Baseball is changing for the worse
Jim Grammer, When it was a game
You know, I was thinking the other day as I was driving my little red truck down the streets of Hartselle that I could remember when I could identify every other vehicle on the road. I could tell you the year, the make, and the model of every car in town and could probably tell you the size of the stock engine and whether it was a straight-shift or automatic.
There was one thing about all the automobiles in Hartselle in those days and that was they were made in America. Sure there was the occasional oddball that got his hands on some little foreign-made piece of junk and everyone in town knew it was just a cheap, downsized imitation of some American car.
Nowadays I can't tell the country half the cars are made in, let alone the name or make of it.
What does this have to do with sports? Probably nothing, but I think its just a good example of how complicated our world has become, sports included.
Back when I was growing up, I could tell you the starting line-up for just about every major league baseball team in the country. Remember that back then there were fewer teams and made up the American and National leagues.
Now there are I don't know how many teams and each of them swap players around so much one can't identify any particular player with any particular team. He may be playing for the Yankees tomorrow and the Diamondbacks tomorrow. Who can keep up with all this?
Another thing that is different today is professional athletes think they have to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, or whatever his name is. You don't have to a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out that all this bodybuilding is done mostly with the aide of chemicals.
Way back when, Babe Ruth, who by the way, is the greatest baseball player who ever lived regardless of how many homeruns someone may hit today, did it all on beer and hotdogs.
Nowadays players rely on steroids. Yea, there were some big guys playing the game back then, but they got that may mostly on their moma's cooking. I remember Ted Kluszewski of the White Sox that had to cut the sleeves out of his baseball jersey because his arms were too big. Ole Diz said, "he could go bear hunting with a switch."
Nowadays, one knows that they bigness doesn't come naturally. It kinda takes the excitement out of it, doesn't it?
Sure the majority are hard working, dedicated athletes that do not rely on drugs, but I'm afraid that they are becoming fewer and fewer.
It's a shame, too, that a kid that works so hard toward his goal and dedicates himself to that effort is outdone by some
guy that relies on some artificial means to enhance his performance. It's just not right.
One thing I am glad to see is the interest and attention that college baseball is getting these days. Back in my day, college baseball never made the sports section of any newspaper sports section. It just wasn't thought as newsworthy, I suppose. Major league talent came up through the ranks of the minor leagues and college baseball was thought of as a sideline.
When I was in college, baseball barely made the school yearbook and you could count on one hand the number of fans that attended an Alabama/Auburn baseball game. Now, it's getting the attention it deserves and this is one area where baseball has made progress.
Anyway, baseball has just become too complicated, even at our little league games; the shame and disgrace of parents fighting each other and even someone producing a gun at their son or daughters game.
What kind of people have we become? I heard an old fellow say one time at one of these games that the kids would have a lot more fun and workout their own problems if we made all the adults stay home.
I think he is right because back in my day, that's the way we played the game, a group of kids gather on a vacant lot and choose up teams and usually made up the ground rules as they went along. Sure, there was the occasional disagreement, but if you couldn't best the other guy with your fists, the argument was over. If a disagreement did come to blows, it was usually settled fairly quickly and the game resumed, then the next day the whole thing was forgotten.
But, the one thing that was obviously missing was adults, either cheering us on or fighting among themselves. We did it all ourselves.
As I was driving along in my little red truck watching all these cars with strange names go by, I thought times sure have changed.