Hey…what do you expect from a society that Dockingly waits 3.5 hours for a lameass, bar band version of “In the Midnight Hour”?!
That is the kind way of saying: American fans are boring. And players, too. Because we are. We rationalize it through our willingness to placate those who might react poorly. Those are the people who think the loudest a stadium should get is when the NOISE METER flashes on the Jumbotron. It’s not just the wine-and-cheese crowd, either. The sterilization of American baseball crosses boundaries socioeconomic, racial, age and sex alike.
And here’s the thing: It is an issue unique to America among baseball powerhouses. Japan, a country with a culture that values respect and deference, nevertheless fosters an environment with beating drums and constant chants and players acknowledging achievements with a hand signal or a greeting outside of the dugout. It is not quite as blatant as the D.R. It is evident still.
It’s unfortunate America won’t watch any of it, for the same reason America doesn’t watch the World Series: Baseball is a parochial sport. We love our teams more than we do the sport. And that’s fine. It’s a natural evolution. As football grew to supplant baseball as the nation’s obsession, baseball needed to find a new role, and it has: the summer outing, the local treasure, the safe option.
Were people to tune in, they’d see baseball can capture the dynamism of college basketball and football, our two sports that feel as much like a rock concert as they do a sporting event. Much has been made of the United States not having the same passion for baseball as the Dominican Republic or Japan. That’s rationalizing. And it’s not true. If conventions were different – if players and fans both weren’t boxed in to a preconceived set of emotions, reactions and morés – American baseball would be just like the rest of the world.
That’s the truth. And it would be the furthest thing from embarrassing.
Posted: March 17, 2013 at 08:52 AM | 52 comment(s)
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