Why I Stopped Caring About Baseball » VSB

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Why I Stopped Caring About Baseball

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Growing up, I was fortunate enough to play several organized sports at varying levels from early youth through high school. I played soccer and basketball, ran both track and cross-country, gave football a short stint. In college I took badminton as one of my physical education requirements, and apparently my particular class was so good, our instructor thought about petitioning the school to institute a badminton team.

You do not want to see me on the badminton court, fam. My shuttlecock game is vicious. There are so many potential puns, entendres and innuendos in that last sentence that both Merriam and Webster should be proud.

I’ve played on my work softball team and even injured myself trying to outrun a throw to first, which I beat even though I was called out. Rule No. 1 of work softball: Do not get a serious injury playing a sport that is only an excuse to say, “Hey, let’s all go get a drink after the game.”

Well, one sport I’ve always been tangentially interested in is baseball. I like playing baseball, which I believe nearly all American kids have done at least once. I got into baseball through my uncles, who were collectors. They turned me into a baseball-card collector, a collection I still have to this day that is taking up precious space in my home, along with my comic book collection.

Once my uncles got me into it, I became a baseball savant. I knew all the stats on each player and position because that directly impacted what I thought a card was worth. I was a card shark in these streets, buying up packs of Upper Deck, Donruss, Topps and Fleer cards and then buying Beckett’s baseball-card pricing guides every few months to keep up with my investment. I still have a tin where I keep all of my most valuable baseball cards. I was focused. You know, back then, when baseball cards were worth something. Thanks, steroids. And thanks, Obama.

For about three hours in the ’90s, I actually owned a Babe Ruth baseball card (along with a Jimmie Foxx card). It’s the typical story. My stepfather’s dad passed away, and while they were going through his house, they found an old cigar box and shoe box full of baseball cards. Because nobody knew (or cared), they gave them all to me because I was so into baseball cards, and while I was doing my due diligence of sifting through each card for condition and quality, I came across the Babe Ruth card.

I took it to my mom and stepdad, and then we consulted my uncles. None of us were sure if the cards were the real deal, so we then consulted an official collector, who let us know that they were, indeed, authentic baseball cards from the ’30s. So I did the honorable thing and gave the cards back to my parents, who then sold them for at least $5,000 (if memory serves) and turned them into a wood-burning stove.

Point is, for a few precious hours, I had reached the near pinnacle of being a baseball-card collector (a racist Honus Wagner would have been my apex). My love for baseball was a beautiful thing.

Well, that shit was in the 1990s.

Today, save for baseball hats, I almost couldn’t give two fucks about Major League Baseball. And it’s personal now.

To be fair, I actually enjoy going to games, though it’s less about the game and more about the experience, which is lit. I’ve been to a few Washington Nationals games, and the ballpark and experience are much better than watching on television. It’s “America’s” favorite pastime, though, if I can be racial for a second, to hear white people talk about baseball is a thing of wonder. I overheard a sports commentator saying that opening day should be a national holiday.

Say heffa, say what? I’d appreciate the day off, but I don’t know that it needs to be a holiday.

I’m a sports fan and I keep up a bit over the course of the season, so I know who is in first place, but if you were to tell me that baseball was canceled this year, I’m not sure I’d care.

Also, the season is way too damn long. People talk about the basketball season being too long—and it is—but the baseball season feels longer. From March until November, and over 162 games plus the playoffs, my life is adversely affected by baseball.

See, I live in Washington, D.C. … and in the city. National’s Park is located in the southeastern quadrant of the city (though not the part that is typically associated with poverty, crime and blackness), and I, too, live in the southeastern quadrant of the city (the part that is typically associated with poverty, crime and blackness. You should come by sometime!). The way D.C. is set up is that a good chunk of the city is across the Frederick Douglass Bridge, along South Capitol Street. National’s Park is on South Capitol Street. You might see where I’m going with this.

