December 16, 2011

"Always Sold For The Boodle"

Oh, don't you remember the game of base-ball we saw twenty years ago played,
When contests were true, and the sight free to all, and home-runs in plenty were made?
When we lay on the grass, and with thrills of delight, watched the ball squarely pitched at the bat,
And easily hit, and then mount out of sight along with our cheers and our hat?
And then, while the fielders raced after the ball, the men on the bases flew round,
And came in together. Four batters in all. Ah! That was the old game renowned.
Now salaried pitchers, who throw the ball curved at padded and masked catchers lame
And gate-money music and seats all reserved is all that is left of the game.
Oh, give us the glorious matches of old, when love of true sport made them great,
And not this new-fashioned affair always sold for the boodle they take at the gate.
H.C. Dodge, 1886

Found at John Thorn's blog, "Our Game"


Jere said...

Thorn gives three reasons why we always do this. But I think it has to do with each person's memories. That writer thought 1866 was the perfect time. My dad will tell you it was the 50s. For me, the 1980s is "classic" baseball--the way it should always be. No matter how much you hear about the days before your time, you can never relate to it as well as YOUR baseball. And no matter what you see in the future, you'll always find a reason why your way was better.

Reminds me of this great story about New York City. Read it here or click the play button and let Alec Baldwin read it to you.

johngoldfine said...

'Manhattan '45' by Jan Morris proposes Manhattan in 1945 as the absolute peak of urban life in America.

Everything before 1945 simply built to that summit, everything since has been a falling off....

johngoldfine said...

When Laura commented a few days ago that there are no new complaints in baseball, I was going to argue: "But what about that goddamn music blasting away?"

Wisely, I forebore! Gate-money music!

laura k said...

That writer thought 1866 was the perfect time. My dad will tell you it was the 50s. For me, the 1980s is "classic" baseball--the way it should always be.

I do think it's down to people's memories. Many (most?0 people are like this about music. Truly great music was from the time in their life when music meant the most to them - after that it's all a bunch of crap, they don't make 'em like that anymore.

laura k said...

I was hoping that NYC story would be Colson Whitehead. He is the heir to E.B. White's writing about NYC. If you love NYC, and you don't have "The Colossus of New York," Whitehead's essay collection about NYC, you must run out and get it.

FenFan said...

Does "home-runs" here have the same meaning as it does today?

That also has to be the first time that I've seen it hyphenated.

Love these nuggests, Allan!

Jere said...

The Kansas City Cowboys scored in double digits in 8 games out of 126 in 1886.

Compare that to some of the scores on this page about 1866. (67-25! One guy hit 6 dongs in that game alone.)

So, whether he meant home runs or just runs, he wasn't kidding.