Why is it that I can listen to an endless loop of searing Bhopal Stiffs gunk…yet end up totally agreeing with Gerald Nachman?
I went to a baseball game the other night at AT&T Park between the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies. The Giants lost in the 10th inning by one run, but baseball, I realized along about the fifth inning, has lost much more: Part of its serene soul.
The noise between innings—and between batters—was excruciating, the music and visual hype cranked up to hysterical levels as the scoreboard exhorted fans throughout the game to ‘MAKE MORE NOISE!!!” A robot organist tried with pathetic insistence to energize the crowd. Meanwhile, the Jumbotron flashed so much endless and useless information on the confusing scoreboard (like watching a TV game at home on a screen littered with arcane stats) that it all but obscured the modest game below. It was hard to locate the one thing you wanted to keep track of—the balls, strikes, outs and who was at bat.
The fans obliged unconvincingly, having by now been trained like Pavlovian dogs to howl when a bell clangs, but the maniacal order to MAKE MORE NOISE!!! went largely unheeded; even the most exuberant fans have by now pretty much learned to ignore the incessantly raucous sound battering.
Indeed, some of the people around me were oblivious to not just the noise but to much of the game itself, babbling on cell phones half the time. One guy was talking to a friend in another part of the park, waving at him as they spoke, so thrilled at being able to communicate with a pal that he hardly seemed to notice the game even though he was paying the steep cost of $72 for a second row seat halfway up the third base line. We were seated in the row behind Giants owner Bill Neukom and president Larry Baer, busily taking bows and chatting to fans, totally unaware of the constant decibel barrage.