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Monday, March 25, 2013

Moss: Has baseball lost its magic?

Even dullard Arnold Moss can’t believe what he just ####### read!

kl

You know what I’m talking about: the old, romantic idea that baseball should be played for the love of the game; that it’s America’s pastime; all of that idealistic, cheesy stuff. Call me cynical, but I just don’t see that in the game anymore. And the only way for me to not dismiss it altogether is to watch movies about baseball.

Because in films like “Field of Dreams,” “The Natural” and even “Major League,” baseball isn’t just a game, it’s the innocence of childhood, the stuff of boyhood dreams, nostalgic escapism at its best.

But it’s all been tarnished. And for me, like many other fans, it happened during the 1994-1995 Major League Baseball strike. The 232-day strike led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series, the first since 1904 and a total of approximately 940 games. And it was all over money.

After years of collecting baseball cards, reading books about it, arguing with friends about which team was better—the New York Yankees (I know, blasphemy for a Southern boy) or the Atlanta Braves—and attending Lookouts games at Engel Stadium, all the while playing the occasional game in the neighborhood, I walked away from it.

A lot of people did.

...But right now, baseball seems to be having an identity crisis. And there are questions to be answered.

Will baseball ever be great again? Has America moved on, embracing football as its new savior? How much blame should we put on the players, managers and owners? Have we, as fans, turned our backs on it when the game needs us the most? And more importantly, does any of this even matter?

Repoz Posted: March 25, 2013 at 09:23 AM | 37 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 25, 2013 at 09:35 AM (#4395689)
Someone's gotta have an identical quote or essay from 1900 (and 1920 and 1940 and 1960 and 1980).
   2. pthomas Posted: March 25, 2013 at 09:54 AM (#4395708)
2013 minus 1995 equals 18 freaking years ago. Give it up, dude.
   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 25, 2013 at 10:03 AM (#4395715)
Now now, it's unfair to criticize Moss. Baseball has clearly lost its magic and isn't very popular.

Bud Selig would do something about this but it takes a lot of time to count $6 billion in revenue every year.
   4. Eric Ferguson Posted: March 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4395720)
And more importantly, does any of this even matter?


Well, no. It really doesn't.

But is this guy trying to make the case that football is somehow more innocent, less beholden to money, less riddled with steroids than baseball? This would seem to be an indefensible position.

Of course, I'm probably spending too much time thinking about what amounts to "Bart's People" journalism.

   5. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: March 25, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4395725)
#1 nails it. I rememebr this very same conversation being had in 1969 and 1976 and after the 1981 strike. Hell, there was a whole book written around it ("Don't Let Baseball Die.")
   6. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: March 25, 2013 at 10:18 AM (#4395730)
Let me see if I got this straight. The Author "gave up on baseball" 20 years ago- and we're supposed to listen to his current prognosis?
   7. bobm Posted: March 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4395733)
For This Fan, Baseball's Lost Its Magic .Commentary .
?Anchorage Daily News - Aug 18, 1982
   8. bobm Posted: March 25, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4395735)
Something's Changing About Baseball; The national pastime...
New York Times - Apr 5, 1959
It doesn't make a man think to the point of pain, but the fact is that baseball is losing some of its magic.
   9. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4395737)
Hooray! I love this site.
   10. bobm Posted: March 25, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4395755)
Peter Morris recounts the protest against money and professionalism in baseball in the 1860s in his book But Didn't We Have Fun?: An Informal History of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843-1870.


   11. DL from MN Posted: March 25, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4395759)
Michael Cuddyer would disagree
   12. Chris Fluit Posted: March 25, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4395776)
Peter Morris recounts the protest against money and professionalism in baseball in the 1860s in his book But Didn't We Have Fun?: An Informal History of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843-1870.


That's a fun book. (I'm also friends with one of the contributors so I'm a little biased).
   13. Chris Fluit Posted: March 25, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4395779)
the old, romantic idea that baseball should be played for the love of the game; that it’s America’s pastime;

You could always watch the World Baseball Classic for proof of the former, though that might run counter to any ideas about the latter.
   14. Moeball Posted: March 25, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4395784)
For those who also are interested about both the on-field and off the field experiences of the early days of the game economically and otherwise, I would recommend reading either of the two biographies I have seen about John Montgomery Ward, since his career encompassed about everything you could think of:

-being a star pitcher
-dealing with arm injuries
-switching to shortstop as a result of the injuries
-dealing with insane egomaniacal owners
-being a labor organizer
-being an attorney and essentially one of the early player "agents"
-being on the ownership/management side of things and having to deal with players

He walked in the shoes of pretty much every viewpoint you could think during the early days of the game. It's fascinating reading in my opinion.
   15. Moeball Posted: March 25, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4395786)
For those who also are interested about both the on-field and off the field experiences of the early days of the game economically and otherwise, I would recommend reading either of the two biographies I have seen about John Montgomery Ward, since his career encompassed about everything you could think of:

-being a star pitcher
-dealing with arm injuries
-switching to shortstop as a result of the injuries
-dealing with insane egomaniacal owners
-being a labor organizer
-being an attorney and essentially one of the early player "agents"
-being on the ownership/management side of things and having to deal with players

He walked in the shoes of pretty much every viewpoint you could think during the early days of the game. It's fascinating reading in my opinion.
   16. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: March 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4395831)
Everybody knows baseball lost its magic the year I discovered girls.
   17. madvillain Posted: March 25, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4395928)
The strike hit my fandom when I was 12 years old and my boyhood hero Frank Thomas, having one of the 20 greatest offensive seasons of all time, didn't get to finish what he started. That didn't kill me off. It was 18 freaking years ago. Time heals all wounds and all that.

