The Problem With Baseball, Maybe America

Matthew JohnsContributor IOctober 23, 2008

Five minutes into last night's game and it had already been made clear how this World Series would play out.  As a sports fan sometimes you turn the other cheek, you want to believe it's as pure as it was when you were a child.  The days of watching ballgames with your father before you went to bed. 

For a league that prides itself so much on history it seems Major League Baseball just doesn't care about the general fans anymore.  There's only one thing that rules the sports landscape these days and that's the almighty dollar bill.  I know all sports are guilty to a degree, but it seems as though baseball has taken it to another level.

It's come to the point where when you turn on the TV and see the game starts at eight, you already take into account all the pregame festivities that'll push the start time back to an 8:37 first pitch.  Really Fox?

8:37 for the first pitch in a game that almost no one west of the Mississippi has a rooting interest in? Is that how you repay all the fans who shell out hundreds of dollars a season to root on their favorite teams?

After three innings we've already seen four commercials for the new Vince Vaughn movie that looks infinitely crappier then his last holiday bomb.  The sad thing is that as fans, we'vealmost become immune to it.  We know each game will be filled with plugs and promotions for this product or the newest "fuel efficient" car. 

Did it really surprise anyone when Joe Buck announced that all of America now gets a free taco courtesy of Taco Bell because a base was stolen?  That's what sports have come to.  Anything that can have a corporate name attached to it will. 

How much money did Taco Bell have to shell out to MLB and Fox to run that?  How much does Web MD pay to have a naked mannequin on screen to show us where Troy Percival's back hurts?  The fact is we've all been duped into believing that it's all about the game when it reality it almost never is. 

We're now accustomed to 40 minute pregame intros and 8 minute commercial breaks.  This hurts baseball more so then football or basketball because baseball in general is a slow game.  An eight minute commercial break during the Super Bowl is nothing, because when they get back to the action, everyone's flying around the field and trying to knock someone's teeth out.  The game of football is faster, so we can take those commercial breaks. 

Baseball isn't built for speed, it's slow in nature. As a nation, we've become fast-paced and that's what we want our sports to be.

MLB complains that the game needs to be sped up and things like instant replay will slow down the pace.  You know what else slows down the pace? Telling the pitcher he can't throw a pitch when he's ready because the network isn't back from commercial, or the 15 minute seventh inning stretch.

I miss the days where the seventh inning stretch consisted of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" and that was it.  I know we all have pride when it comes to being an American.  It's a privilege to wake up each morning and not have to worry about genocide or car bombs.  It seems now that God Bless America has become forced on every fan since September 11th. 

I get it, and it was a horrible day. Many people lost loved ones on 9/11. How would you truly feel if one of those lost was yours and every time you turned on a baseball game you were reminded of the very same thing you'vetried your hardest to forget.  A lot of people will say they do that in remembrance, I just say they do it cause their told to.

Sports is an outlet for a lot of people.  People who hate their jobs, people who can barely feed a family, or those who have no family at all.  It's our way of putting all the stuff we went through that day on the back burner and just enjoy something we love. As fans we deserve better.  All we've ever wanted to watch is a game.