I got a chance to watch Robert Redford star in "The Natural" the other day. Although I love baseball, this movie inspired in me a certain longing for the past, and for once, I wish I could have experienced major league baseball in the 1930s and 40s.
Today, sports coverage is a huge industry. While I no doubt enjoy being able to go to mlb.com and find up to the minute stats in a matter of seconds, I feel like there would be more excitement in having to wait until the next day to see who won each game, and who delivered the big hits.
Being from Buffalo, where we have no major league team, I appreciate baseball being broadcast on television. But imagine if you couldn't watch Alex Rodriguez or David Ortiz on Sportscenter every day. Imagine if all you knew about them was what you read in the papers. Can you even fathom how exciting it would be to go to a game when the Yankees or Red Sox were in town, so you could see those guys play for the first time?
One scene in the movie shows Hobbs surrounded by kids, signing autographs, giving advice. Above all else, I feel like this is what I would enjoy most about old time baseball. The players were heroes and role models for kids. Now, our offseason discussion is whether A-Rod will option out of his last three years with the Yankees because he's only making 24 million dollars instead of 30. Controversy arises when a retired slugger indicates other superstars as cheaters in order to stay relevant. We find out that the greatest pitcher of our generation was once involved with a 15 year old, and the all time homerun leader comes off as a stand off-ish arrogant guy.
Unfortunately, the past is past, and we can never return. I guess that's what makes Roy Hobbs and the New York Knights so enjoyable.