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Over at Craig "Shyster" Calcattera's NBC Sports blog, I had an Andy Rooney moment after reading a post he made regarding a failed attempt at a start-up baseball league in 1959. The comment being more substantive than anything I've posted here in a while, I thought I should re-post it here.

Call me crazy, but I could see the idea of a rival league gaining momentum in the not-too-distant future as the live game experience continues down the path toward stimulatory overload. Assuming that chairback touchscreen monitors and the like will become MLB-wide status quo within a few decades (and assuming that most farm and indy-league teams will piggyback), I expect an underserved market of fans to emerge whose ideal live baseball experience is still an escape from their plugged-in, clamorous world--not the extension of it that MLB have become. It seems the market is already palpable, and it's not just made up of people over fifty.

I'm 25. I love the internet. I love loud music. I love things that flash lights and make noise when I touch them. However, I do not desire these things when I'm watching live baseball. Some things go together well. Others do not. Modern MLB games are like fine merlot with Skittles and a side of fireworks. I long to be one of those fans in the grainy newsreel footage, and I worry for the fate of the endangered organist.
I think this crackpot theory of mine was cemented Friday night when I went to the Sox game with Zuch and a few other friends. Granted, it was a cold night game, and we sat in the club section (ahem, the LG Skyline Club section, as Hawk Harrelson so dutifully refers to it each time a foul ball lands there), which can distort the perceptions a bit. But even still, that familiar good vibe I always get at baseball games was hard to find. Too many colors, too much motion, too much "(I Don't Wanna Lose) Your Love."

Of course, it's not just the Cell. I'm fairly certain the P.A. at Wrigley is several decibels louder than it was, say, six or seven years ago. And for what? A more intense atmosphere? Regular-season baseball is as much about intensity as government work. Trying to fabricate intensity with intro music is futile and obnoxious.

Whether it spawns interest in a new league or not, I do think the tension between escapism and sobriety is poised to build in the next few decades. Ideally, it wouldn't be an all A versus all B choice; rather, both A and B would be a ticket away.

Us romantics have grudgingly tolerated the MLB on FOX for fifteen years, but if we can no longer enjoy the live experience, it may be time to split the congregation and start a new church.


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