Thursday, April 2, 2009

Major League Baseball 2009: I Just Heard a Pin Drop.

I'm an Orioles fan, or I try to be. I have played baseball almost my entire life and loved the sport. I loved going to games when I was younger. I loved cheering on a team that when opening day arrived, you felt like this could be your year. Today, baseball as an Orioles fan is nothing more than a passing glance at a box score in the Baltimore Sun, or watching a highlight for 15 seconds on SportsCenter. Anything passed that is more excruciating than a Tijuana colonic. Even when I make it out to games, it's only because I can get a ticket for five dollars on Fridays to get drunk outside the ball park. We stumble in by the 4th inning and leave by the 7th. I would consider myself in the top 20% of Orioles fans just based on the fact that I have gone to a game, or even know who Brian Roberts is.
The losing culture of the Orioles for the past 11-12 years has sucked any passion that this town had for the sport, and this is a recurring theme throughout many MLB cities in America: Kansas City, Seattle, Oakland, Texas Rangers (it took me about 40 min. to decide how to write that one down without looking like an idiot), Houston, etc. etc. The reason being that the owners of these teams cannot compete in the arms race that the Red Sox and Yankees have established in the major leagues today, and without enough money to stay competitive, their product suffers.
This has been going on for years now, but what makes this year different is how much our economy is going to absolutely kill small teams in terms of ticket sales and revenue. Imagine you're a father of two kids in Detroit. You have no idea if you're going to be able to keep your position at Ford, because Howie Long and his crew of Chevy flunkies keep ripping on the man step you work so darn hard to put on the F150 everyday (Rant: Can someone please tell me what makes a step on a back of a truck gay? I mean, Chevy is basically trying to tell us if you like a product that helps make your life easier or keeps your hands warm, then you're a pussy. I guess gloves and stairs are now only for Lance Bass). You're barely making enough to feed little Timmy and Samantha, and pay for your mortgage on the 8-Mile. The Tigers are playing like it's the mid 90's again, and forget that they have talent like last year. Are you really going to purchase three tickets to a game, buy hot dogs, and get Timmy that stupid foam finger that makes me want to punt little children every time they wave it in my face? No, because that's $100 you could spend on actually surviving.
This is not going to affect big market teams as much, because they have owners, cities and a talented enough that will keep asses in seats but mark my words, you're going to see attendance in almost every major league city go down dramatically because of this economy to the point where I'm concerned that their might not be a Royals team to laugh at by 2011. You're already seeing it in the NBA, and it's only going to get worse for baseball.
What I'm trying to say here is that a baseball culture where small cities can't compete with high bank rolled teams, and a floundering economy is going to be the biggest blow to the Major League Baseball since the '94 strike. Remember all of this when a team near you is giving away tickets with a large combo meal at Hardees to make their stadiums not look a spring training game. We may need more than a little Orioles Magic to save this season from economic disaster.

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