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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

TSL: Roland Martin tries to rekindle his love affair with baseball

Speak, Brother! I hate you Donnie Baseball!

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.

Repoz Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:27 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:51 AM (#4401861)
Mattingly didn't mention that his house was made out of baseballs.
   2. John Northey Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:51 AM (#4401862)
Yeah, because football players are sooo accessible to fans - can any fan even get close to a football player pre or post game? In MLB you can go down to field level pre-game and be within a few feet of any ballplayer. Even stars will chat it up with fans from the field between plays at times - when have you seen that at an NBA or NFL game? And stuff about labour issues? When it has been nearly 20 years since the last strike or lockout?

This person seems to have just lost interest in MLB like I lost interest in the NHL years ago. The NHL lost me when a full season plus was lost - not so much that I was mad or anything but it just got me out of the habit and I noticed I really didn't care that much about it. That is probably what happened here. Sports are not a necessity of life - especially watching them - and I think the writer needs to see that there is nothing wrong with not wanting to go to MLB games anymore.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:56 AM (#4401868)
   4. Mayor Blomberg Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4401923)
dude wants to rekindle his love affair with baseball so he goes on a date with the Astros?
   5. Steve Treder Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4401964)
It seems that every issue he raises has utterly nothing to do with, you know, the actual playing of the sport.
   6. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4402010)
Does this mean he's gonna quit fishin'?
   7. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4402013)
Don Mattingly made someone QUIT liking baseball?
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4402021)
Each time I see the name Roland Martin I think, "Is that the guy from Laugh-In?"

   9. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4402023)
Does this mean he's gonna quit fishin'?

Well, he's already quit CNN. (Or CNN quit him, I can't recall.)
   10. zonk Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4402025)
dude wants to rekindle his love affair with baseball so he goes on a date with the Astros?


I suppose dating the homeless loser might beat dating an abusive team like the marlins....
   11. Walt Davis Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:08 PM (#4402342)
can any fan even get close to a football player pre or post game?

I'd never thought of it before but look at the differences between baseball spring training and football training camp. I know the football camps have fan days and things but baseball spring training is practically nothing more than a month-long meet-and-greet.
   12. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4402389)
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.

Isn't that just as true if you replace baseball with football or basketball?
   13. Pirate Joe Posted: April 02, 2013 at 08:38 PM (#4402554)
I'd never thought of it before but look at the differences between baseball spring training and football training camp. I know the football camps have fan days and things but baseball spring training is practically nothing more than a month-long meet-and-greet.



For some football teams that's not really any different. For instance if you go to Steelers training camp there will be thousands of people there on any given day. When the players walk from the practice fields to the locker room after practice there are hundreds of fans lining the walkway. Players stop all the time and sign autographs and interact with the fans. Other guys will tell fans if they stick around until after they have a chance to take a shower they will come sign autographs outside the locker room as well.

I know it doesn't work that way with all teams, but the Steelers are certainly not unique in that regard either.

   14. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: April 03, 2013 at 01:13 AM (#4402851)
Yeah, because football players are sooo accessible to fans - can any fan even get close to a football player pre or post game?


Actually, the coolest player-fan interaction I ever saw occurred at Soldier Field. Randy Moss came out with a football prior to the game and randomly started playing catch with a fan in the front row to warm himself up. The guy wasn't more than 5 or 6 rows in front of me and there he was, out of the blue, throwing the football back and forth with a fully uniformed Moss. It was pretty awesome.
   15. Select Storage Device Posted: April 03, 2013 at 01:18 AM (#4402856)
I suppose dating the homeless loser might beat dating an abusive team like the marlins....


So then what the hell beats following the Astros?

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