Someone in my office asininely stated today:
“How can you watch baseball? It’s so boring.”
I tried to explain to him that he was literally saying that relaxing in the sun, drinking cold beer, and watching sports was boring.
He retorted: “It wouldn’t be boring if it wasn’t baseball.”
This little exchange reveals a whole lot about the sad state of American culture. Baseball is supposed to be our game. It is the game that is passed down from fathers and mothers to children over years of time. Our education on the game is nurtured; certainly, lessons on the virtues of spiking an opposing catcher or middle infielder are saved until our children are of a mature age, while the lesson that baseball is a children’s game is constantly repeated from our first day at the yard. Through the 80’s this was the way it was, and anyone lucky enough to be born before 1990 knows the immense, if not mandatory, popularity of baseball.
This is no longer the case. The children of the yuppies, babysat by the TV since their post-1990 conceptions, can tell you all about Harry Potter and Pokemon, but have no idea what a balk is, have never followed a pennant race, have never played catch. These are the people who say that the game their fathers and mothers and older brothers and sisters love is boring. These are the people who don the hot-selling fashion caps, committing horrendously offensive baseball sins, like wearing a Dodgers cap in Giants colors, without thinking twice. And without retribution, too, because none of his peers are die-hard fans. There is simply no room for the obsessive fan in hip society; baseball is for golf-playing fogies, while LeBron and Terrell Owens continue to hold down center stage in the pop culture of sport.
This is not a trend: this is an epidemic. Baseball, the once proud champion of American sports, has been ushered to the fens, helped into retirement by steroid scandal, the All-Star game flub, and falling interest in playing the game. A caveat: baseball might not be the most popular sport, but to those who know the game, it will never be boring.