Monday, July 8, 2019

Nurse the Hate: Thoughts On The All-Star Game



The MLB All Star Game hoopla is in Cleveland this week.  Yesterday a stadium full of people watched a “celebrity” softball game that included such luminaries as actress Stephanie Beatriz, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, Colton Underwood, Jerry Lorenzo, Priah Ferguson, and Annual AA.  (No, I don’t know who any of those people are either…)  I suppose it would have been a pleasant day to drink $10.50 Bud Lights in the sunshine, but it might have been even nicer if you weren’t at a baseball stadium being pummeled by corporate sponsor messages.

Tonight, is the Home Run Derby where MLB stars crush batting practice pitch home runs and the announcers struggle to make it seem like something is really happening.  This is a wildly popular event, though I have no idea why.  It’s much worse on TV having to suffer through Chris Berman saying “Back! Back! Back!  Back!  Back!” over and over again as MLB players do what they do and crush bunny pitches.  Chris Berman might not even do the announcing any longer as I haven’t watched it in years.  I imagine that the rest of the country got sick of his schtick at some point too, but then again people love “America’s Got Talent”, super hero movies, and nacho fries, so that’s not a given. 

The game itself is on Tuesday.  From my memory the player introductions and pre-game festivities last longer than the actual game, which is a feat unto itself as most baseball games now routinely last 4.5 hours each.  There will be a maximum of nationalistic rituals of various war horse songs like “America the Beautiful” sung by tired former stars with tenuous ties to Cleveland (is Gerald LaVert still alive?) and probably a corporate placement of an artist baseball fans have never heard of singing the National Anthem.  “Ladies and gentleman, please welcome current chart-topping artists Marshmello and Bastille as they sing the National Anthem!”  Cut to video of a guy in a marshmallow costume head dancing around a couple turntables while some asshole raps over it as confused middle-aged white-collar corporate ticket holders ask each other “who is that?”.  Then a bunch of air force jets roar over and fireworks explode into the American Flag.  The disinterested Latin American players will try not to have their hamstrings tighten up from standing as they wait the ceremonies out.  USA!  USA!  USA!

Meanwhile all the local media coverage will reveal the true identity of NE Ohio.  Only in Cleveland is an event like this covered with the tone of “we don’t really deserve this, and I can’t believe it is happening!”.  No one seems to understand that it is imperative to act like you have been there before and belong.  It’s not in anyone’s best interest to say things like “Can you believe all the stars are HERE in Cleveland this week?” while practically jumping up and down at a Stephanie Beatriz sighting (whoever that is).  After the smoke clears, the talking heads will move onto statements like “We talked to many fans here and they all said they were pleasantly surprised by how nice it was here and how friendly the people are on the North Coast!”.  Do you think if this event was in Boston, or San Francisco, the local media would be excitedly telling viewers “People liked it here!  See!  We hoped they would, and they said they did!  Oh boy!”?  No way.  This tone makes the city come off like losers.  I just hope they work in the ubiquitous mentions of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Metroparks to solidify how wonderful life is here in NE Ohio.  Cleveland should take the Daredevils tongue in cheek motto and run with it; “Cleveland: Slightly Better Than You Expected”.

By Wednesday morning all the corporate carpet baggers, players and agents will have jetted off to their respective lairs.  The All-Star Game, completely meaningless, will have already been forgotten.  The City will pathetically await national praise that will not come.  The City Fathers will then gear up for the next corporate driven logofest and think, “This next one is The One!  After that, they will love us for sure!”.  Meanwhile, I will think about when I was a kid and went to the 1980 All Star game at the old Municipal Stadium with all my friends.  We bought tickets for under $20 and cheered on our favorite players.  I can’t remember if anyone sang the anthem and sure as hell there wasn’t a guy in a costume doing it or any military flyovers.  There wasn’t a sponsored activity area or sea of merchandise tents.  There was a pretty good baseball game though.  It’s a truism of baseball.  As the sport continues to gray, it reveals the most important fact of all.  Baseball was always better in the past and your memories are always sweeter than the present.       
       


1 Comments:

At July 22, 2019 at 5:34:00 AM EDT , Blogger AZ said...

Indeed.

 

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