Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

Baseball accessories: The Shin-guard

In Pet Peeves on June 13, 2009 at 2:11 pm

It is a quiet Saturday afternoon here and I just turned off the Game of the Week. Between the interleague matchup ( Mets vs. Yankees) and the broadcast team of Tim McCarver and Joe Buck, I decided that my time would be well spent otherwise. Remember the “good ole days” when we were blessed with Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek on a Saturday afternoon. What happened ?

Watching the game this afternoon, I notice how many players nowadays are wearing ankle-guards, Major League Baseball’s latest fashion statement.   In fact, today’s ballplayer is covered in armour, some of it practical – meant to protect against costly injury – but much of it cosmetic it seems.

As I just finished a book on Ty Cobb I thought to myself what would Ty Cobb think of this ? The injuries that Cobb played through during his career just boggles the mind.  Cobb once even took the field with open knife wounds, suffered in a scuffle with fans before a game.  No doubt he would be rolling – or more likely cursing, for such was Cobb  – in his grave if he saw all the additional protection that today’s player puts on before stepping into the batters box e.g. the batting gloves, the elbow braces, the ankle-guards….what is next ?

Not only are all these uniform accessories ( for lack of a better term) an eyesore but it slows down the game considerably when players have to call time to adjust their gear time and time again. No one is more guilty of this than Nomar Garciaparra who goes through a lengthy OCD ritual in which he fastens and unfastens the straps on his batting gloves several times before stepping into the box.

Anyway a far cry from yesteryear, when players, real warriors like Frank Howard, Norm Cash, Mickey Mantle, just grabbed a bat applied a little pine tar and stepped into the box to take their cuts. The game back then had a decidedly simple quality which it completely lacks nowadays.  

Why do I even watch anymore ?

Major league affectation

In Pet Peeves on June 3, 2009 at 10:38 am

Was at the Giants – Cards game last week with Lin.  Stopped off at O’Neils before the game for a couple Guinesses and a burger ( decent burgers to be found there ). Had the ’58 Hamms beer cups with me. One of the ushers stopped dead in her tracks when she saw those, said it reminded her of the old days at Candlestick. Ah yes..the old days…

Baseball has changed so much in recent years. I have noticed that whenever there is a conference at the mound these days, the pitchers and catchers have resorted to the practice of covering their mouths with their gloves – as if worried that someone in the opposing dugout is going to read their lips and tip off the batter about the upcoming sequence of pitches.  This little affectation – for such is what it is – drives me crazy.  All the more so when you have someone like Barry Zito on the mound ( I scheduled our visit to the ballpark last week around his turn in the rotation) who is going to give up a hit whatever he throws. Anyway, I wish pitchers and catchers nowadays would act like normal battery mates and discuss how to pitch to hitter instead of acting like two hoods standing outside Jiffy Liquors doing a drug deal.

“The vulgarity of too-muchness”

In Pet Peeves on May 3, 2009 at 10:49 am

Was at the ballpark on Wednesday for a Giants – Padres matinee.  What a beautiful day for a ballgame. Weather was sunny and about 70 degrees as the Giants took the field. Although I used to prefer night games, I have really come to enjoy day games now . There is a guilty pleasure one gets watching a ballgame in the sun with a cold beer ( even if it is a $9.00 beer) while others are locked ( metaphorically) in their cubicles somewhere.  And easy for me to do these days since, like millions of Americans, I was laid off a couple of months ago.

We took the BART and walked to the park from the Embarcadero station. As usual we stopped by the Bayside Deli to pick up a sandwich. Beats paying $ 10.00 for a “gourmet” hot dog inside the stadium. Those hot dogs are as grotesque as a Reubenesque woman. The last time I had one it was so soggy – because of all the junk the concessionaire loaded on it – that I had to throw it away after a bite or two ( just like that $ 10.00 down the toilet. that is a beer and $1.00 in change mind you ! )

It being Earth Day, the Giants were giving out re-usable shopping bags to the first 20,000 fans.  It seems like every time you go to the ballpark these days you get something. Among the Giants promotional events this year are:

Star Trek night (I kid you not)
Singles night
Legal Professionals night (these are bascially the only people who can still afford to go to a game )
LGBT night ( I don’t think this would go over well at Crosley Field )
Indian Heritage night
Irish Heritage night
Chinese Heritage night
Jewish Heritage night

and the list goes on and on and on.

Thinking about all this,  I am reminded of a remark the art critic Sir Kenneth Clark made about a painting by an old Dutch master Pieter de Hooch.  De Hooch’s style had changed over the years and his later paintings were much more “opulent” in their detail according to Clark who referred to this aesthetic as “the vulgarity of too muchness.” In another essay,  Clark wrote that splendour is dehumanizing, and a certain sense of limitation seems to be a condition of what we call good taste. In other words what the Giants and probably most of the other MLB teams are doing by giving away all this junk – and that is all it really is – is not in good taste.

Contrast this to the “old days” when teams had just a few promotions a year . With the Giants it was Bat Day, Ball Day, Cap Day, Helmet Day, T-Shirt Day and Fan Appreciation Day, usually the last home game of the year. Five promotional days a year and that was it. When you got your pocket schedule from the gas station at the beginning of the year , the first thing you did was to look to see when bat day was. Of course, they no longer have Bat Day. It is now “Kids Bat and Ball Set Day.”  And as you can guess from this description, you no longer get a real Hillerich and Bradsby signature model just  a cheap wiffle ball set.  

But in the meantime the cost of beer goes up. Go figure…