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?
Posted: March 25, 2013 at 08:23 AM | 37 comment(s)
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