For at least 82 games, traffic is a bitch for me trying to get home. Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? Probably not? What about sitting in traffic trying to dodge drunk baseball fans at 5:30 p.m. who are early for the 7 p.m. start time? This is my life for about 70 days of the year. Every year I print out the calendar just  so I know when I’ll have to play Frat Boy Frogger and sit in traffic forever trying to get to my humble abode and watch NBA Classics.

See, there’s no highway, just the surface streets that lead to the bridge that I have to take to get home. Of course, I can go an alternate direction, but I still have a bridge to cross, and that alternate takes me waaaaay out of my way into more traffic of folks driving out of Pennsylvania Avenue toward the suburbs of Prince George’s County, where your well-to-do cousins who live in the D.C. area live.

I realize that I could be in the minority here, and clearly some of my reasons are personal and trifling, but baseball just doesn’t connect with me the same way that football and basketball or even soccer does. It isn’t nearly as interesting as the other sports in their current forms. Whereas the other games have tried to transform to keep up with the times, baseball seems so rooted in its history that I think it might suffer because of it.

I’m aware of all the records and how sacred they are, and I believe in integrity of the game, but I also don’t care who is on steroids. Just because a dude isn’t using something on the banned list doesn’t mean he’s not using something, anyway. And probably will, until it’s on the banned list. Shouts toMaria Sharapova.

I realize that baseball is supposed to be the “spirit” of America—or at least used to be before the NFL became the king of the hill—but when I stopped collecting cards and got a little bit older, I stopped caring. Once you add in traffic and insufferable baseball fans, particularly the ones I hate the most up in Boston, America’s game, for me … is football, cognitive dissonance be damned.

Go, Nationals.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Brandon Allen

    BASEBALL IS BORING. It’s a relic from a time when there was literally nothing to do.
    That being said I respect it. It’s most definitely a sport that requires a crazy amount of skill. But any sport that you can spend half the game playing cards and making shaving creme pies as too much down time.

    • -h.h.h.-
      • Brandon Allen

        It’s true. I didn’t say it wasn’t a good game but it’s boring like oscar nominated movies.

        • LogicalLeopard

          That’s actually a good assessment. I like baseball, but just like an Oscar nominated movie, there will be people that are hanging on every word, and there will be people who are like, “I’ve been sitting here for an hour, and nothing has exploded….what am I doing with my life?”

    • There’s like 10min of actual play in a football game.

      • Brandon Allen

        True, but there’s probably same amount of play in baseball game. Half the game you don’t play. 45 percent is outs and throws to first base.
        You can play outfield and do nothing for a week.

        • LogicalLeopard

          The key is focusing on the pitching. If you’re interested in pitching, it becomes….I hate to say it (no I dont), but….a whole new ballgame.

          • Brandon Allen

            I understand the pitching battle but watching a pitcher throw a great game is most boring possible outcome.

            • LogicalLeopard

              I can see and respect that point. I think it takes a certain kind of mindset to enjoy it.

      • Cheech

        The new American game. Violence, between committee meetings.

        • Brandon Allen

          Concussions will finally have basketball in the #1 spot in 10 years.

        • Lmao

  • Lea Thrace

    BASEBALL IS BORING.

    It had to be said again.

    • *whispers*
      Go Sand Gnats!

      • Other_guy13

        Didn’t they change their name though??? Yea I spent some time in the C-port

        • They moved to Columbia. They are the Fireflies now.

          • Other_guy13

            WTH…who are the Savannah Bananas……I can’t…this is a sad day. And Columbia…good for you

      • Lea Thrace

        Uh. The Gnats been gone. Make way for the Savannah Bananas. I sh*t you not. That is the name of the new team.

        • miss t-lee

          This name is hilarious.

        • KB

          Oh gawd.

        • Is it as bad as the Charleston Rainbows?

          • Lea Thrace

            Yeah. But at least that is not their CURRENT name. In the year of our lord 2016, there is a team called The Savannah Bananas.

            I. CANNOT.

          • Big Daddy Suede

            I had no Idea, the Sand Gnats were gone, anyway Go Greenjackets. I’ll pay out money when the new stadium gets built.

