Volume 96, Issue 10
Friday September 13, 2002

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America's game

The Hick
Ryan Hickman
Sports Editor

"Baseball is a dull game only for those with dull minds."
– Red Smith

Back when baseball was the lifeblood of the North American sporting scene, sports writers like Red Smith of the New York Times spun poetic prose about the sport's finer sublets that makes the game beautiful. Today baseball is cut and clipped into sterile cubes of stimulant – home runs, diving catches and crashing plays at the plate only seen on nightly highlight shows. Baseball's intrigue and the games' intangible mental duels are all but lost to today's sports fan. But is baseball to blame, or does the problem sit with the people watching?

When you look into baseballs' eyes, do you see yourself? What I mean is in the 1940s and '50s, baseball was king in both the United States and Canada and the general public had a deep admiration and respect for the game. Afternoon ball games were broadcasted on the radio and the game took shape in a person's mind. Fans went to the games in droves and stayed the entire time, often keeping track of every play by score-keeping from their own seat.

Today, attendance and general interest is waning. Even those who frequent live ball games generally leave prematurely and just pay attention when a home run ball might come flying their way or when dancing milk cartons race each other on the big screen. Patience in our world is all but lost and that has trickled down to the sports fan.

Yes, baseball is flawed in some different ways, but the game itself has not changed over the decades – the fans have.

The game of baseball is a microcosm of society and sports fans in general. Some sports fans seem to be suffering from ADD. Baseball is a craft of split second subtitles and lengthy struggles of the physical and mental nature. Sports fans of our generation have grown within a sports world of flash and dash that has no patience or market for the thinking man's game of baseball. Are our minds "dull" like Red Smith suggested?

Baseball is walking instead of driving. Baseball is sending a letter instead of e-mail. Baseball is patience in an impatient world.

There are two things left in baseball – pitching and pennant races – that everybody can still hold onto. Pitching for the intellect and pennant races for the emotion. Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling are defying the bloated offensive game with dominating pitching for Arizona and the National and American League West pennant races make every game gripping.

Baseball is not dead – all you need is a little patience.

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2002 THE GAZETTE