I used to like baseball but now I don't.
Sitting here in Dodger Stadium, I'm reminded of everything I hate about baseball. For starters, let's talk about parking. I'm not going to bitch about traffic, because this is LA, and quite frankly, there wasn't much, and we arrived early. But $7 just to park? On top of admission? Maybe I'm just spoiled, but I'm used to being able to park for free at a Light Rail station, then pay under $3 to take the Light Rail into Oriole Park @ Camden Yards (oh, ick!1). No form of mass-transit was evident, especially not from Irvine. Parking itself wasn't too difficult, considering the stadium looks to be about a quarter empty. (Eighth inning correction: 30,464 was the official attendance, or 54.4% of the advertised 56,000 person capacity—nothing close to what I'm used to from OP@CY.)
Then there's the noise levels. If I had remembered how loud it got at a game, I probably would have grabbed a spare set of earplugs from the safety gear I keep in the truck for impromptu shooting sessions. Somehow I have a hard time believing that the shouts, whistles, stomping & general mayhem isn't doing considerable damage to my hearing. Yeah, you expect a certain level of carrying-on at a sports event, but that doesn't mean that I need to be subjected to people shouting their conversations all around me.
Let's take a minute to talk about the "fans". I've got nothing to complain about with most of them, but there are plenty of pathetic people who come decked out in full team regalia, probably hoping against hope they won't piss their pants if through some bizarre wet dream of circumstances they actually got called from the stands to play—as though most of them could even hope to hit a ball thrown by a major-league pitcher, or not die of asphyxiation running around the field.
And now's a good time to talk about that other kind of fan—the asshole fan. You probably know the kind. They're so certain that their team is going to win, and by a landslide, that they'll do anything to make sure it happens. Usually you'll see them throwing some sort of debris on the field to distract the other team. Or, if they're like the particular brand of asshole that slimed their way in tonight, throw the contents of a full soda cup at the opposing outfielder as he's trying to catch a ball that's gone deep. I can only hope there's a special place in hell reserved for them.
Of course, the players themselves aren't perfect either. I suppose most of my dislike of professional baseball still stems from the players' strike of several years ago. Here you had these people making hundreds, if not millions, of dollars a year bitching and moaning because they weren't being paid enough. Maybe I'm crazy, but it really pissed the hell out of me, especially considering anyone making more than $526,000 a year was making at least a dollar a minute the entire year. I swore I'd never go to another baseball game2. Yes, it's completely soured me on baseball at the professional level.
I think another big reason I don't like baseball is that given a choice between watching and doing, I'd much rather do, even if my performance sucks mud through rocks. That's right—it can be succinctly summed up as a general dislike of spectator sports. I find it rather insulting that instead of 20,000–50,000 people (plus the people not at the stadium) getting up off their asses and doing something active with their friends or family or what-have-you, they'd prefer to plop down in a seat for several hours and watch someone in much better shape do exactly what they could be doing (arguing with the officials and making insane amounts of money aside). And that, coming from a not very athletic person, is pretty damning.
1 No, not about the Orioles. Ick to the fact that, instead of going to the treasured TheOrioles.com website, now it appears the evil beast that is mlb.com (no link) has swallowed up their webpages. Seems to hold true for the Dodgers site as well, but when I went there earlier today, it didn't quite click. I absolutely loathe the mlb.com website, and not just because they refuse to unsubscribe me from their spam after 3 years of attempts. I can't believe my totally fanatic Orioles friends haven't said anything about this yet.
2 Obviously I've done so well at keeping that oath. I can say the number of games I've been to in the past several years can be counted without taking off my shoes.
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