This post is for me to get something off my chest. We’ve all lost so much in the past year or so that I’ve gotten to the point where the hits just keep coming.
I’ve dreaded this day since 1973. Yes, I’m that old and older. I want to preface this by acknowledging those in power don’t give a damn how I feel. It’s because of my age they don’t care.
This is the loss of a bit of Americana. There was always a sense of Mom, baseball, and apple pie that lingered. Today, it’s more like egg donor, Facebook trolls, and Starbucks.
I’m talking about baseball here. Today, they proudly announced that the National League will adopt the Designated Hitter. (NL & DH for those who aren’t familiar. The American League (AL) adopted this abysmal rule in 1973. I was there. The last AL game I watched involved the Detroit Tigers playing someone. I remember watching it in my uncle’s basement in Utah with a cousin I haven’t seen in decades. I watched the World Series every year, even though some of those games played by AL rules. You can bet I was cheering for the NL.
I’m sure to draw some hateful comments on this post, and I don’t care. I have the right to feel the way I feel about this. I also control the delete button.
Those in favor always cite the boredom of watching pitchers try to hit, but they miss the point. It’s the Americana that matters. Heroes of old faced hardships that effected their lifetime stats. Those in the field risked ankles, knees, core, and shoulder injuries more than a DH who only leaves the dugout to take his swings. Ask a few old school second basemen about being taken out by the runner. (Also illegal now) Modern statistics cannot be the same.
Pitchers who bat face a similar situation. They risk similar injuries that influence their lifetime stats. This means the heroes of old might have spent time on the injured list and didn’t wrack up more strikeouts than could be possible today.
A guy named Rob Manfred is the current Commissioner of Baseball. The difference between he and those who came before is that Manfred seems to hate baseball. He’s been harping about the games taking too long, and how to make them more exciting. Those of us who loved baseball enjoyed the pace and form the way it was. These changes seem to be designed to retire the old fans and bring in a new generation with something designed for them. But it’s not baseball.
It smacks of showing those who love baseball the door, then trying to get new people to like baseball that don’t actually like baseball. You’re just not going to turn them into fans.
Manfred brought us such abysmal decisions as putting a runner on base in extra innings to speed things up. He’s been saying the fans want home runs, and apparently, nothing but home runs.
Some of us enjoyed pitcher’s duels, stolen bases, and double switches. The managers have already been virtually replaced by an app. It’s all about exit velocity, launch angles, and such. No need for a human to make substitutions during the game. Let the computer decide. I’m sure someday soon we won’t even need players. An algorithm can calculate the winner of the game and send the report to the the newsroom.
It became harder to be a baseball fan when it all went behind a paywall. Unless you were the Yankees or Red Sox, your games didn’t get televised. I’ve been known to spend over $400 per year so I could watch the games. They have absurd blackout rules even for the one Fox Sports channel I’m allowed. This applies to the opponent’s ballparks, too. If a Western team travels to pay the Mets in New York, it’s blacked out locally.
I remember when pro boxing was everything to my older relatives. We used to hold parties to watch these fights. Then it all went behind a paywall. Nobody pays any attention these days. Baseball is doing the same thing.
I live in Boise, Idaho. I’m about as far from an MLB ballpark as you can get, but everything from Denver to the West is blacked out in my area. They must think that I could get off work at 5:30 pm, then drive 800 miles to the ballpark and buy a ticket.
I’ve lived through some absurd rule changes, but this is enough for me. I’ve lived through strikes, sat at the casino bar to watch the World Series, and missed a few phone calls because a game was on. I even watched one series from a hotel room when I was working on the road. Skipped dinner for that one. Big Red Machines, We Are Family, the earthquake, and even the AL Rally Monkey are things from my memories. (Cheered for the Giants in that series.) I lived during the era of Superstations, when you could watch your NL team all year in the other ballparks. Even watched a few Expos games in French, because one of my teams was in town.
I’ve flirted with football, both NFL and College over the years, but it doesn’t have the same hold on me. I’m going to miss baseball, but will never watch another game.
Rob Manfred can put extra runners on in late innings, adopt a seven inning mercy rule, bring out the aluminum bats, hell he can put a Luchadore wrestler between first and second as an obstacle for all I care. He’s interested in making the game exciting.
Back in 1922 the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion that rendered Major League Baseball as the only legal monopoly in the United States. There’s a lot more to it, but this tantrum has gotten long enough as it is.
My point about the antitrust decision is that it was for a game that no longer exists. I really hope some slick lawyer picks up on that and represents a group that would like to play real baseball. It seems to me that MLB abandoned the game that was protected by the decision.
Rest In Peace, baseball. I enjoyed the sixty years we spent together.