exploit us and take us for granted because of that passion. I guess what I'm trying to say, Nake, is that the games are still magic, and always will be. It's the people involved in them that usually fuck it up for the rest of us.
posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:10 AM on December 31
While I appreciate your input, I must invoke, my comments have nothing to do with 2004. It's an example what baseball has meant to me and others throughout the years. Subjective? I see nothing subjective about a son's love for his father wrapped in a memory of playing catch, going to Sportman's Park and cheering the Cardinal or being lifted on your father shoulder's in celebration of a game winning hit. All these memories are, and will be embedded in men hearts and minds from now until eternity. Perhaps you feel like you've lost a little of the awe and innocence that you regarded baseball with. As a fan, I can sympathize, because it sucks to lose the simple happiness that a game can bring you. I didn't lose awe and innocence of the game, because I remember, the young fans have lost what I already had. I feel sadness they are seeing their favorite players be accused of wrong doing (regardless of guilt or innocence) and with every scandal, baseball related or not, they become more cynical and jaded toward the institutions this country was built on.
posted by Nakeman at 11:45 AM on December 31
I didn't lose awe and innocence of the game, because I remember, the young fans have lost what I already had. Nakeman, I am also from Saint Louis, I grew up a Cardinals fan and my passion for the game matured during the "steroid" era. It's really the only baseball that I have ever known. Yes, baseball has changed from your generation to mine, but you seem very pessimistic about the games future influence on the young fans. How do you think fans of the 1919 Black Sox felt after that scandal? Baseball recovered, and it will again. See you at Busch.
posted by BoKnows at 02:47 PM on December 31
posted by Nakeman at 03:20 PM on December 31
Side note, but somewhat related to the discussion: My wife was watching "Family Ties" (season two, "Batter Up", the DVD set was an Xmas present for her), and the basic premise of the episode was that Alex was coaching his little sister's baseball team. Jennifer complained to their parents that Alex was being too hard on them. Alex: "What do you want me to do? I've already cut back on the steroids I give them." The live studio audience laughs a bit, and the scene continues. That episode was broadcast in 1983. Baseball and steroids and kids: good for laughs then...not so much now.
posted by grum@work at 06:26 PM on December 31
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