Frequent readers are justifiably fed up with the persistent whining about how, in major league baseball, the complete game by pitchers has gone the way of the dodo bird and polite political discourse and about the creeping devastation to the game caused by the designated sitter rule, so those are not the topics for today. No, today, we move on to other sources of wonderment and irritation. For instance, if a tree falls on the school for the deaf, can they still collect the insurance money? Also, do they have smoke alarms? Calm down, all you PC types, I’m not making fun of deaf people, I’m making fun of smoke alarms. Of course, one is not supposed to do that, either.
I don’t go to the ball parks much. That’s partly because of the distance to travel but mostly because I don’t have the kind of money that people running for office that the Koch brothers like do. However, since I do have a television, I am somewhat aware of what happens in those places. I suspect that I would not be as thrilled to attend a game now as I was when I first entered a real major league park. Why? Well, they have really gotten to be noisy. It’s mind blowing. So far as I can tell, Dodger Stadium is the worst. I confess that I am part of the Woodstock generation and I am really happy that I missed Woodstock. I went to an outdoor concert at Kezar Stadium on the first day of Spring 1973 when you could hear the Grateful Dead loud and clear even if you were without a ticket and blocks away. I have been to one of Bill Graham‘s indoor concentration camps, the one called Winterland, and suffered through Foghat. Make no mistake, I was a stoner. But this is not what I call fun. I remember listening to people try to remember what they had done the night before, and many were adamant that, wherever they had been, IT WAS REALLY LOUD MAN. Like it was good thing.
Dodger Stadium sounds like that now. The L.A. Dodger organization had once been so dignified and traditional and conservative that you could have called it stodgy. No mas, brother. Loud. Constant. And those streamers that all venues have now with their Leni Riefenstahl style inducements to MAKE SOME NOISE! Scary. Walk up music. Rally music. Pitching change music. Plus, we have arcades, restaurants, gift shops, and all sorts of inducements to do just about anything except watch a ball game. The owners are all making bank, so shut up, right?
Contrast that, though, to how I remember that first visit to Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. There was minimal technology. My brother Paul brought binoculars to see the players a little better. There was a public address system. “Number 4, the center fielder, Duke Snider.” The batters would be announced the first time through the lineup and that was it. Replacement batters, runners, pitchers, or fielders were announced as they entered the game. In other words, it was expected that we were paying attention. It seemed to me that respect for the game was being shown.
Therefore, in order to have fun with this bit of nostalgia, I have come up with some walk up music for some of the players that never got to enjoy it. Bill Spaceman Lee: Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. Ty Cobb: Helter Skelter. Joe DiMaggio: Sounds of Silence. Billy Martin: Another One Bites the Dust. Jackie Robinson: Only the Lonely.
The time will come soon enough that codgers like myself won’t be around to piss and moan and Distractionland will be a theme park. Until then, thanks for putting up with this.