   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 25, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4395940)

Everybody knows baseball lost its magic the year I discovered girls.


That was actually the good thing about the strike, it happened my junior year of high school, so the ensuing years were going to spent focused on boobs, not baseball anyway. Better to just check out for a few seasons.
   19. BDC Posted: March 25, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4395967)
I do know some people who were very much into baseball in the 80s and 90s, lost interest after the '94-'95 strike, and never regained it.

Of course, as several here have pointed out, they're not writing columns about baseball in 2013. They got out and stayed out.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: March 25, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4396032)
so the ensuing years were going to spent focused on boobs, not baseball anyway.

With John Kruk, you coulda had both.

I do know some people who were very much into baseball in the 80s and 90s, lost interest after the '94-'95 strike, and never regained it.

No doubt although obviously people give up baseball all the time for all sorts of reasons. Probably more left in the wake of the 94-95 strike than in any other year but it was obviously only a small part of the audience anyway.

12-year-olds aside, anybody who lost their baseball innocence in the 94 strike wasn't paying attention. I will grant you I still find it hard to believe the owners were committed enough to stupidity to require cancellation of the series but there ya go.
   21. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: March 25, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4396051)
For those who also are interested about both the on-field and off the field experiences of the early days of the game economically and otherwise, I would recommend reading either of the two biographies I have seen about John Montgomery Ward


Not sure what the other one is, but A Clever Base-Ballist is a hell of a book.
   22. Ron J2 Posted: March 25, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4396055)
I will grant you I still find it hard to believe the owners were committed enough to stupidity to require cancellation of the series but there ya go.


One thing that's always fascinated me about that disaster is what MLB's lawyers were actually saying to ownership.

I don't recall hearing about them firing their lawyers -- which is what I'd expect if their actions were in line with the legal advice they were getting.
   23. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 25, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4396059)
Clever Base-Ballist is the one I've read, too.
   24. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: March 25, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4396096)
Everybody knows baseball lost its magic the year I discovered girls.

You're thinking of MAD Magazine, not baseball.
   25. BDC Posted: March 25, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4396113)
12-year-olds aside, anybody who lost their baseball innocence in the 94 strike wasn't paying attention

I've never fully appreciated how awesome it was for Jim Bouton to publish Ball Four when I was eleven. It was as if I caught up with the adult world at the same time it caught up with itself.
   26. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 25, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4396150)
I've never fully appreciated how awesome it was for Jim Bouton to publish Ball Four when I was eleven. It was as if I caught up with the adult world at the same time it caught up with itself.


My god, you're ol-

Oh. Wait.

I was 10.

Never mind.
   27. bunyon Posted: March 25, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4396248)
The magic is gone from most things.

That's what happens when you grow up.


Baseball is one of the very few things where, every now and then, I watch it and can, for a fleeting moment, feel magic again. That moment is more and more fleeting every year, but it's still there. Moreover, it's still there for my 79 year old father.

I didn't RTFA but I hope there is something in the author's life that brings a little magic now and again. Otherwise, he's just another ####### cynic and, well, we can all do that well enough we don't need to pay someone to do it.
   28. John DiFool2 Posted: March 25, 2013 at 07:17 PM (#4396307)
Old Fart Baseball Writers : 94-95 strike :: Wingnuts : Benghazi
   29. zenbitz Posted: March 25, 2013 at 08:36 PM (#4396352)
Didn't it gain a Magic when he bought the Dodgers?
   30. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 25, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4396411)
Also, Christmas isn't what it was when I was 8 years old.
   31. McCoy Posted: March 25, 2013 at 11:05 PM (#4396455)
You're thinking of MAD Magazine, not baseball.

And yet Cracked.com is awesome.
   32. Eric Ferguson Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:49 AM (#4396483)
I'm just saying, I think Cadbury Creme Eggs used to be bigger.
   33. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 26, 2013 at 01:16 AM (#4396488)
You know what I’m talking about: the old, romantic idea that baseball should be played for the love of the game; that it’s America’s pastime; all of that idealistic, cheesy stuff. Call me cynical, but I just don’t see that in the game anymore. And the only way for me to not dismiss it altogether is to watch movies about baseball.


With this, it strikes me that Moss is wanting to use one of the editing/excising functions of film (getting rid of things he finds unpleasant) to excise facts about baseball he was ignorant of as a child. Certain movies return him to a faux innocence (it was ignorance, really; an absence of information). Adult baseball players always had to think about money. The owners of fields always had to think about paying the mortgage.

People can play for love of the game while also needing to get paid. Moss's feeling that that complexity is somehow painful suggests he has some growing up to do.
   34. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: March 26, 2013 at 07:04 AM (#4396513)
Has baseball lost its magic?


No - now #### off.
   35. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:24 AM (#4396562)
People can play for love of the game while also needing to get paid. Moss's feeling that that complexity is somehow painful suggests he has some growing up to do.


Particularly given that I've never met a writer who didn't enjoy both being read and being paid.
   36. Moeball Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4396683)
Clever Base-Ballist is the one I've read, too.


"Baseball's Radical for All Seasons" is the other one I've seen - it's good, but it's overpriced at Amazon right now. Wait for a paperback or your local library to get a copy.
   37. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4396707)
Also, Christmas isn't what it was when I was 8 years old.

Not to mention the Atlantic Ocean.

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