Special to CBSNY.com by James H. Burns
A new baseball season is always cause for celebration: Truly a time for new beginnings, and--even for the non-fan--a sure sign that the better days of spring and summer are just ahead.
But as perfect as we diehards believe the game can be, there is always room for improvement. In the past few years, some strange elements have entered the scene--both on the field, and in how the sport is presented to, and enjoyed by, the public.
If I had my way, here are some of the ballpark phenomena I would prefer to see...Ejected!
THE OVERCROWDED STATS LINES ON TOO MANY TV BROADCASTS
Even if you go out and buy a larger television, you STILL can no longer see enough of the game.
This is New York. We don't need to be taught how to cheer, or to use anything but our hands and lungs. These annoying tubular slammers came to prominence overseas, and first gained a hold in Anaheim, just a stone's throw from Disneyland. I think they're both Mickey Mouse AND Goofy.
ANNOUNCERS MOCKING FANS, IN THE STANDS
Years ago, a television play-by-play man was making fun of a thirty-something, who seemed to really love the teddy bear he had gotten at the game. Until, ON CAMERA, the gentleman's childlike affection was so intense, it was obvious that he had to have been DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED... Tickets are expensive enough, without fans having to worry that how they eat an ice cream cone, or sprawl in a seat, is also going to make them pay the price of humiliation.
ON THE OTHER HAND: FOLKS USING CEL PHONES
...waving to whom they're talking to, when they realize that they're in the background of a TV shot.
At various moments throughout the season, our local baseball stations bombard us with anti-smoking ads whose images are so horrific that, in a movie theatre, they'd be rated R or perhaps even X. I'm all for educating people against the dangers of tobacco, but no one in their right mind should be showing this footage--so intense that it wouldn't even make it into an episode of CSI, or HOUSE--to children, or to anyone else whom, for a few hours, just might want to peacefully enjoy a game.
The globalization of baseball has brought some wonderful, and unexpected, benefits. But can we at least hope that some of the imported stars, if only out of respect and/or friendliness, would learn English?
And couldn't the teams that employ these players also supply them with language TUTORS, in addition to translators? It seems a small price to pay for both parties.
BOBBLE-HEAD DOLL DAYS FOR JUST ACQUIRED PLAYERS
First of all, those eternal nods kind of give me the creeps, and secondly, I always wondered how these promotions made the long-serving veterans feel, when they remain bob-less...
PROMOTIONS SPONSORED BY VIAGRA
With all the corporate sponsorships Major League Baseball could seek alliances with, aren't there at least a few that wouldn't have such questionable TV ads? (Or did the Commissioner's office, not want to work that, um, hard...)
PLAYERS POINTING TO HEAVEN, OR CROSSING THEMSELVES, AFTER A HIT
Babe Ruth didn't do it, and he was raised by priests.... Besides, if and when this generation sees the Messiah, we're pretty sure who can hit a change-up will be pretty low on the deity's list of priorities.
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By James H. (Jim) Burns, a writer/actor living on Long Island, has written for such magazines as GENTLEMAN'S QUARTERLY, ESQUIRE, TWILIGHT ZONE and HEAVY METAL; and Op-Eds for NEWSDAY, THE VILLAGE VOICE, and THE NEW YORK TIMES.
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