Monday, October 27, 2008

Fox Ball and the World Series

Last night's World Series game started at 10pm Eastern time.  It ended almost four hours later.  Despite the wonderful outcome, it had me thinking about why kids don't play baseball in the inner city any more.  I was born and raised and lived my entire working adult life in Philadelphia, so I belive I qualify to pass some judgement on what is wrong with starting a World Series game at ten o'clock at night.  Kids won't watch it!  Very simple indeed.

When I was a young Phillies fan, going back to ancient history, we all watched the World Series from first pitch to last.  The reason was simple.  The games were on during the day time.  TV did not control the game of baseball the way it does today.  Watching the games on TV brought baseball into your home at a time kids could watch.  Those black and white images were magical. Don Larson pitching a perfect game; would Sandy Koufax pitch on Yom Kippur, 1960 Bill Mazeroski, Mantle and Maris, all in bright sunlight.  As kids we all wanted to be big leaguers. Inner city kids played stick ball, half ball, wall ball, wiffle ball, and hard ball.  If we didn't have enough kids we'd play on half the field.  If there weren't any kids around you'd throw a pimple ball at a box drawn on a wall.  You'd imagine Harry the Horse Anderson at bat, or Willie Puddin Head Jones, or Stosh Lopata.  You would put to memory all their stats from the back of their baseball card.  And rot your teeth from the thick slab of pink gum stuck inside every pack of cards.

Today you don't see groups of kids playing pick up games of baseball.  Even in the best of weather.  You'll see inner city kids playing basketball, or maybe even touch football.  But I can't remember the last time I saw two kids playing step ball or stick ball in the street.

The games at night are for adults.  Certainly an East Coast matchup like the Phillies and Rays will draw die hard baseball fans to watch on TV.  But the casual fans, the kids, won't be up to watch.  

And baseball suffers at the hands of Fox.  Bud Selig pretends to be the commissioner.  The real commissioner is Fox.

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