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THE CHANGING CULTURE OF BASEBALL

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 3, 2019

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– My visit to Atlanta’s SunTrust Park.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently took a few days off to do a little fly fishing in North Carolina with some old High School buddies from Cincinnati. Along the way, we decided to stop off in Atlanta to see the Braves play the Reds, our hometown favorite. The game was to be played at SunTrust Park, a stadium recently opened in 2017 and holds approximately 41,000 people. This was the first time we visited the park and friends told us we would love it. Frankly, it didn’t quite work out that way.

It was a Saturday night and the Braves were leading their division. As such, it was a full house. Parking was hard to come by, not to mention expensive. Just outside the stadium was a concourse featuring a variety of bistros, bars, and restaurants, all crowded with patrons. We therefore decided to grab something to eat inside the stadium. Admittedly, there were many different venues, all of which were also jammed with people. I was fortunate to secure a bag of popcorn, which took several minutes to scoop into a bag. Those of us who endured the long lines for something else to eat weren’t particularly impressed with the cuisine. Strike 1.

Our group grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s and have fond memories of baseball back then, particularly the Big Red Machine. We’re the type of guys who study how the defense is lined up on the field, the rational of the batting lineup, how the batter points his feet and holds the bat, the signs from the catchers and coaches, how the pitcher delivers the throw, etc. It is not about if a team scores a run or prevents it, but HOW it is done, if that makes any sense to you. We marvel at a good bunt, a stolen base, a long throw on target, getting inside the pitcher’s head, communications on the field, etc. Home runs are nice, but as people who have studied the game for over half a century, we tend to be more impressed by the other mechanics of the game. Yes, we’re old school.

SunTrust Park is an architectural beauty, but I think it lacked sufficient navigation to get around the stadium, particularly when it is a full house. I found it rather confusing not only to get to our seats, which were on the second tier near third base, but also exiting. Frankly, it took us forever to get in and out of there.

Our seating was comparable to other parks, but I unfortunately ended up on the end seat (right side) next to the stairs. This meant I was up and down like a pogo stick as patrons in my row came and went. Further, I wasn’t able to see the field too well as people were constantly going up and down the stairs. Maybe they should pass a law that you can only move in-between innings. For me, this greatly detracted from the game, so I left my seat to watch it standing from the top of my section. Over time, my legs tired and I returned to my seat where I sat like a bobble-head trying unsuccessfully to see the field. Strike 2.

Two things bothered me about the game, the constant barrage of advertising to induce us to buy their souvenirs and just about anything else, and; the constant push to entertain us between innings. I always thought the game was supposed to be the entertainment, but I guess I was wrong. The Braves are known for their “tomahawk” chop and chant, which I believe they stole from Florida State, and I don’t have an issue with them using it now and then, but every five minutes? They even dimmed the stadium lights so people could do the chop using the light on their smart phones. Okay, once, I get it, but multiple times? Enough is enough. This is what I mean by “forced entertainment.” I came to watch a game, not participate in these inane shenanigans.

Talking to one of my friends there regarding the stadium, I made the observation SunTrust Park was not designed for baseball purists such as ourselves from a bygone era, but rather for the millennials and Generation Z who come for a social getaway, libations, and just to party. Whereas we came for baseball, they came “to make the scene,” and it just so happened a baseball game broke out that evening. Personally, I consider this sad, but I believe this is the trend of the future. It is no longer about the game, but about creating an entertainment event instead.

In the end, it was interesting to see, but I, for one, will not be back. Nor did it endear me to the Braves. Strike 3.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also do not forget my new books, “How to Run a Nonprofit” and “Tim’s Senior Moments”, both available in Printed and eBook form.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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One Response to “THE CHANGING CULTURE OF BASEBALL”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    An M.B. in Clearwater, Florida wrote…

    “Baseball on TV is so much better. All the benefits in your own easy chair. Good prices for food and beverages without long lines. No waiting lines in the restrooms. When I yell during the game it’s just feels good.

    Thanks for your story and the three strike outs, so true. “

    Like

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