MLB Issues: A Second Mortgage To Go to the Ballgame Today?
Tickets, brews, and food cost the equivalent of your first born male child during the regular season, and both organizations stuck the needle in deeper for postseason play. The result of this plundering of the fan base? Most fervent fans were at best reduced to the nose bleed seats, other than those few with access to the privileged castes.
I guess those folk living behind the modern day equivalent of moats, with their houses cordoned off by gates and electronic surveillance, have taken the edge off these pooh-bahs of capitalism, since the enthusiasm from the lower box sections seemed somewhat muted.
Course, they could have just been freezing their rich little hineys off...but the fans in the upper decks continued to bellow out in support of their team.
The whole concept of the lower reaches of the stadium being the exclusive domain of the Richie Rich set is relatively new.
It’s not so long ago that your average schmoe could afford a good seat; my dad was a firefighter, and we’d go to a couple of games every season for the pertinent sport; Met’s, Yanks or Sox in baseball, Patsies, Giants, and Jets in football; Rangers and Bruins in hockey (dad was never much of a hoops fan, so no Celts or Knicks).
We always got good seats; first or third base line for a baseball game, whatever stadium we were at. Stocked up on hot dogs, sodas for the kids and brews for the adults and always kept score (so we could fill him in, just in case he missed something on his way back from the bathroom), and generally had a good time. On a fireman’s pay.
The continued pricing out of the average fan is, in part, due to these new stadiums, built with super duper special sky boxes so that the extremely rich patrons can pay the extremely rich owners to watch the extremely rich players...which adds zero, nada, none to the experience of the fan in the seats.
And, all of this is usually subsidized by you, the taxpayer. Who needs good schools, paved roads, and public transit that functions properly...we gots a new STADIUM.
I’m sorry to be an old curmudgeon, but at least in the case of the Yankees, the old house was better. Why?
History: You can move monument park, but Mantle's towering home run, DiMaggio’s outfield play, Gehrig’s most fortunate man in the world speech, and countless other moments, all occurred in the house that Ruth Built, not across the street.
No accommodations for crippled people: Back in the '20s, they told you to stay home or have a friend carry you if you were cripple. Tough attitude, eh? But the result were stadiums built on a much steeper pitch, resulting in excellent sight lines and moving the fan closer to the action.
Now, we have to sit back in tiered, low angle decks just to appease a couple of people in wheelchairs...geeze.
Trough urinals : At the old stadium, you never had to wait to pee, because you had a big old trough urinal which you could always elbow into. Now, with separate urinals, there are lines. Long ones. When you’re trying to watch a ballgame and keep score. It’s the revenge of the feminists, who have always been jealous of manly men’s ability to zip it, flip it, and be done with it.
Cheepie home runs : The new stadium gives 'em up like a drunk cheerleader after the victory party bonfire. Nuff said.
No beer after the seventh inning : Who thought of this? Mothers Against Drunk Driving? It’s bad enough that mother’s are still nagging at you to change your habits well into adulthood...now they have to BAND together and form a group to collectively kvetch and moan, and dictate that you can’t drink any beer after the seventh inning?
What's next, a group dedicated to making sure you wear clean underwear, just in case you get in a car accident? Personally, I’m in DAMM, Drunks Against Mad Mothers, and wish they would leave us alone and let us drink beer. Right up until the end of the game. Like it used to be in the old days.
Stupidly high prices: Everything from beer to hot dogs to parking has to be sky high so the captains of industry that buy box seats en mass and then don’t use them (since they are all friggin’ workaholics) can have the amenities there candy asses have grown used to. Bleech. Bring back the old days, and grab me a beer and a dog and some Cracker Jacks. Sushi at a baseball game...pleaaase.
Down in Philadelphia : The new park is, on the other hand, a marked improvement over the Vet, which it replaced, other than the sky high pricing. Of course, both house the famous Philadelphia sports fans renowned throughout the civilized world as tasteful, knowledgeable, and always ready to help out his or her fellow man.
The Vet, which replaced venerated Shibe Park the site of the '50 series, epitomized the essence of the '60s and '70s multi-purpose stadium, a.k.a.”baseball in the round.” Dropped onto our cities like giant turds from space, straight out of the Joseph Stalin School of architecture, the multi-purpose stadiums, while a pitchers dream, had all the charm of Ossining Correctional Center.
Many a Met and Jet fan has not so fond memories of Shea, one of the original all purpose houses of pain, with screaming planes overhead, sight lines that needed binoculars, and a wind tunnel effect that was especially atrocious in the fall, blowing around poor Joe Willies passes like errant leaves from a tree.
Out West, The Giant and Niner fans got to experience the meat locker atmosphere of Candlestick, while Pittsburgh, Cincy, St. Louis, and the heinous Astrodome in Houston also contributed to reduced batting averages for a couple of decades.
But even in the new house they still can’t design the bathrooms so we don’t have to wait, charge too much for everything, stop selling beer way too early, and have stupid ass sky boxes for the so called rich and famous to preen and strut over the little people. I’m thinking that firemen like my dad aren’t taking their kids to the game and getting boxes along the baselines anymore.
Which is another reason, along with late start times, that the game is fading amongst the youth. Too much money for the average guy, too little interest in Joe average fan.
Take me out to the ballgame should be a request, not a lament.
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