July 14, 2006

Doing The Opposite

Joe Sheehan, Baseball Prospectus:
Tuesday, Bud Selig spoke to reporters, and during that exchange, he expressed the idea that a rule should be established that would prohibit pitchers selected to the All-Star team from pitching on the Sunday prior to the game.

The staggering ridiculousness of that idea -- let's impact the championship season for the sake of an exhibition game in which 45 players will appear and Matt Holliday will be among the leaders in playing time -- strains my vocabulary, my imagination and my patience. It is, however, wholly consistent with Selig's apparent view that baseball isn't a terribly interesting game, and desperately needs bells and whistles to keep the attention of the public. ...

Selig, who I'll blame individually for a process that certainly involves more people than him, doesn't believe that the greatness of major-league baseball is in the day-to-day of a six-month regular season. Virtually every decision he's made over the course of his comissionership has detracted from that element, that thing that really does make baseball great, in an effort to garner short-term attention with parlor tricks. ...
Sheehan closes with a short discussion of what I'm always ranting about -- the constant blaring noise and commercials and instructions to cheer and general annoyance that every ballpark has (some way more than others).

The people running MLB have so little belief in the magic of their sport that they are obsessed with dressing it up to get anyone to pay attention. I am convinced that if every park cut out all the non-baseball crap from the scoreboard and PA system, no more than five people per park would complain. (I once thought it would be a good idea to try to get every ballpark to be quiet for one night -- just the game and only the game. Call it: "Silent Night".)

Is someone going to stay home and not spend $$ for tickets because there is no dot race? Will families go to the movies instead of the ball park because the scoreboard doesn't tell them when to clap? Will couples stay away from the game because they now have the ability to speak to each other at a normal volume between innings? I say no.


allan said...

Camden Yards is one of the worst offenders in my experience. How anyone can say that place is a nice baseball experience is beyond me.

Yankee Stadium is also quite bad, as is Skydome. I was at a Red Sox game earlier this year (Beckett got hammered and Wells hit 3HR) and it was brutal.

Even Fenway cranks up the volume between innings. Their spring training park in Ft. Myers is also pretty bad.

On a west coast baseball trip a several years ago, I discovered that Dodger Stadium was free of all that crap, but I've heard that in recent years (since McCourt bought the team?), they too have brought the noise.

laura k said...

We've been complaining about the volume at ballparks for so long, we don't even bother to talk about it anymore. I actually stopped going to Yankee Stadium because of all the noise - while I was still a Yankees fan.

Him, I'D move to Canada to escape.

We tried that. Turns out he's commissioner up here too.

Eric Vejnovich said...

Your "Silent Night" sugbgestion was actually already carried out two years ago in Brockton, MA by the Brockton Rox of an independent baseball league. Not only was the plan carried out to have nothing but the sounds of the ballgame in the air, but it was actually called "Silent Night."

allan said...



(Those bastards owe me a nickle!)