Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Looks like the Mets had an upheaval in recent days. Finally, after years of prodding from the fans, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez are finally gone, along with a hunk of cash. Castillo left with 6 million dollars, while Oliver Perez, not wanting to be outdone took 12 million of those dwindling Wilpon dollars with him. Doesn’t leave much for the Mets to play with under their current conditions, does it.

That brings us to the Season of 2011 which starts in about 10 days.  The Mets have a reasonably good team, but not good enough.  Also some players are in the last year of a contract, which means more financial upheaval could be on the horizon.

That’s baseball.The problems of the past several years have reduced the average everyday attendance, and that has reduced the Mets revenue and is upsetting the Mets balance sheets.

There is also the matter of the money-eating Citi Field. Of course, the new place isn’t really a ballpark, more like an amusement park with a baseball diamond smack dab in the middle. Even during the most exciting games, you will see people meandering around the stadium’s many foot courts, attractions and souvenir stands, and not really paying any attention to the game or simply watching the game on one of the hundred or so TVs…maybe. Why did they even come? I guess it’s still a night out on the town. I heard of some people who go to the game to wait four innings on a long line to pay $8.75 for a burger and then head for the exits after the seventh inning to beat the traffic out of the parking lot they paid twenty bucks to get into.

It seems as though the Mets didn’t give much thought to what was really supposed to be going on at this site, but just wanted income from every part of the ‘stadium’.  And the owners apparently misjudged the amount of income that Citi Park would bring in, necessitating the completely ridiculous costs of tickets to the games. That’s another story, but it’s no wonder why fewer fans show up on a regular basis – they just cannot afford it.

Baseball has a long tradition in America – and it’s still called the National Pastime, rightfully so, going all the way back into another century.  But how long will it remain America’s game? I’m wondering about the children that are brought to see a baseball game – do they really watch?  Or are they distracted by all the other things to do there.  I remember as a small child being taken to baseball games all over by my dad, and being armed with a pencil to keep my scorecard. 

When Dad took me to games as a child, the first thing he taught me was to keep a scorecard and for years I kept my ‘collection’.  I still have a special one hanging on my office wall. I doubt that many kids today even know what a scorecard is let alone what to do with one. I learned to love the game, not the stadium.

We’re losing the kids, folks, and for a couple of reasons, one is the cost to bring the child into the ballpark, and the other is all the distractions around the ball field. 
For baseball memories, I often tune into the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, yes I do get NESN and I watch it, too.  All I have to do is see a couple of shots of the old ballpark and I realize that there are a few places where the game still comes first. Wouldn’t you know that the stadium that was built so long ago has every seat sold.  And then I remember that it’s in New England where the good old days of sports are still good.
So, in a couple of weeks or so, we are off into another season of baseball, mainly with prices that are way above what the average family can afford. Still, if you can can bare the high costs, take your kids to a ballgame and buy them a scorecard. Show them how to record everything and watch them fall in love with the game.