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Let the Diamond Shine

Dave Randall

Posted on March 31, 2018 23:50

1 user

As another season starts, it's time to remember why they call it the grand old game.

Whether it was in some dusty old tome, or on a cracked piece of parchment, it was once surmised that youth is wasted on the young. That becomes more apparent, the older I get.

We're all aware that whatever we enjoy, after a while, has to contort itself to a younger person's like, lest they become disinterested. Any advertiser or marketer will tell you obsolescence looms if you don't access your product to another generation's tastes. Older people are set in their ways, and won't change toothpaste brands, etc.

This is said to be the problem inherent to what used to be the national pastime. As the 2018 season starts, the suits at the MLB Commissioner's office seem driven to stop big league ball from ceding the stage to all that is virtual, online, and enamored of by kids. 

So, is it just a phase, or do children and young adults prefer faster-paced action? Anything but the pastoral, genteel ambiance of the ball park; the pace of a game unencumbered by a clock? Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred seems bent, bound and determined to implement some sort of rule change that would speed things up. My advice to the commissioner is this: Leave.The.Game.Alone.

I submit that any child introduced to baseball by his father and brothers, as I was, cannot help but grow obsessed with it. And not just by playing the game. The magic of baseball lasts far beyond the years of playing catch.

I first saw baseball on TV with my Grandfather, who was well past being able to rear back and fire one to his grandson. We bonded over watching it, talking about what we saw. One conversation we had was half a century ago, but I remember it, still.

We were listening to a Dodger post game show on the radio, with Vin Scully running down the scores of other games. Vin gave the outcome of the Tigers-Orioles game, and I said to Grandpop, "I wish I were in Detroit."

"No you don't," replied the retired Pullman porter. "It's too hot. Humid."

"Yeah," I said back. "But they're playing the second game of a double header, there, and our game is over."

Don't change baseball drastically, Mr. Commissioner. Don't be the NBA, where twenty-five years ago players started wearing bloomers. A three-point line makes scoreboards explode. Layer after layer of play-offs make us wonder why the regular season is played at all, and intentional fouls and time-outs make the final minutes mind-numbing. 

Don't be the NFL, which changes what a catch is on a yearly basis. Opposing coaches ice place-kickers with petty, last second calls for time. Baseball itself is not the problem. Let the players play, make the games accessible to all-on radio, TV and internet. Preach its history constantly, and get bats and balls into the kids' hands. That's all it takes for any generation, past or present, to love it, and hand that love down.

Dave Randall

Posted on March 31, 2018 23:50

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Source: ESPN
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