THE EMPEROR’S NEW BASEBALL UNIFORM

April 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

I want to conduct an experiment.


Let’s continue playing baseball games in large stadiums, with just a few amendments.


First and foremost: no extraneous noise. That’s right- no drums, no thumping, no techno or meringue music blaring at inopportune (or opportune) moments. No ground announcers spewing out useless drivel, no sexy music chosen by hitters as they come up to bat. 


Nothing. 


Just quiet. Stillness. Because let’s face it, most of the time that’s what we’re all witnessing on the field.


It’s remarkable how so many of us are conditioned to throw large amounts of our money away on what we’re told is ‘entertainment’. 


I’m not going to even pretend to be objective here. I understand that one person’s idea of fun could be someone else’s worst nightmare. Having said that, I will still propose that this game that so many in the US, Latin America and Japan seem to love may actually be something of a bore. 


Yesterday we drove out to the horrifying area that is Anaheim, California to watch the Angels play the Yankees. We were a trifle late, arriving sometime during the second inning. We plopped ourselves down in our cramped seats, put our oxygen masks on and attempted to find the field from the gaudy heights of section 518, all for the terrifically reasonable sum of thirty five clams per seat. Once settled in, a familiar feeling started to rise within me as I stared down at a field on which several men stood, lifeless, waiting for something to happen. It was all something akin to a quiet work day at a construction site- the only difference being these fellows were being paid gazillions to do their standing around. This feeling, as hard as I tried to ignore it, wouldn’t quit. Finally I had to accept its presence and attempt to understand its essence.


It wasn’t difficult. I was feeling embarassment. The kind of embarrassment one might feel six minutes into A Night At The Museum. It’s the shameful sense that this is all a little silly, and not in a fun way. I’m all for guilty pleasures but please, let that which is indeed guilty include the pleasure part as well. As I winced from the loud noises, the vastly overpriced, horrific food, the latent monosyllabic aggression that seemed to be oozing from the (mostly) men surrounding us, I sought in vain for the actual reason for enduring all of this. Surely there must be some kind of physical poetry occurring on the field before us, a pulsing, oscillating contest on display which would mitigate all the pollution being flung at me. 


Nope. Just a bunch of millionaires mostly standing around, with the occasional flurry of short-lived activity. Similar to watching squirrels in a tree. And I can do that at home, for free, in silence. 


The reason why so many bells and whistles need to be attached to these events is obvious: they’re not really that fun or exciting. Actually, they’re boring. So my initial proposal stands: take away the noise pollution, only serve health food, get rid of the glorifying narrative that attempts to turn overgrown children who hit and throw a ball into ‘warriors’ and ‘heroes’ and find out just how interesting the sport really is.


Imagine all that could be done with the money combined with the emotional and mental energy spent on this stuff. We could feed the hungry. Educate the ignorant. Replant the deserts.


Such change can’t happen all at once, but maybe we could consider channelling just a portion of all those resources elsewhere. Just a teeny bit to start with.


Because as of now, we’re getting scammed. Royally. And staying bloated and mute in the process. 



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