The Marc Steiner Show

Marc on Baseball

 

That was some game last night at Camden Yards.   Hard fought between the Toronto Blue Jays and the O’s.  The crowd was on its feet, people did the wave over and over.  It was the bottom of the 9th,  2 outs,  bases loaded,  men walked standing on base, full count three and two, just two runs away from winning the night that was a see saw battle.  People were chanting go O’s … then the pop fly … out … it was over.  Three men left standing.  Oh well, it was beautiful night in our lovely Camden Yards.  We had great seats, six of them right down by third base. I bought ‘em at silent auction for Young Audiences, it was a steal.  Well, it was a contribution.

But I looked around and the stadium was empty. I was shocked at how empty the place was. It struck me that the more expensive the seats, the more people were in them . The bleachers, such as they are in Camden Yards (I mean by that they are still pricey but there is not a bad view in the house)  were the most empty.

The price of a ticket to a game and the cost of having a beer or a soda and some food is astronomical. My daughter Maisie and our friends’ daughter Jahia went down for some food.    I bought a beer, two waters, a crab cake, shrimp and box of popcorn.  It cost almost fifty bucks. It could have been a $200 night.

No wonder it was empty.   The economy is sinking, people are stretched paying for gas, groceries and the essentials. Who can afford baseball or football? To watch on TV you got have cable and that ain’t free either.

The time when you could turn on local TV and watch a game, or go to a game with your family of four or five, buy some food and drink, and have money left over, is gone, long gone.

I sat having another beer, eating some peanuts with our friend Sherrilyn and my lady, Valerie.  I remarked how long the game was taking.   There used to be just a seventh inning stretch. Now everyone was stretching between every inning. What was that?  Well, that was the big screen entertaining while baseball and television made their multi-millions selling advertising on television between each inning. So, a long game is even longer. Have another beer!

With all that money flowing and public money to build private stadiums, why is this simple entertainment costing us so much?   It’s more than just the huge salaries.

Maybe the owners should open up the park sometimes for less money. Go out to the middle class neighborhoods, the Latino community and inner city. Put some baseball back in the lives of people . Build tomorrow’s lovers of the game.

When the game was accessible on the tube, in your home, it belonged to everyone.   I saw a man walking down to his seat with his son. He had on an Orioles jersey with the number 34 on it and the name Hagy above it.  Remember him? Wild Bill Hagy, the Dundalk cabbie who led the cheering section in section 34 up in the bleachers of Memorial Stadium on 33rd street…. It was a people’s game then, wild, raucous, safe, and fun. And affordable!

He died not long ago.  An era went with him. 

It was still a great game, though.  Great baseball being played. We had a blast.   The girls holding up their home made Go O’s signs in orange and black trying fruitlessly to get the camera to see them so the world in Camden would see them waving on the big screen…it was fun.

Beautiful, beautiful stadium, great weather, good friends, good night …

But it ain’t the people’s game no more.

Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday thru Friday from 10AM to Noon on WEAA 88.9 FM. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Call us at 410.319.8888 or email us to participate live in the show, or share your comments on our site! Aren’t in Baltimore but want to listen? Stream the show live.


Comments

  1. I don’t understand why anyone would attend a home game of a team, whose perennial goal and highest ambition is to avoid finishing below 0.500.

    If people just want to see good baseball, stop by the field by the Medfield Heights PAL, or some other neighborhood field.

    OK, I post this comment absent my usual equanimity, and I’m not a hardcase fan of professional sports. In fact, I’m sour on the enterprise. I’m still ticked about the taxpayer-financed abandonment of Memorial Stadium, and have not attended a local pro baseball or football game since then, although I have gone to pro baseball games in other cities.

    By the way, from your conversations with Sherrilyn, have you learned if the WYPR Community Advisory Board still exists? If yes, is she still a member?

  2. It depends on when you go to the stadium. I went on a student night last year with three of my children. We got the student tickets and sat up in the upper deck out in left field. It was fantastic. There were young people actively rooting for the Orioles. Why would young people root for a team they have never seen having a winning season? I was blown away. These young guys had passion. It was great. I also work with a rabid Orioles fan. This young man is in his twenties and he can talk Orioles baseball all day long.

    I don’t think it is about the cost. The Ravens have no problem selling out their stadium and the cost is much, much higher.

    I thin the Orioles need to do more to reach out to the local community. They need to advertise. They need to emphasize that this is a BALTIMORE team, not a regional team. Putting Baltimore back on the road jerseys will go a long way to building up a loyal fan base.

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