Sam

Posts Tagged ‘Rangers’

Parade of Millionaires

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 at 1:30 am

Watching the Rangers celebration following their victory against the Yankees the other day, I couldn’t help but think of Chris Chambliss’s game winning home run off Mark Littell in game 5 of the 1976 AL Championship series. Remember that scene of total pandemonium as fans spilled out of the stands and onto the field. Chambliss could not even finish rounding the bases but headed straight for the dugout after touching second base. In fact some of the baseball’s most memorable images are as much about the fans as they are about any player or great play. Another example is the timeless picture of Bill Mazeroski’s crossing the plate as he is mobbed by fans after his HR in game 7 of the 1960 World Series.

Contrast these images to the highly choreographed celebrations that we see during the playoffs and World Series nowadays. The Rangers , for example, took a “victory lap” and then ascended a stage that had been erected out by second base where they accepted the AL Championship trophy and gave interviews on National TV while sipping Ginger Ale. The whole thing looked more like a political convention than a pennant celebration. Fans, of course, were not allowed onto the field. They never are any more. Alas.

I have often wondered about this. When I was a kid you always looked forward to that last out of the World Series when fans spilled out onto the field in unbridled joy and anarchy. In fact, they still allow this in college sports. Watch an NCAA football game and you will see fans routinely tear down goal posts after an upset. But MLB for some reason no longer allows fans on the field and teams, come playoff time, line the perimeter of the field with heavy security to prevent such behavior.

The cynical side of me says that they do this not to protect fans, as teams are wont to say, but to protect the players and, more importantly, the millions and millions of dollars invested in them. Regardless, the result is that great moments do not become great images. Compare Chambliss’s HR to Aaron Boones HR in game 7 of the 2003 AL Championship series. Although both home runs sent the Yankees to the World Series, Boone’s home run, one could argue, was much more dramatic coming as it did in extra innings against the arch rival Red Sox. Yet that moment is not imprinted in our minds because there was no ensuing celebration like we saw with the Chamblis home run. Fans were kept off the field while Boone simply rounded the bases and went into the dugout. One of the great finishes in baseball history ended just like any other game.

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San Francisco was once a good baseball town.

In Uncategorized on October 23, 2010 at 8:56 pm

There was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle a few days ago about the insanely astronomical prices of World Series tickets. According to the article prices on one popular website tickets for Game 1 in San Francisco run from $ 390.00 for standing room up to $ 91,000 for a premium box seat behind the plate or dugout ( yes, folks, that’s ninety-one thousand dollars to watch a ballgame ). On another website mentioned in the article prices were more “reasonable,” starting at about $500 for standing room and going up to about $12,000 for a prime seat. Oddly enough, while the Giants themselves sanction this type of activity on websites like Stub Hub, where season ticket holders sell their tickets usually for two or three times the face value. if you go to AT&T Park you will see signs outside prohibiting scalping. Don’t ever ask the Giants about this and expect to get an answer. I have tried.

San Francisco used to be a fan-friendly baseball town, meaning you could always walk up to the box office on the day of the game and get a ticket. Even for playoff games tickets were available to the general public ( this term no longer means everyone unfortunately but your average working stiff who is making under $40.000 and sending his kids to an under-performing public school because that is all he can afford ) Unfortunately all this has changed since the team moved to AT&T Park. Locating the ballpark on the edge of the Financial District has attracted a new demographic to Giants games: The Yuppie. Because the Yuppie tends not to be knowlegable about baseball and thinks nothing of spending a hundred dollars for a ticket, he/she is targeted by the ticket broker who buys up all the seats. This is the law of supply and demand at its most basic. Yuppie demands, Ticket broker supplies. Price increases.

All the while, the people who really make the city run, the people who have lived in San Francisco most of their lives, the people who have paid taxes and raised their children in San Francisco, the people who spent their childhoods at Candlestick and know who Jim Ray Hart is, the Muni drivers, the clerks at City Hall, the concierges at the city’s hotels are priced out of enjoying a ballgame.

There is something just not right about this.