Baseball, the National Past Time

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San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants, April 5, 1983 (Steve Garvey’s first game as a Padre) – by David Prasad

It’s so sad how much baseball has disappeared from life in America. Its demise has been traced to the rise of college athletic scholarships and recruiting for the two main college sports – football and basketball. Within a generation, baseball vanished from the American street, and the American talent pool in baseball began to dwindle.

So American baseball teams turned to Latin America, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, setting up overseas recruitment offices to find new prospects or bid on talent owned by overseas teams. The players of today’s American teams are international and extremely talented. It’s amazing to see American players (there are still a few!) competing with these guys at the top.

The business of baseball is not slowing down, either. Major League Baseball teams are still the main icons of major American cities, and the international (foreign) players bring in huge audiences overseas. Baseball is raking in bigger bucks than ever at home, too, thanks to the move of game broadcasts to exclusive “premium” networks.

Of course, baseball was made for radio. The sound of the crowd paired with a great announcer had fans of many teams scoffing at the television version of the games back in the day. But ever since premium channels have emerged, the best announcers get put on the television broadcast, leaving radio listeners with one more reason to pony up for the premium.

The ticket prices are up too. As working class fans who spit tobacco, spilled sunflower seeds all over the place and got into fights got priced out of attending, baseball teams learned how to attract more well-healed fans with luxury sections that even get personal attention from the players themselves. A ballgame can now be enjoyed in the lap of luxury, with fancy food and high class service.

And check out the crowd at any game now. Almost everyone MUST HAVE a $150 official favorite player jersey and $26 official ballcap on. A new favorite player emerges on the team, fans want to be the first to have the new jersey with the new sensation’s name on the back. I have pictures of crowds at baseball games in the 1980s and everyone in the stands is just in regular street clothes, yelling obscenities onto the field.

But when was the last time you heard kids in a schoolyard, or anyone anywhere, arguing over which BASEBALL player is the most awesome?

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1 Comment

  1. It’s all about corporate. Exhibit A is the Mets not starting their ace, Matt Harvey tonight because wouldn’t want to overtax him.

    Reply

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