Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Major League Baseball is full of crap

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Despite the fact that MLB has systematically made a mockery of the game and its followers for years now, everybody involved---the owners, the players, the commissioner, and, of course, the ‘ journalists’ who cover it---are making more and more money every year. Regardless of how the game itself has become increasingly crass and unwatchable, fans still turn out. More importantly, they pay obscene amounts of money to buy merchandise, sponsors still fork over cash that their companies don’t have and baseball revenues and profits just keep climbing.

I think that the main reason baseball is doing well financially despite having a horrible product is that they smartly cornered the marketing on ‘American’---The Great American Pastime! There is nothing better than having your enterprise being synonymous with flag and country. So I also think that the main reason so many people are still loyal to baseball is the same reason so many people still voted Republican in the last election --- they developed an affinity to an institution a long time ago, or had that affinity brainwashed into them when they were young by their smitten parents and influential elders, and now they associate blindly supporting that institution with being ‘a loyal American’ regardless of how corrupt, exploitative and self-serving the institution itself has now become.

By the way, baseball is not the great American pastime. It hasn’t been for a long time now. Heck, since the invention of the VHS cassette and certainly since the advent if the internet, the great American pastime has involved wood that's been more the result of the efforts of the likes of (insert favorite pornstar’s name here) than those of Louisville Slugger.

I’m sure that baseball was once upon a time the great American pastime. Back when there was no TV (or virtually none), when the competition for the entertainment dollar was merely a fraction of what it is now, it made sense to have a game virtually every day from spring to fall to provide the masses with a diversion from the daily grind. Back in the time when great baseball players worked another job in the offseason to make ends meet, when legendary players took time off during their prime playing years to enlist and serve the country at wartime, there were heroes in baseball. It was in those times that baseball wove itself into the American fabric. Now baseball’s annual revenues exceed the annual total budget for the National Cancer Institute. But hey, as the players, agents, talking heads, and general morons will tell you at every opportunity, no one will pay $100 to watch a scientist work in the lab! That is such a great argument that I will not even try to comment on it. Suffice it to say, the logic that underlies that argument explains a lot about our world today.

Anyway, if you think that baseball is anything but a money-grubbing business now, you are deluded. People who spend hard-earned money on merchandise from teams that haven’t been good in decades are stupid. It’s like regularly buying horribly stale milk from a bad dairy simply because your grandfather remembers it fondly. At every turn, the only people who treat baseball as anything but a business are the suckers…errr…fans.

I got a kick out of Yankees GM Brian Cashman’s response when he was asked if he regretted signing A-Rod, the latest greatest cheater who has thrown baseball fans into emotional turmoil, to a 10 year contract last year. This is what he said: "Well, we're not in a position to go backwards on this. The position we're in is to try to move forward and make sure that we can help him get through this. We've got nine years of Alex remaining. … We've invested in him as an asset. And because of that, this is an asset that is going through a crisis. So we'll do everything we can to protect that asset and support that asset and try to salvage that asset."

That was classic!

In MLB, we are talking about an organization here that called off a tied All-Star game (which, as they’ll tell you constantly, is a big celebration for the fans---everything is about the fans, you know) because they were worried some whiny-ass titty-baby ‘All Star’ might get hurt!! I’m sure Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig are proud.

But baseball’s profits keep growing. So why would I blame them for not giving a crap about their consumers? Consume away, idiots.

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13 comments:

Robb said...

"whiny-ass titty-baby"

Bravo, my friend. Bravo.

That is the kind of pithy quotation that ends up on your tombstone.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

But baseball’s profits keep growing. So why would I blame them for not giving a crap about their consumers? Consume away, idiots.

I suspect MLB's gonna receive a motherfucking wake-up call form the fans this season.

Anonymoustache said...

Robb! 'Sup dude?
I guess you didn't like my opinion of MLB. Oh well.
BTW, tombstone? No way. Cremation my friend, that too with none of that 'ashes in an urn forever' business. No need for tombs or memorials or epitaphs or other post-life ego trips.

