Friday, June 15, 2012

Corporate sports and breakfast cereals: I just don't get it! (a rant)

The Toronto Blue Jays against the Washington Nationals at Rogers Centre, in the shadow of the CN Tower. June 13th.
Perhaps it was because I expected to be wowed, to be amazed. But my experience at watching professional baseball was extremely disappointing! It was 2.5 hours of extremely mind-numbing boredom. Here you have guys going in and out of the dugout for the innings, warming up, stretching, throwing the ball around to warm up. The actual combined action probably amounted to a total of 5 minutes. Any excitement  in the stadium was generated by the staff who gamely tried to initiate "the wave", by the the announcers who may as well have said, "hey people, you just paid good money for this game so you better be having fun so you can rationalize your wasted money and time", by meaningless stats, by the occasional panning of the camera on the crowd to get people to be excited about "being on camera" for their 5 sec of fame.
Show me a game of rep soccer of 12-18 year-olds any day: now there's action from beginning to end.
Show me a game of pickup basketball of once-athletic 40-50 year-olds and I'll get excited.
Show me a chess game between two excellent chess players and I'll pay attention.
Furthermore, the concession stands were outrageously overpriced! $10.50 for a tall boy beer ($2.00 at the LCBO), $4.75 for french fries ($1.75 max at New York fries), $4.75 for Dasani water. (People are not allowed to bring food from outside... it's like airport security at the turnstiles). And there's the $7.50 mini Louiseville Slugger bat (made in China) that would be $1.25 at Dollarama (if they could pay the hefty licensing fee).
And there's the traffic after the game. What a f***ing waste of time.
Later today, I'll be watching the Guelph Royals for an inter-county game at Exhibition Park in Guelph. It should be fun sitting in the stands on a hot summer day, mere metres from the action, watching players who play solely for the fun of it, with affordable drinks and snacks. This is what baseball should be like. Baseball is not so much a game as it is a social and cultural experience. The action is just not on the field but also with the people around you.
There's something to be said for the local and the familiar.
And what about breakfast cereals? That's for another blog entry on corporate interests imposing an unhealthy practice to generate untold billions of dollars.
Full disclosure: This trip to the baseball game was initiated by my son's school for the 9-10 year-olds. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip as it was a chance to be with the kids, to watch their amazement at the game, at the CN Tower, at the festive atmosphere, at the "wonders" of the unique Slurpie at the concession stand. Our kids are growing up before our eyes and we should all take the opportunity to spend time with them as much as we can. 
Many thanks to Mr. R and the parents who came with us.
My negative comments on the day are solely on the idea of corporate sports itself, about the hijacking of a meaningful sport for the sake of making money.

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