ALLSPACH: Baseball is now a much different game

2013-11-02T22:30:00Z 2014-05-13T23:44:05Z ALLSPACH: Baseball is now a much different gameSTEVE ALLSPACH Sioux City Journal
November 02, 2013 10:30 pm  • 

A tattered, faded, frayed and thin baseball tome, published in 1922 and entitled “The Science of Baseball’’ strikingly refutes the 2013 World Series or even baseball as you all once knew it.

In that little red book, Wilbert Robinson, described as the famous manager of the Brooklyn “Dodgers’’ has the following to say.

“Many fans throughout the country consider Baseball strictly as a pastime, devoid of any extraordinary science. This book, if read understandably, should prove to the fan’s complete satisfaction that the game they love is one of the most scientific in the realm of sports.’’

As far as Red Sox-Cardinals go, that science wouldn’t include “obstruction’’ and the book also admonishes readers to embrace the theory that the team composed of nine scientific players will beat a team of “stars.’’

The theory, of course, doesn’t extrapolate the methods of big boppers/cumbersome-lumberers like Big Papi, sometimes referred by radio and television reporters as David Ortiz.

The aforementioned “science’’ should have included walking Ortiz each and every time he made a plate appearance after the “Sawx’’ won the first game.

The Redbirds didn’t, as you well know, and Ortiz forged a batting average of 3,000 or something to that effect.

All in all, the point here is that baseball has lost its image as the national pastime.

It is no longer a pastoral setting on a Norman Rockwell magazine cover or Shoeless Joe Jackson surrealistically emerging from an Iowa cornfield.

Or Dizzy Dean getting beaned and resulting X-rays revealing “nothing’’ or a more, shall we say, more cerebral Bob Costas of NBC describing the vintage image of “it sounds like a guy sitting on a rocking chair on his porch listening to a game on the radio and maybe whittling.’’

A more contemporary image, too, might be Baby Boomers tuning in a game on the transistor radio, pulling bed covers over your head and listening to Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and "Hammering" Hank Sauer after mom or dad said “lights out.’’

Baseball and its most avid denizens created a myth that just isn’t being played out in the 21st century.

Expansion, overwhelming financial for the owners, bloated salaries for banjo-hitting .200 batters, the National Football League, fantasy baseball and football and inexplicable rules like the MLB All-Star Game winner earning home field for the World Series renders excitement mute.

It wouldn’t hurt either, to shorten the season to 154 game, eliminate the ridiculous one-game playoff format and make the World Series a true Fall (October) Classic.

Yes, it would be nice out here in the upper middle western United States if the Chicago Cubs were to get back to the World Series.

But, like politics, baseball is all local and fractionally regional.

Sure, diehards would relish the scenario, but what if the Cubbies were playing Tampa Bay or Texas. Aloof bandwagoners in Los Angeles, New York and Boston would tune out, listening instead to news of the Kardashians or Bruce Jenner considering a sex change operation.

Referring here, obviously, to TV ratings and marketing.

Some ragamuffins of ultimate repute have penned that a World Series really is not official unless the New York Yankees are involved.

There’s some truth in that, although the same might be said of the Dodgers and Red Sox.

St. Louis, the Cardinals not the old Browns, don’t even rate iconic stature in the history of the game.

And not if you pay any attention to the unwashed mavens who ply their trade, if you will, online.

The barbs on the internet are cutting, to say the least.

Recently, Deadspin grenade launcher Drew Magary wrote that St. Louis is a ‘’dump’’ and went on to assess Cardinal fans. ‘’Wanna know who you really are Cardinals’ fans,’’ he opined in print. “You are this.

"You poorly disguised Yankees fans in ugly Christmas sweaters carrying a Jell-O mold to your neighbors door.’’

That pretty much tells you where baseball used to be and where it has evolved to today.

Roger Kahn’s "Boys of Summer," Lawrence Ritter’s "The Glory of Their Times" and Bernard Malamud’s "The Natural" speak more to Babe Ruth’s America.

The modern clatter about the game is pretty much plastic.

Said Frost the poet of these times before their time.

Is too much for the senses,

Too crowded, too confusing,

Too present to imagine.

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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