I do love baseball and I consider myself a Dodger fan but it’s become increasingly difficult to root, root, root for the home team. Yes, the World Series was exciting last year and there were moments that I thought we’d pull it out. It was the most emotionally fulfilled I had felt by the boys in blue in a long time. But truth be told, I’ve felt abandoned since Time Warner refused to let Direct TV air the games. Not allowing us access to Vin Scully’s last seasons was unconscionable.
Peanuts, Get Your Peanuts
At some point I must have signed up to receive emails from the Dodgers. As I cleaned out my Inbox this evening, I was drawn to an offer for tickets this weekend. Granted we are in 2nd to last place in the NL West playing the last place team in the division this Memorial Day Weekend, but what the hell. I thought a Sunday lunch of Dodger Dogs, beer and the crummy substitution for what used to be the delectable Carnation Chocolate Malt sounded delicious. The biggest boy is working, the middle guy is off to Magic Mountain, so a Sunday at the ballpark for the daddy, little guy and me sounded peaceful, nostalgic and comforting.
[Insert sound of screeching brakes here]. $1,550. For three tickets. To watch a shitty team play a shittier team.
Now I realize that I left the little box that says “best tickets available” checked but I am now offended and praying for a sink hole to open up under Chavez Ravine. Maybe you could have sold those rights to Direct TV even if it was less than your original asking price to offset costs. These prices are usury! I could almost understand it if you were recouping the cost of a new state of the art stadium but Dodger Stadium is the third oldest stadium in MLB (IMHO, it’s perfect). So how about cutting us a deal? How about making family fun family affordable?
Vin Scully called the very last NBC Game of the Week that aired October 9, 1989. At the close of the broadcast he had this to say: “It’s a passing of a great American tradition. It is sad. I really and truly feel that. It will leave a vast window, to use a Washington word, where people will not get Major League Baseball and I think that’s a tragedy.”
Putting MLB out of reach of the masses is a tragedy. I think maybe I’m done. Too rich for my blood. I’m not Major League, I’m bush league and proud of it.
So, this is a former Dodger fan wishing you a pleasant good evening, wherever you are.
The permission slip came home about 3 weeks ago. Sign here if you’d like your son considered for the All Star Team. THE 6 YEAR OLD ALL STAR TEAM!
We declined to return the form for two reasons. First and most importantly, our son doesn’t love baseball. He complains about having to go to practice. At first I used to drag him because “you’ve made a commitment to a team”. I stopped forcing him to go when he reminded me I didn’t even ask him if he wanted to play, I just signed him up. Well played, Son.
The second reason we didn’t sign and return is because this isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve played All-Star and Summer Ball. We’ve disrupted family plans, sweated our asses off in bumblefuck locales, and contended with heat stroke and repetitive injuries. And that was for a kid that LOVED the game. The kid that cried when he made his first All-Star Team (that league didn’t field a team until 10 years old) and we told him he couldn’t play because he had to go to Italy for a pre-planned family vacation. And I mean SOBBED. Because he had to go to ITALY.
Today I got a call from the little person’s coach. They’ve gotten lots of signups but not from kids that “should really be All-Stars”. The league “loves” our son. His words, not mine. Any chance he’ll play?
Poor Coach. There isn’t enough body armor in the world to protect him from the verbal onslaught that ensued. And I like this guy.
My points are as follows:
- Criteria for a “good” 6 year old is that he has the most basic of skills. He can throw to a target, catch a ball and make contact at bat. In reality, only about 15% of each roster has these skills. At this age, the divide between those that can and those that can’t is quite apparent. So yeah, it’s exciting as hell when something baseball-ish actually happens. Spoiler alert: those capabilities will even out over the next 2 years.
- It’s about to get hot. Africa hot. Small bodies are not well designed to regulate their core temperatures. Putting them in long double ply pants, suffocating polyester jerseys, oh and hats, out on a dusty field that radiates heat is probably not endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- They just played 3 months of baseball. That feels like a lifetime to a 6 year old. Extending the season is a recipe for burnout.
- It was mentioned that this is supposed to be a reward for the better players. Hey guys, that’s what the “game balls” were for. Let’s call it a season and move on to lounging by the pool.
- This is about parental bragging rights and nothing more.
The league offering the program and the parents participating are fueling our sports obsessed culture to the detriment of our children. I can find no redeeming quality to tacking on an All-Star tournament for this age group. Disagree with me? I’d love to hear you give me a good reason that isn’t really a cover for your ego.