            • Did they need a new stadium? I thought it opened in the 90’s?

              • Big Daddy Suede

                From what I understand it’s to be the centerpiece to a new shopping district near the Carolina side of the river. Yeah, but the need isn’t really there. The one we have is still nice.

            • brothaskeeper

              I saw T-Mac pitch for the Pearland Skeeters. You gotta love the farm league names.

              • Big Daddy Suede

                Augusta got the Greenjackets name cause Golf. The minor leagues are indeed creative.

    • -h.h.h.-

      down vote.

  • Kas

    How long before Ricky comments?

    • Cheech

      Hey Kas. Who’d you root for?

      • Kas

        Baseball to die a slow lingering death

        • Cheech

          Ouch.

  • *Daps*

    Peej, I grew up loving baseball to an insane extent. It was one of the ways I bonded with my pops sans words and emotions. He loved the Dodgers but was usually listened to the Braves on the radio. I went full-fledged nuts about it in the third grade when I started following the Oakland Athletics in lieu of the Braves like everyone else in the south.* In my head the Bash brothers and the Hendersons were my dudes.* I’d break my neck collecting cards until I didn’t care about them anymore. The A’s are still my squad (no matter what Lew Wolff and Billy Beane have done to them) although I seldom watch them but I do follow the stats. (Baseball is to tedious for me to watch all of the time. My love of the game has been reduced to following the players I like ( McCutcheon, Trout, Harper, Jackie Bradley and others) as well as a couple of college squads (CofC and South Carolina.)

    The sport just isn’t welcoming to young people due to its dependence on unwritten rules and nostalgia. When Bomani Jones compared getting young people to like baseball to getting them into jazz he was right. (I really don’t get jazz as a whole either.) It’s no longer America’s game but it is the perfect analogy to America’s obsession with the “good old days.”

    Where baseball looks in the mirror and sees a reflection of Babe Ruth, Dimaggio, and Ted Williams America looks in and sees itself in a WWII uniform or a shirt and tie when things were more simple. In both cases America and baseball needs to get over itself.

    I’ll be waiting until the Billy Beane trades all of his good players again.

    *Ironically my love of the A’s at the time is part of the reason I don’t have heroes now. The Bash Brothers were roid monkeys. Roid monkeys who I rolled with but I realized that their are no saints on the playing field. Can’t wait for the new Captain America movie though.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      “Ironically my love of the A’s at the time is part of the reason I don’t
      have heroes now. The Bash Brothers were roid monkeys. Roid monkeys who I
      rolled with but I realized that their are no saints on the playing
      field.”

      So true. I find it funny that folks go hard on the roids era players but are silent on the amphetamines era players.

      • Most of the amphetamine era cats go hard on the roid era guys. Like they were playing back to back double headers in the Kansas City sun without help.

      • Cheech

        Sigma! I had this sense you were the same age (I’m not saying, but let’s say about Kas’ age.) Your handle threw me, though. Did you pledge in grad school?

        I remember Reggie bars (and Reggie in Oakland, and Reggie’s right hip bump on his way to second). For us, though, the Yanks were the bad guys. My friends all wanted to be Yaz or Dewey or Rice or Lynn, but I played first base so I wanted to be Boomer. Or Luis Tiant just because he cared not what anyone thought.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          See we could have been friends but that Boston thing……I’m a little younger than Kas and I pledged in undergrad.

          Jim Rice was a sellout because….Boston and I knew I would throat punch Wade Boggs and Rodger Clemons if I ever saw them. Then they joined the winning squad and you know the rest.

          It hurt my heart when they traded Reggie to California. Rod Carew was such a professional it was hard not to like the one – two punch they had.

          We also had the joy of This Week in Baseball on NBC; everyone was trying that Pete Rose headfirst slide…and the music with the closing credits….man listen!

      • Cheech

        And yes, scrubs and dupes went in the spokes.

    • Asiyah

      The whole roid thing was a huge let down for me. That, and falling in love, ruined sports for me (and baseball in particular).

