“Today™s crowd, raised on the hysteria of rock concerts and crazed TV show jump-cuts and hype,” opines The Columnists.com’s Gerald Nachman (above), “don™t seem to notice how the surrounding racket at otherwise handsome and tasteful modern ball parks has done everything it can to ruin the classic human dimensions of the game by drowning it out in gimmickry and superfluous noise.” So there’s one thumbs-down for the educational credibility of Reyes University, then, as Nachman recounts a grueling evening at SF’s AT&T Park spent trying to concentrate on the Giants and Rockies (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
The noise between innings–and between batters–was excruciating, the music and visual hype cranked up to hysterical levels as the scoreboard exhorted fans throughout the game to ˜MAKE MORE NOISE!!! A robot organist tried with pathetic insistence to energize the crowd. Meanwhile, the Jumbotron flashed so much endless and useless information on the confusing scoreboard (like watching a TV game at home on a screen littered with arcane stats) that it all but obscured the modest game below. It was hard to locate the one thing you wanted to keep track of–the balls, strikes, outs and who was at bat.
The fans obliged unconvincingly, having by now been trained like Pavlovian dogs to howl when a bell clangs, but the maniacal order to MAKE MORE NOISE!!! went largely unheeded; even the most exuberant fans have by now pretty much learned to ignore the incessantly raucous sound battering.
The female public address announcer shrieked the name of every man who came to bat as if was the ninth game of the World Series and everything was on the line: œNow batting¦Juan Urrrrrr-eeeee-bay!!! All that bush league screeching for the hometown nine has worn everyone down–yet it goes on mindlessly. As someone said, America is a Big Event country, in which everything is built into a monumental moment–chili cook-offs on TV food shows, models in runway match-ups, brides choosing their wedding gown. Any routine human endeavor has become a heavyweight championship fight on TV. But it has now spread to all parts of the culture off TV, even this quietest of sports–outside of tennis and golf, which somehow have resisted the marketing of excitement.
Nachman seems glum that today’s ballgame experience differs radically from afternoons spent with his dad watching the Oakland Oaks, and while I’m tempted to dismiss his criticism as the ramblings of an old crank, he’s not entirely full of shit. If you’re actually interested in baseball rather than excessive displays of public douchebaggery, a major league ballpark isn’t necessarily the most welcome environment.
Putting aside for a moment whether or not supporters of a rugby league team once known as The Glassblowers have the right to abuse anyone, Castleford RLFC have appealed a £40,000 fine after a segment of their fans aimed homophobic chants at Wrexham Crusaders’ Gareth Thomas (above). The club’s defense, as reported by the Guardian’s Andy Wilson, will go down in history as something almost as flimsy any anything conjured by Robert Chambers’ attorneys.
“To say we are disappointed and shocked is an understatement,” said their chief executive, Richard Wright. “The evidence does not support the decision and does not in any way support the scale of the penalty. We totally refute the outcome of the hearing.”
They have engaged Rod Findlay, formerly the RFL’s own legal adviser, who said: “There was some chanting on the day, we agreed this with the tribunal panel, there were three incidents lasting only a few moments, two of which were drowned out by public address announcements.
“The club condemns any person who makes or chants obscene remarks towards players or officials. But the charges against the club are not that there was chanting, they are that the club failed to take its best endeavours to prevent or stop any chanting. This the club refutes totally. The club has a well-established system for dealing with chanting and could not have done any more on the day.
Half of the £40,000 fine has been suspended, but the Tigers will still have to pay £40,000 immediately because a suspended fine of £20,000 following last year’s incident “ in which their supporters threw beer bottles on to the pitch and abused the match officials “ will now be activated.
Having not watched a ton of Marlins games this season, I was unaware Scott Stapp, much like Bobby Valentine, was close friends with Jeffrey Loria. Mocking the artistic output of the former Creed vocalist would ordinarily provide all the sport of blowing up an ant hill with a bazooka, but the young analyst shown above has the sort of POV that’s sorely lacking from most music blogging in 2010.
“The main thing he wanted to get across was that at times guys like Carlos, they don’t know how to handle or how to fire up a team,” Millar said on “MLB Tonight.” “There wasn’t one play that made him mad, it was just the whole team and the way they’ve been playing made him mad and then he was frustrated, he said, after his inning and came in and was basically trying to pump all the guys up.”
Millar said Zambrano told him last week he wanted Carlos Silva “to do something to the team because he’s doing well and Carlos Zambrano said that he knew he wasn’t the right guy to do this at this time because of his struggles.”
Millar said he told Zambrano: “Straight up, I said… ‘You can’t say the team’s playing like girls … You can’t say that this whole team that’s not clicking for some reason’ or ‘We’re not playing hard’ because he’s a big part of that problem.
“Now him (Zambrano’s) going to anger management counseling…I think this is the new fad that we’re trying to show that at least there’s an effort there.”
I’m not sure which is more amazing ; consecutive Nationals items on CSTB or that neither of them discuss dismembering Willie Harris. Either way, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley reports the surging White Sox and their general manager Kenny Williams have expressed interest in Washington 1B/DH/strikeout machine Adam Dunn.
Dunn’s name has gained steam in the rumor mill, with the Nationals now willing to part ways with their free-agent-to-be first baseman and try to build a talented group of young arms around pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg.
But Williams is working against the Los Angeles Angels, who are starting to turn up their efforts to acquire Dunn. And most of the Sox’ highly regarded pitching prospects were dealt in previous trades to acquire Jake Peavy and Juan Pierre.
After right-hander Daniel Hudson, there’s a big drop in the Sox’ system to Carlos Torres and Santos Rodriguez. One movable piece would be third baseman Brent Morel, who seems to be in a logjam behind Dayan Viciedo and the three-year, $14 million extension Williams gave Mark Teahen this winter.
What became clear last weekend was that money no longer is the issue for adding Dunn, considering he’s making $12 million this year and almost half of that is off the books with June about to flip.