Minor league baseball is the great equalizerWritten by Matt Sussman | | email@example.com
It took until June 26, but I finally got out to my first Mud Hens game of the season. It was a crucial game in the Hens home stand, as they were looking to take the final game of a series against Durham. The game would have given them momentum as they push higher in the International League standings and … wait, I just remembered not everyone cares that much about how well Triple-A teams do in a season.
On that same night, the Tigers took an early 4-0 lead against the Astros. This was the game that “mattered,” per se. I was tracking that game on my phone, because I am part of the ADHD generation, and one game just isn’t enough to keep my attention.
In fact, if they could squeeze in a keyboard-playing cat between innings, I’d be set.
And it was probably the worst night for the fruit-fly attention span in Toledo, because the game lasted 15 innings. Across the stadium, hundreds of girlfriends were resenting their significant others with every passing inning. The Hens ended up losing to Durham 5-3, and we stayed so long, we had no interest in sticking around longer for the post-game fireworks.
I’m sure the guys in the Toledo dugout were pretty nonplussed about the way the game went. When you put four hours and 37 minutes into any endeavor — sports or otherwise — you expect some kind of positive return. But, as strange as it was, I was more broken up about the Tigers blowing that 4-0 lead earlier in the evening, losing 5-4. (Thanks, Zumaya!) So for those keeping score at home, a ballgame watched on my BlackBerry was more irritating than the one in front of my very eyes.
A couple of years ago, I was a guest on BBC World Radio for about 30 seconds — this is a bizarre story for another time — in a discussion about how sports can be a negative influence in culture. I said that some fans could become overzealous to the point where losses affect one’s mood more than it should. And because I didn’t have enough time to completely illustrate my point, let’s finish that thought, several months later.
It’s very easy to get caught up in a baseball team doing well. But the excitement can soon turn into warped priorities. Yes, it was too bad that the Tigers lost that night. But so what? Will our own personal problems go away if Detroit wins a World Series? Obviously not, but sometimes perspective can get lost.
And that’s where minor league baseball comes in. It’s the great equalizer. Fans can see top-level competition with a great view for a competitive price. The score at the end of the day is irrelevant to the audience, which was the whole mission of sports in the first place: to ensure everyone has fun.
E-mail Matt Sussman at firstname.lastname@example.org.