I have been a baseball fan all of my life. My father introduced me to the game as a child and I have been thrilled to be able to do the same for my oldest son.
I’m a fan of the game, the strategy, the tradition… the sights and sounds of the ballpark.
One of those traditions, the sounds of the stadium organist are fast becoming a thing of the past– a sad relic, replaced by a thundering dose of today’s biggest variety of rap, hip hop, hard-rock and country favorites!”, pumped out those gigantic speakers all over the ballpark. (And yes, they’ve turned the volume to 11.)
Call me crazy, but at the ballpark, I much prefer the sounds of the late Ernie Hayes over those of Drake or Justin Bieber.
When did this start? Was it when every hitter decided they had to have their own theme music as they approached the batters box? Was it a response to the notion that baseball had become tired and stale and that it needed to liven up he “in-game experience” for younger fans? Maybe a combination of both.
I get the fact that Major League Baseball, like any organization, has to grow with the times–and that’s perfectly understandable. The core of the sport however and it’s appeal to fans–much more so than the other professional sports leagues, has always been based in preserving it’s traditions. Baseball is our “national pastime” for a good reason.
George Carlin used to do a classic comedy bit about the comparisons between baseball and football which illustrates the point.
What got me thinking about this is a terrific essay written by Huey Lewis….yes, that Huey Lewis. He sees things much the same way as I do:
“The murmur of tens of thousands of people in a baseball park, vendors hollering about beer and hot dogs, along with the thrilling crack of a bat hitting a ball, an umpire’s throaty call, and the occasional player’s whistle or cry of “I got it!” is a wonderful symphony of sounds that we almost never get to hear anymore. Fortunately, most venues halt the music when the action starts, but not always, and not exactly, and that can be doubly infuriating. And, yes, it’s often played too loud.”
I couldn’t agree more. Maybe it really is hip to be square.