Well there I was up at bat, ready to make the play that would be the game winner. My teammates were all counting on me. I could feel the thrill, nervousness; and excitement pulsing through my core. I took my stance at plate. I was going to succeed. I was going to be like my hero Babe Ruth, and I was going to win this game. Like all men in their mid twenties who admire sports, we've all been in that situation, pretending to be someone we idolized. We've all felt that rush when we were up to bat late in the game of baseball with everything riding on it. What about today? Has the game lost its luster? Do the kids of this generation idolize players suspected of using banned performance enhancing supplements like "Swingin'" Sammy Sosa or Barry Bonds? Do people actually pay attention to a sport which is virtually dominated over us by other countries? Can it really stack up to the harder, faster, more dominate sports? Like my friends, I'm ashamed to admit baseball has lost its appeal. Major League Baseball is no longer America's past time.
Part of what has always made baseball appeal to Americans is statistics. Those statistics are in jeopardy because the fact is performance enhancing drugs are running rampant through the game and are inflating the statistics. Believe it or not, Major League Baseball has, and always will be a numbers game. Sports columnists, MLB players, and fans of the game are unwilling to embrace numbers that may have been influenced in anyway, primarily through the use of performance enhancing drugs. If we are unwilling to accept that players, like a Barry Bonds, hit all those homeruns the stats say he hit, then it takes the American people out of it. Myself and the other sports fans do not want to cheer on someone who has been suspected of cheating, or hasn’t earned anything. It causes us to lose the connection we had there. We idolize "clean" players and "clean" statistics. Statistics which are currently known to be unaffected by banned substances. The fans no longer wish to hear about who did what, but how they did it. We begin to focus on the negatives aspects happening in the game instead of the positives. It’s a distraction. Did Bonds cheat? Are his massive 700+ home runs legit? We may never be able to prove or disprove any of the statistics in questions. We may never know according to The Bleacher Report's weekly web blog, a site which follows drug use in baseball, and that, is a very tough pill for fans to swallow.
While Major League Baseball will always have an important place in the hearts of my friends and I, the reality is baseball lost its National appeal years ago. It can no longer stack up to the fact paced action of its sports competitors. Nor can baseball keep up with an American culture that continues to broaden when baseball itself does not. The needs and wants of American's continue to grow, but baseball hardly every makes any changes in attempt to do the same. Baseball has always been a game more suited to the radio since its longer games with fewer breaks fit perfectly. With a faster, less patient America, and commodities such as television and the internet, other sports, such as professional football, just sat better with newer American lifestyles. You could see the speed of the other sports, and it was exciting. It’s as if you were actually out there on the field yourself. Then you have countries like Japan, Korea, and Puerto Rico continually out duel us in a sport we as Americans invented. We have yet to win a World Baseball Classic, an event that takes place every few years placing twelve countries best against one another. When I asked five of my friends who love sports like I do what their favorite sport was when they were adolescents and what it is now, Baseball went from being most popular choice, to a backseat choice. The results were near unanimous at placing baseball behind the sports curve.
How much ball players draw in financially every year is something else the American public is having a difficult time grasping. The annual salary of a baseball player in the 1950's was between $10,000 and $25,000, which was nowhere close to the Doctor's of that time period. They made somewhere around $16,000 to $34,000 annually according to Wage History, an online financial site. Today the average Doctor makes $143,000 a year compared to a baseball players annual salary of $2,100,000. That’s a staggering difference in comparison. A baseball player makes nearly ten times as much as a person who saves lives for a living. The players just don't seem to grasp the love of the game no longer. The fans were shocked and angered at Los Angeles Dodger's star Duke Snider who admitted he played for the money and accolades. There is just no longer any compassion for the game, and what seems to be little to no camaraderie towards it, as Mr. Snider can attest to. The movie Baseketball summed it up best when it said, "There was a time in America when contests of athletic prowess were a metaphor for the nobility of man. Historic moments forged by the love of the game celebrated by the human potential to achieve excellence. But as time passed, something went awry. The ideal of sportsmanship began to take a backseat to excessive celebration. The athletes caring less about the executing the play, than planning the vulgar grandstanding that inevitably followed even the most pedestrian of accomplishments. The games themselves became subordinate to the quest for money. Stadiums and arenas became nothing more than giant billboards to promote commercial products. Players sold their services to the highest bidder. Soon it was commonplace for entire teams to change cities in search of greater profits. Especially when you consider there are teams like the Jazz moving to Utah where they didn't allow certain music, or the Oilers moving to Tennessee, from Houston, where there was no oil." The fans get taken back. What Baseketball was saying was, it was no longer about the game or the fans, it was all about the money!
Through rampant drug use, a financially different economy, and a socially changing, diverse America, baseball is changing. Even though that change is occurring, baseball will always be an iconic part of America's History. The days however, where it was a superior juggernaut to other sports, and when it was our great American pastime, have long been gone.
Thank you for reading my article, "The Perfect Game?". My name is Travis S. Windsor and I have been writing semi-professionally for several years. Obviously here I will just be representing my love for sports but I also enjoy writing poems and fan-fictions. I am a huge fan of comic books, zombies, and comedies among other topics. Sports wise, I am a fan of the New York Mets, New York Giants, and the Washington Capitals. I hope you stick around and continue to enjoy my blogs. They will each (I hope) bring a unique feel and different style to the page and will range from a variety of topics. Thank you again and have a pleasant afternoon!