I always thought there was no better place to be than the ballpark. Any Major League Ballpark would suffice, but I have a special affinity for the Ballpark in Arlington. I never loved the name, but I love the design. I love the smell and the sound. Cold beer. Hot dogs. Then a few years ago we went to the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, TX to watch the Frisco Rough Riders. I immediately fell in love with the smaller venue of the Minor League park.
Minor League ball, when done right, is everything you should love about baseball on a smaller scale. Fewer seats let you be closer to the action. Lower concession prices let you enjoy the full ballpark experience without breaking the bank. Great deals on ticket packages will help you build a relationship with the team in a personal way.
If you’ve never been, and you can get to Frisco in the Spring, you should go. If you’re local to North Dallas, you should really look at getting a ticket package. They’ve got an all you can eat section, the Teddy Express Section, where your ticket price includes unlimited burgers, dogs, brats, chips and sodas. Getting eight or thirteen games with burgers, dogs and sodas really makes it special.
Now that we’ve made a habit of going to the Rough Riders throughout the Spring and Summer, we don’t go to Arlington anymore. I don’t love the Ballpark in Arlington any less, but I love the Dr. Pepper Ballpark so much more.
It’s been almost thirty years since MTV started shrinking my attention span with three minute bursts of entertainment. The progression of technology since has made entertainment more readily available and more personal. If we’re measuring from the end of World War II, then it starts as a slow progression, but thanks to Moore’s Law (look it up), technology has advanced at an increasing rate which enables me to get to my point before I lose interest.
Here’s how it went:
1945 – Radio – baseball was edge-of-your-seat exciting.
1955 – TV – 3 Channels. You’d watch a monkey washing a cat. You’d damn sure watch baseball.
1965 – Still just 3 Channels. Your choices were watch Vietnam or watch baseball. In two years you could add Star Trek to the list.
1975- 5 TV channels – baseball was still slow and no one noticed. We even sometimes listened to games on the radio for the nostalgia, and so we wouldn’t have to see Rollie Fingers’ mustache.
1985 – Cable TV – more channels. Should we watch baseball or 540 music videos. Tough choice, steroid abuse made baseball a little more appealing, which made the choice easier.
1995 – Internet – Baseball or porn? Why not both. You may not know this, but the history of the Internet dates back to the 1960’s. Formal Internet Protocols were established in 1982. Chances are, you first experienced it in the mid to late 1990’s. Then checking your email or chatting via AOL were such novelties that they interrupted most of your life.
2003 – MySpace. Birth of social networking. More distraction.
2006 – Facebook. Ever growing need to know what your third cousin ate for lunch. Baseball seems kind of boring in contrast
2007 – iPhone. OMG! Social networking in my pocket. The whole Internet to look at while Jeter fouls twenty consecutive pitches.
2010 – iPad / Android phones / Android tablets. I’m streaming the exciting parts of the game real time thanks to my nifty MLB app. There’s no need to spend three hours (or four if it’s on FOX, thanks to the three minute commercial breaks) if I can watch it in three minutes. Besides I’m playing Words with Friends, checking email, updating Twitter, and watching a monkey wash a cat on YouTube. Who cares what’s happening on the TV.
This a short one. It’s the story of how for one shining moment steroids made baseball burn brighter than ever. Then with the help of a Red Sox shareholder and the U.S. Congress, the fire burned out.
In my early adulthood, baseball suddenly became awesome. Thanks to performance enhancing drugs, records were falling almost weekly. Players stopped looking like Babe Ruth and started looking like Mark McGwire. They had biceps the size of a normal man’s thighs.These guys were titans, willing to abuse their bodies for the sake of competition. Their testicles shrank, their tempers flared, and they were hitting home runs out of the park nightly.
This is when I discovered baseball, and it was incredible. Then George Mitchell, Senator from Maine and shareholder in the Boston Red Sox, set out to prove that there was a doping problem. Shockingly, no Red Sox got outed, but the bastard did out Yankees greats Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. Then the U.S. Congress got involved. Never mind MLB isn’t a department of the Federal Government. It’s not even a Federally regulated industry. Congressmen just wanted to meet the stars of baseball.
After that, steroids went away. Players went back to being normal sized athletes, and the game got boring again. Doping, no doubt, still goes on. I’m sure A-Rod is using HGH or some such thing. Whatever they’re using, it makes them muscular, but worthless. So here I sit watching the Rangers and the Cardinals in the World Series, dreaming of the cornfield in Iowa that will one day be home to the freaks of the ’90’s.
Most years I spend October watching my beloved New York Yankees in the World Series. When they’re not in the Series, I spend the month hating baseball. From the depth of my disappointment, I will now begin a best-in-seven-short-blog-series on the things that have ruined baseball. If it takes seven blog posts to get this out of my system, so be it. If I can kill it four, then all the better for my four loyal readers.
This is the story of how Al Qeada ruined baseball.
Other hand genius.
After the attacks of September 11, the Commissioner suspended games until Sept.16. The Yankees had their first post 9/11 home game on Sept 25. At the seventh inning stretch, instead of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, an Irish Tenor sang “God Bless America”.
Okay, that was patriotic and sentimental. I’m glad we got that out of our systems. But it wasn’t a one-time happening. This became a new tradition for the Yankees. Then the tradition spread to almost all of Major League Baseball. Yankee Stadium even put in place a “no moving” rule during the singing of “God Bless America”. A guy sued them in 2009 because he was forced by security to leave the game because he left his seat. It’s the stretch!!! This is when you’re supposed to get up!
Wait. It get’s worse. Fans and players alike remove their caps and face the flag, hands on hearts. This is not the national anthem! It’s an Irving Berlin show tune. Sometimes it’s not even a person singing. It’s a scratchy old Kate Smith record. No one should have to stand solemnly in place, and face the flag and salute for a scratchy recording of a show tune. We don’t genuflect for “Ya Got Trouble” from The Music Man. We don’t lower our heads in prayer for “Maria” from West Side Story.