Monday, October 23, 2006

It's your own fault if there aren't enough good pitchers--you bought a sack of suds

"Now baseball itself seems quaint, largely because it's losing young fans.

Part of the reason for that: There are no World Series day games anymore. Even Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday World Series games are broadcast in prime time, starting at 8 p.m., and often ending close to midnight.

  • IT SEEMS SO QUAINT now. Kids used to sneak transistor radios into school to listen to World Series games.

    Notes were quietly passed from school desk to school desk with inning-by-inning score updates.

    Some played hooky to watch the afternoon games on TV.

    Others raced home from school as fast as they could to see the ends of games.

The modern World Series began in 1903. They didn't turn the lights on for a World Series game for the first time until 1949, when the ninth inning of Game 5 between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field continued into the twilight.
  • The first World Series game actually scheduled as a night game didn't come till Oct. 13, 1971, when the Baltimore Orioles met the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 4 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. That Orioles-Pirates game may have marked the beginning of the end for baseball as America's pastime.

Even the Super Bowl, as commercial as it has become with hours of flackery preceding it, starts early enough for most kids to see the outcome by bedtime.

Today, parents have to be irresponsible--and kids insomniacs--if the next generation of fans is to have the kind of childhood World Series memories crucial to passing a passion for the sport from generation to generation.

With Thursday night's dramatic St. Louis Cardinals win over the New York Mets ending at 11:45, how many East Coast 8- and 10-year-olds got to see Endy Chavez's miraculous catch or Yadier Molina's game-winning home run?

Everyone has to make money, including TV networks and baseball owners. That's a fact of life.

Major League Baseball is a business. So, too, are pro football and pro basketball and college sports. Even the "extreme sports" popular with today's kids are going corporate.

  • But even filtering out romanticism, smart businessmen don't sell out their next generation of customers."

From The Free Lance Star at Fredericksburg.com, 10/22/06

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