Friday , April 12 2024

Major League Baseball’s Seedy Undercurrent

Now that the final game of the playoff series between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins is over, we can all seek retribution against the fan who INTENTIONALLY interfered with the game by seeking to catch a foul ball.

Wow, that is a searing indictment on a person. Call out the vigilantes and get your clubs boys, that fan single-handedly cost the Cubs their bid to the 2003 World Series. It couldn’t possibly have been the unraveling of the Cub’s pitching or the cooling of their bats, and certainly had nothing to do with the Marlins taking advantage of the flustered Cubs.

As a diehard Indians fan, I was cheerfully rooting for the Cubs to break their horrible streak of almost 50 years of missing the Series. I wanted to see them win one for the town, the fans and for their team. The Chicago Cubs are the next best thing to rooting for my beloved Cleveland Indians, and as one Midwesterner to another, I feel their pain at my deepest core.

BUT – I don’t think that we need to send out the death squad on a zealous fan for doing what happens around ballfields all across the nation all season long.

Haven’t we seen enough violence? If it’s not Pedro smacking Zimmer down, or Pedro trying to take someone’s head off, or Pedro being a total douche at every turn, then it’s beating groundskeepers for cheering for their team in the bullpen.

The one thing I have learned to love about baseball is the elegance of it and the showmanship. The dedication to the art of being at your top form with a grueling and demanding schedule. Rivalries are great for baseball, but they need to be tempered with reality – and the reality is this: it’s just a game.

This has been the most highly rate teevee baseball series in recent history, with ratings up over 46 percent from last year. That’s great news for baseball, a sport that can sometimes be overlooked because of it’s ubiquitous nature and long season.

Baseball is the all-American sport. We have heroes that span the century and legendary team histories that add to the excitement – but there is that seedy underbelly of violence that erupts on the field and in the stands during a game that is supposed to be non-contact. Baseball isn’t like football or hockey where half of the object of the game is to beat the crap out of your opponent. Baseball is about using intelligence, finesse and skill to outmaster the opposing team. It’s the chess of sports.

When pitchers like Clemens and Martinez are allowed to gain a reputation as “headhunters” the only people we have to blame are ourselves, the fans. Baseball fans anger and desire to win has squashed our uniqueness when compared to the more violent sports. Our violent society encourages the players to act out our aggression on the field through physical confrontation, rather than outplaying the opponent.

Should a manhunt continue on the fan who “stole” the series from the Cubs in game five continue, as is encouraged here, then we have robbed baseball of the things it has given to us as fans: dignity and integrity.

The game begins and ends on the field – when you leave the stadium it’s over. Let’s bring back what we lost these last two weeks.

About Dawn Olsen

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