I’ve tried to remember why my passion for the game dissipated, and the only thing I could think of was reading a Sports Illustrated magazine piece that dealt with problems in baseball. I recall a Don Mattingly quote where he said all he wanted to do was come to the park, play and go home.
Forget the autographs. Forget the playing to the fans. It was all about him.
And with that - poof! - baseball lost me.
... So three years ago I tried to rekindle my love affair with baseball. After owning no Houston Astros gear, I bought a jersey. I lived in Chicago for six years and never went to Wrigley Field, and decided to go when the Astros were in town.
The crowd was hyped, lots of energy, but by the fifth inning I wanted to leave. The stadium music was the same as when I was a kid and it no longer excited me. I didn’t go to another game for another two years.
...In the past year I’ve met the new majority owner of the Houston Astros, Jim Crane; played golf with a minority owner, Shawn Taylor; and ramped up my Astros gear.
The team hasn’t been good for the last two years, but I’m recommitting myself. Maybe it’s because they have brought back the old colors from my childhood. Why else would I wear a bright orange jersey?!
Baseball could do a better job to energize the game by stealing some of the marketing pizzazz of the NBA and the NFL. Save for a handful of players, most baseball guys are not known figures across the county. You don’t see lots of national commercials led by baseball players.
The previous labor disputes haven’t helped. That only solidified anti-baseball feelings of many of us.
But my last point for baseball owners is to ensure the connection between the fans and the players. Don’t just retreat to the clubhouse. Make sure fans can touch them, feel them, relate to them.
Now that the baseball season has begun, I’m going to do my best in 2013 and not just rock my Houston Astros gear but recommit myself to the game. So just like a love of your life from years ago, I’ll slowly get to know baseball, see how we’ve both changed, and if the love rekindles, we’ll see if we can live happily ever after.
Posted: April 02, 2013 at 08:27 AM | 15 comment(s)
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