Signs The Times Are Changing In Baseball

My kids' first game and they get a foul ball.

My kids’ first game and they get a foul ball.

I haven’t written anything this week, choosing to instead spend time with the family while I was on vacation. As I sit here with a Samuel Adams White Lantern in my hand, I decided to sit down at the computer and get a couple of things off my chest while the heat index is like 100 degrees outside.

There were a couple of things I saw this week regarding this great game of baseball that I felt needed to be addressed.

I was at a minor league game on July 3. It was fireworks night, so I decided to take my kids to their first baseball game. I figured I would be able to sit and enjoy a game without analyzing the players, which is almost impossible for me. When I watch a game, it isn’t the same as when your average fan watches.

I’m constantly evaluating players and the situations during the game. It’s like when a chess player tries to watch a chess match, I am thinking about what pitch the pitcher should throw next, and stuff like that.

As it turns out, I watched about half of an inning of the game — the rest of the game I spent chasing my two year-old daughter around the stadium.

However, while I was watching during that half inning, I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed ever before while watching a minor league game in the past. I’m not sure why I never noticed it before, but it practically jumped right out at me this game.

What I noticed was that the players were significantly smaller than when I was trying to break into professional baseball back in the late 90s and early 2000s. I wondered, could that many guys have been using performance enhancing drugs back then?

We all were so naive.

Here I was a five-foot eleven-inch tall kid, weighed a chiseled 210 pounds (naturally), and I was probably one of the smaller guys that would be attending these professional tryouts. I would easily be one of the bigger guys on the field if I were to step out there at that size now. It really made me realize how much the game has cleaned up its act with regards to performance enhancing drugs.

When you think about it, baseball created the problem themselves, and I’m not even talking about on the home run race level. Back in the late 90s, you knew as a player that a scout would not even look in your direction unless you fit their mold…their mold was one of a steroid user.

The other thing I wanted to quickly voice my opinion on was something I saw Matt Cerrone of Metsblog tweet about earlier.

The article that Cerrone shared is about the Giants creating this social cafe where fans can go to charge their phones, use WiFi, and Tweet. At first, I thought it was extremely cool…but then I wondered if people actually go to the games to watch them anymore? Everything is changing due to technological advances, and it makes me wonder if it is good or bad for the game of baseball, and society in general.

Remember when you would go to the game with your dad, get a program, and fill out the scorecard with a little pencil that had no eraser? That isn’t necessary anymore because our smart phones give us up to the second box scores. Remember when you actually collected baseball cards? Remember when you actually went outside and played baseball?

It’s summer and I see nothing but empty baseball fields everywhere I go — kids these days are staying indoors opting to play online video games and chat with their friends using video chatting. If you ask me, it’s disgraceful. Get outside and experience the game of baseball and life in general. Trust me, I played more than my share of video games growing up in the 80s and 90s with Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and PlayStation — but it was reserved for rainy days and the summer days where you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.

I don’t even think kids sweat anymore unless the air conditioner in the house breaks. My thirteen year-old daughter can barely last 10 minutes outside in the summer unless there is a pool nearby…then I start with my stories to her that begin with “when I was your age….”

Seems as if the times are changing…and I guess I’m getting old.

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