The new Yankee Stadium is a state of the art venue for Major League Baseball. It has ultra wide concourses, ample (if not inexpensive parking), a high definition video scoreboard, and even an app you can download to place orders and have it delivered to your seats. Regretfully, it also has a state of the art sound system.
It occurred to me last night that there was not even one moment of silence during the three hour game with only one exception – as a pitch was delivered. “Clap” music (or I should say electronic music), walk up songs, trivia quizzes, players reading jokes between innings, video highlights from years gone by that we’ve all seen ten times, rock music (ain’t got no quarrel ’bout that ……better than Mitch Miller) blasted between innings, and occasionally some useful information like who the new pitcher is.
It’s endless and there’s no let up.My brother and I both have good hearing but we often found ourselves saying “What’s that?” to each other. Never mind trying to have a conversation with someone just two seats away…….
It’s almost like they’re telling us……..”If our team and this game can’t entertain you, then I guess we’ll have to”………
“More than a century has passed since Jack Norworth wrote “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” in 15 minutes on a scrap of paper during a train ride to Manhattan, and Albert Von Tilzer composed the music. Dodger organist Nancy Bea Hefley has played the song at every home game for 27 years and still hasn’t tired of it. “It doesn’t bother me,” says the 78-year-old, who makes $42,000 a year while the players she serenades make upward of $20 million.” (Hollywood Reporter 2014) We’ve come a long way from organs and sing a longs during the seventh inning stretch …………
The thing is this. Baseball is a pastoral game. Much to the chagrin of some fans, it is played at a leisurely pace. Not every moment is heart stopping as in a sport like football. During a game, there are built in lulls where you and a date, your wife or kids can chat and munch on some peanuts or use the restrooms. In essence, it is a quiet sport……..quiet time……..something that our culture is gradually losing. You can’t even go to a catholic mass these days without being “entertained” by songs. Supermarkets, malls, elevators, and even public bathrooms all come equipped with built in noise.
Look, those of you who follow this blog know that I am not one of those baseball traditionalists who fight against all change. And this doesn’t even have anything to do with the game per se. Rather, it’s about something that is being thrust upon us by the marketing suits who don’t even believe that we are capable of entertaining ourselves and those around us………so they have to do it for us.
I paid $300 for two seats last night to see a ballgame and two of the best pitchers in baseball (Verlander and Tanaka), a truly amazing catch by Jacoby Ellsbury in left center, a future hall of Famer (Miguel Cabrera), three fruitless at bats by Alex Rodriguez, and a decent sausage and peppers sandwich.
Isn’t that all that’s needed?