Anonymoustache said...

CPP,
I think you are wrong on this one. Besides, any revenue hit will come from the economy tanking and thereby temporarily interrupting the ability of banks, consultant-farms etc to advertise and sponsor. I will be surprised if attendance, and more importantly merchandising revenue, falls off as badly as ad revenue. We'll see.

Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde said...

I guess I'm the only loser who really loves the sound of the crack of the bat. True, baseball as it is played today is a corrupt and distressingly professional enterprise. But still, I love being at a game and hearing the sound of leather and wood connecting at a combined ~150 mph.

BikeMonkey said...

Are you really suggesting more people can pick Ron Jeremy out of a lineup than could ID, oh I dunno, Pete Rose?

Anonymoustache said...

Dr.J,
I was careful to keep my criticism to MLB. Baseball by itself is no better or worse than many other sports/games whether for participation or for viewing.
Bikemonkey,
Maybe not Rose but then Rose has gotten so much pub for non-baseball related stuff. But I think there's a fair shot that more people, particularly in the coveted 18-34 marketing demographic, could pick out Jeremy over most of the Tampa Bay Rays who made it to the World Series last year. Many of them may not admit it publicly, being good Godfearing family men and all, but I think they'd know all too well.

scribbler50 said...

Terrific post, Sir Stache, and sadly I share every one of those sentiments. The game itself, as Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde so poetically put it, IS a work of art possessing the sights, sounds and smells of no other sport, especially when played back in those days you refer to... when it was a pastoral diversion from the urban grind. But THAT game is long gone having been inherited by the lowest form of custodianship. It's like someone owning a Rembrandt, willing it to a ne'er-do-well nephew, and the asshole hanging the painting in the fucking bathroom.
Just last night a customer of mine, a Yankee fan, started talking to me about how excited he was about the season getting under way and I said (respectfully of course) that I couldn't be LESS fucking excited about the season getting under way. Besides the fact it's still too close to football, and the fact that the Pirates have been a farm club since Jim Leyland left, the real reason for my ennui is that the news every year, on ESPN etal, particularly at this time of year, is never about the Game which is what it should be about, it's about salaries and who's going to cough up the budget of a small country to keep so and so or acquire such and such and how to do it before some bogus deadline. It's fucking disgusting. Especially since you know that the tariff for said acquisition will be passed along gleefully to you the consumer. Want to see the Orioles host the Yankees in the season opener? (I lifted this from Phil Mushnick's column in the New York Post) You have to pay more than normal ticket prices AND... if you agree to participate in that sham you're still not out of the woods. You have to participate in a "group sales" plan, which means a minimum of 11 tickets plus 11 tickets to another game. In other words, to buy two marked-up tickets to a Yankees-O's game, one must buy 22 tickets in all. And the Orioles stink!!! Fuck baseball.

And finally, as far as your opening business about attaching the word "American" to something, the only thing more heinous and fraudulent than calling baseball America's pastime is calling the Dallas motherfucking Cowboys America's team!!!

Anonymoustache said...

Thanks for the insightful comments, Scrib50. I appreciate them very much.
I have many thoughts on the economics of baseball/sport that you commented on ---I'll try and pen some of them soon. Just been swamped man.

Robb said...

V,

You know I don't like any non-Darin Erstad/Angels/Huskers-related baseball anyway - that's just f***ing funny.

As for the "post-life ego trips," I intend to be stuffed and put on display like Lenin when I go out.

PS: Dr. J's comment reminded me that I wanted to tell you the new best porno name that belongs to a guy at work.

Wait for it...

Randy Leatherwood.

You're welcome.

Anonymoustache said...

Robb,
You ought to be stuffed and put on display like Lenin you Obama-supporting commie!
And dude, as porno names go Randy Leatherwood is indeed hard to beat. Can't decide whether the pun is intended or not.

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