18 July 2010

Baseball: Show or Game?

We went to the Reds game on Friday, and when we left our senses were numb. Sometime over the past 25 years baseball changed from a slow paced game in which the sounds were the crack of the bat and the cheering of the crowd to one of sound systems, jumbotrons and fireworks. I really don't think it is necessary to have fireworks every time the Reds score. And I think the kids enjoy the video in which you have to guess which dish of chili hides the baseball, but do we need a kiss-cam, dance-cam and a muscle cam? Are we all little kids, needing constant circus entertainment? Is not baseball an adult game?

a packed house

And then to top it all off Friday, they had MC Hammer there to put on an act. Now this is a guy who has absolutely no talent, and who sang the most pathetic interpretation of "Take me out to the ballgame", but when he sang his 3 hit songs after the game, he had all the middle aged mothers and their kids dancing in the aisles. What does a farmer from Indiana, in his plaid shirt think of this spectacle? Well, they seemed to be enjoying it too. Sometimes I don't feel like I am part of this society. I just could not relate. I just saw a bunch of lumpy Midwesterners trying to copy the dance moves of Hammer's dancers, and instead of enjoying it, I thought it felt like the end-times. The whole experience was too excessive. When I go to a ballgame, I want to sit with my son and watch the game, maybe keep score, and have some peanuts and a beer while son has that ice-cream in a cup with the wooden spoon.

If you could focus on the game, though, it was good. It was close, but the Reds won. Bronson Arroyo was excellent for seven or so innings, then the backup guy closed it. The Rockies put up a good fight, even having the bases loaded with no outs at one point in the 8th.

This would be better than the MC Hammer version, at least he has the tune right:


Anonymous said...

the problem is probably the same thing that seems to think it's a parenting crime to have a bored child. Plus, the people running the game know that in addition to trying to keep the attention of the kids in the crowd, they have to compete with ipods, blackberries, iphones, and any number of huge distractions the audience brought with them.

And I'm pretty sure it's the rare family that will take the few minutes between sides & innings to (gasp) talk to one another...

We've taken our daughter to several games - in Kansas City and in Cincy - and the chaos just gets to be too much. I miss the games that were more like a family picnic in the stands & a game on the field...

Dave said...

Mike - sounds like a good game at the ballpark despite the electro distractions. Hopefully not as hot as the last time! Not sure if you have seen any Single A ballgames in the Cincy area, but I suspect that some of their popular fan-interactive events has bled over to the Major Leagues.

MC Hammer was huge in 1990 with "Can't Touch This" and I think he worked with the Oakland A's organization in some capacity.

Radarman said...

This will not be a problem when - and if - regains its place as a national game. It's now up against recess-free school systems, the high status of basketball in cities, dusgusting little league culture, and middle-class flight to soccer. The ballparks have to attract audiences rather than fans. Good luck.

Zack said...

God forbid people are not bored, or have fun.

As a baseball purist, I figured you would know that they only have fireworks for 1) homeruns and 2) a victory, not for every run.

Its all passive entertainment. you arent forced to guess the chili, or look at the cam, or even sing TMOTTB.

Rough week?

5chw4r7z said...

I feel like I'm straddling my parents who do the score cards totally engrossed in the game and the kids dancing to McHammer.
Its a new world, just trying to keep up.

Jim Uber said...

Wrigley field is still pretty much the same, and they are successful with lousy teams (in a major market). Organ music instead of every player having their own song (which is the part I find annoying), and even the old manually operated scoreboard. No jumbotron.

tmongan said...

Ouch! I can see your point but c'mon it ain't that bad!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the masses. The games at GABP are great, there is not a bad seat in the house plus this year the Red's are great.

As for all of the electronic distractions...are you really that surprised? Its 2010, baseball moves at a snails pace and all of the distractions are in place to keep all of the 10-21 year olds happy when they are not looking at their smart phones.

The most recent game I went to was with my Dad and my brother and sister and it was great. We sat in the nose bleeds and a lot of fun.