    • The Bash Brothers have a soft spot in my heart because they were so obviously the bad guys. Plus I wish the Yankees of that era could get like them.

    • miss t-lee

      My younger brother *loved* the A’s too.

  • Nisee

    I really feel your pain as someone who has to commute on the 4/5 uptown on Yankee game days. The worst.

    Agreed that the stadium experience is awesome, too.

    • Asiyah

      That D train during baseball season is torture!

      • And all the white people! I’m a fan of the team, and they annoy me!

  • Sigma_Since 93

    I feel you on travel logistics. It takes me exactly 215 steps from my office to walk to the ballpark. I’m blessed that I take the bus and the bus has an expressway exclusively for it. I try to schedule my outings to occur when the Pirates are out of town or work from home.

    I die a slow death every time I need to leave the city, go home, and return to the city just to be stuck in ballgame traffic. Besides, ESPN keeps this Yankee fan in the loop.

  • Ess Tee

    My “stints” with baseball came courtesy of my cousin (who’s like a younger brother) who played little league as well as in high school. My aunt would drag me along to his games Saturday mornings, and I’d watch her be *that* mom lol.

    I don’t like the game, though. It bores me to tears. Like, I’ve only ever in my life made it through four innings of one game, and that was because I was in Havana, Cuba and figured, “Why not say I went to a baseball game in Havana, Cuba?” Four innings too long, my friend.

  • -h.h.h.-

    i got into sports, by getting into, and growing up with the Mets.

    i still have a stack of cards, but i don’t think any of them are worth much (i may have a 1978/1979 Johnny Bench Card, and a 2nd year Bonds card…the rest of my stash is meh) but no matter what sports i follow , i think baseball, for me, is more revered. the game itself is long, and there are tedious parts, but i still like it alot (and if i go to a game, i bring a book just in case, but i’ve never had to read it yet)

    and shoutout to my top 6…Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Ken Griffey Jr, Derek Jeter, Willie Mays, and Ty Cobb. #YesIDontHaveaFavoriteMet #IDontKnowWhy #EitherFrancoOrPiazza

  • Asiyah

    Ahhhh I relate! I’m Dominican so I’ll always love baseball, but I fell out of love for the MLB a long time ago. My reasons differ from yours. I try to love it like I used to but I’ve fallen out of love with sports. The most I feel is a like.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      The stadium experience in the DR is a million times different. It feels like a party with a cover.

      • Asiyah

        Watching the Dominican league and Caribbean World Series gives me glee.

        • Yaaaas

          • LadyIbaka

            Loving the new hairstyle.

            • Thank you baby!!! it’s wash and go… the straightening killed my ends.

              • LadyIbaka

                Niiice. Keep it that way!!!

    • Caribbean béisbol is DEFINITELY BETTER THAN in the States.. lol

      • Sigma_Since 93

        You get bonus points simply for saying béisbol

      • It’s baseball without the old dead white guys.

      • It’s so fast.

    • Blueberry01

      Because…Sammy Sosa?

  • Roz Cat

    For me, none of the major sports can match the tension and drama of the last potential out in a close baseball game; a batter fending off a fast throwing closer with foul ball after foul ball; coaches and managers going crazy with the hand signs; catchers and pitchers deliberating and disagreeing over what pitch to throw; fans going nuts. It just takes so dang long to get to that point in most games.

    And baseball is the only sport I can listen to on the radio; maybe there’s some nostalgia attached to that, but the best baseball announcers are like storytellers.

    When I grew up, in the South, all the older black men I knew had played baseball in their youth. Basketball was a Northern urban game; football only for muscleheads and brutes.

    • LogicalLeopard

      Loooooove baseball on the radio. But that’s probably because I listen to the Indians, and Tom Hamilton is one of the best announcers going. Even during a blowout, it’s entertaining, because he’s talking about how his co-host’s father is mobbed up because he’s from New Jersey, he’s ripping on umpire Angel Hernandez, or some other thing.

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