Fanless Pro Ball Games – Why Bother?

fanless-baseball

PATRICK SEMANSKY - AP

Suppose They gave a pro baseball game – and nobody came.

An empty stadium with players on the field is too Twilight Zone for words. And it’s nonsensical, really. The fun of a ballgame comes from the people in the stands, at least if you’re there. Most of the people I have seen at Wrigley are pretty oblivious to the action on the field. It’s more about the selfies and how cute the girls look in their baseball hats with pigtails sticking out, and for some of us, the beer and the hot dogs.

Where do the players think their salaries come from? It’s those $275 tickets, and $8 beers, and $5 hot dogs, and $50 parking. Take that away, and you’re cutting back a lot of bucks from those $30 million a year salaries. The games would become like pickup games at a Park District, where grown men relive their glory days with only adoring girlfriends and curious old people watching

The fanless stadium is not ideal, according to Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson. “It’s not something we’re going to necessarily enjoy, fans not being there. But if it’s something we have to do, you have to pay that price.”

I don’t have to pay any price, Hoss. If baseball goes away for the season, I don’t really care. And if your overblown salary goes away, too, well, that’s the price YOU pay. You and your overpaid owners. You are nonessential.

babe-hot-dogsBroadcast games are meant for bars mostly, except for the stalwart hardcore fans who sit through whole games on TV. With bars closed, the whole thing pales a bit. But for the people who actually watch games on TV, I have a suggestion. I have been watching old clips of Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron and Carl Yastrzemski – and, yeah, Harry Caray, who may only have picked up a bat that one time August Busch came home early to find Harry with his wife.

The fans packing Yankee stadium whooping it up when The Babe came to the plate. That sea of straw boaters, and the lusty yells that knocked upon the outfield wall and recoiled at home plate. The days before steroids and corked bats embarrassed Chicago. The days before Barry Bonds’ head turned into a big brown globe.

Seeing The Bambino step up to a plate without anyone in the stands would be filled with pathos – genuine sadness. You’d expect somebody to recite Grantland Rice’s poem “Game Called” which he wrote at the passing of The Babe.

Let’s wait this one out, fellas. A vaccine might happen, though not in any kind of Trumpian time frame. Let’s take the bench for a while, grill a hot dog or two, and remember the ones we had when we could cheer and boo as much as we wanted, in the stands, where we belonged, with our best buddies sitting right next to us.

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