It has been a long time since I posted about America’s Game, although the art work at the top of my blog site is split between a court house and a baseball scene. COVID and the decline of the Red Sox both have been contributors to this hiatus. But as Major League baseball is cranking up for a full season notwithstanding the experience of football, basketball and hockey, thoughts turn to the diamond even though today it is covered with snow.
Television has taught us during COVID that sports can thrive at one level with cardboard fans sitting in the stands. And hopefully the pandemic curve will slowly allow the admission of live patrons. With this backdrop, I turn to the seemingly hapless Red Sox.
Quick summary: the organization is filthy rich and has ancillary businesses and seats are absurdly expensive and they have chosen to not spend money on players so as to build a farm system for the future, admitting between the lines they will not be competitive at a high level in 2021 (hmm: and with some of my loge seats at $160 each…) . While Billy Beane was able to build great teams at low cost, it ain’t easy. Seems to me the successful teams these days spend money: Dodgers, Yankees.
Fans view their team as a public trust, owners look to ROI. That makes fans feel like they are being used and exploited; at least it leads this fan to that conclusion.
I have shared with friends that my nostalgic view of baseball growing up was that the players lived in the neighborhood (Brooklyn), were middle class folks with a skill that was fun to watch; I would go to Ebbets Field for 25 cents and ten ice cream wrappers as the cost of admission, and I would go to the local park to play ball with my friends, carrying a wooden Louisville Slugger bat too heavy for me to swing, chewing gum like it was a tobacco chaw and looking forward to a YooHoo chocolate drink with my friends at the corner soda fountain after we ran around bases made out of parts of cardboard boxes.
Somehow, baseball as a Red Sox fan in the age of COVID doesn’t quite capture my love of the game. My only hope this year is that, when I turn on the TV, I will see in the Red Sox uniform at least a few people whose name I recognize.
And today– farewell to Andrew Benintendi– Andy, we hardly knew ye.