I am 90 days into this project and I am kind of shocked that I have made it this far! I have been from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and back again. I have seen baseball being played all over the South, Southwest, and the West! Yesterday, I didn’t put out much of a post, it was only the third time that I wasn’t able to write to much in the past 90 days. I have to say that I am amazed that I have been able to find things to continue to write about everyday and that you continue to read what I write. Just a quick note, my post is one that you check on from time to time. I know some of my family and friends read it everyday, and I know that it probably gets a little stale at times. I thank all my loyal followers. I did have one friend tell me she has a hard time keeping up with all my posts and that she feels guilty! Well I say “Screw Guilt”, if you don’t read it daily or don’t enjoy what I write, no worries! I am just grateful that you read even one posting!
I am learning a lot about the game of baseball, the people that follow the game, and all that participate in it. I am seeing how games are marketed to the public at the different levels. I’m learning how prominent Major League Baseball’s influence is and how it wants the game to be perceived. I’m keeping my mind open to all the experiences, trying to temper my expectations and holding out hope that I will get to witness the game in its “purest” form. I can’t exactly explain what I mean by that, but I will let you know if and when it happens.
As I have been driving from city to city, I have gotten to examine my life while getting small glimpses into other communities that are different than my own. I’m finding that ALL have a lot more in common than I would have guessed. I have gotten off the “incorporatized” intrastate highways and have seen extreme poverty and arrogant wealth. For as large as this country is, it has become very small in culture and tradition. We are a marketing machine. When something works in Phoenix, you can be sure that it is going to be replicated in Savannah and Houston. This is just my observation and I have found things that have surprised me. I hope those traditions stick around since they are truly unique experiences in Hattiesburg, Starkville, Baton Rouge and Clemson.
Plato or Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living”, I love this quote. As I look back over the past 90 days of baseball and how it interacts with everyday life, I can say honestly that it is truly America’s Pastime. The pundits say it is on the decline, I agree with them in the sense that the attendance at professional sporting venues might be declining, however, the game itself is being played everywhere and the unique traditions are being upheld especially at the college level. From Colorado Mesa University to UCLA to Mississippi State the atmosphere is different and unique; however, I can’t say the same about the minor league ballparks in the same geographic region.
If Major League Baseball is truly worried about the “fan experience” they wouldn’t be putting out such a homogeneous product at every venue. The new stadiums are all becoming alike. I call this, “The Baseball Entertainment Complex designed to suck every last dollar out of you” syndrome. My criticism may seem harsh but it isn’t and there are bright spots. I love what the San Diego Padres did with Petco Park along with some other unique places. For the most part, the venues offer food that is very bland and terrible save a few places. The interest in the game is still huge but to spend the kind of money required to go to a ball game is way too much for the average family.
Early on in this adventure I focused on a fan at a specific game watching a specific team, I wanted to build my following. I have since gone on to blog about the different venues and now I am talking about different experiences within the game, i.e. keeping score and listening to the game on the radio. The project and journey is evolving. I want to say that I am finding a lot of happiness doing this and I hope that I can finish it. Money will eventually become a factor, I hope I can raise more, continue to get donations and hopefully I can sell more hats and shirts. People will say that I probably shouldn’t have been critical of the MLB, especially if I want to work with them in the future. I say if they are that sensitive, or offended, then they are not paying attention to what I am actually trying to tell them, “They have a great product but they need to continue to diversify the experience.”
Some people have said that I am escaping the day to day grind of living, since I am not paying attention to what is happening around the world. I agree, this is an escape from the “noise box”. Bad things happen every day and it can be overwhelming to the senses. If you are like me you start to feel a little guilty for being happy and content. I have my opinions on many things, I express them when I need to. I am lucky and very happy to be doing what I am doing, I don’t take it for granted. Someone told me today not to forget to stop and smell the roses. As I have came in and out of cities, I have forgotten to just stop and take it all in at times. Next time I see a beautiful winding river I hope I remember to stop to take some time to enjoy. Maybe I will lay down on the river’s bank to read one of my historical baseball books, or just take a nap, taking in the sound of the water rolling by.
If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014”, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at www.baseballbuddha.com. Follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page! Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get!