Several times a year I’ll hear someone give baseball a hard time, go off on a wild diatribe about how they’d rather watch a heated game of bridge at the local rest home than a live baseball game. It’s boring. Nothing happens. It’s slow. I don’t disagree with some of those points. In person, your everyday baseball game can be boring. Sometimes they drag on for hours with no end in sight (see every time the Yankees play the Red Sox), but what I don’t understand is how these same people go to and enjoy football games. I like going to football games, but I have my limits. I’d say maybe two regular season games a year is my perfect number. I like to tailgate. I like to hang out and have a couple of drinks, but once that game starts I must think 1,000 times, “I miss my remote control.” Football in person is incredibly slow, slower than baseball could ever dare to be. Football is a TV sport. Hockey is great live. Baseball falls somewhere in the middle. Just to note, I’m speaking mostly of regular season games here. All post-season games are inherently more exciting, though the TV breaks during the Super Bowl must be insufferable.
Fans still pour into stadiums, though. They brave the elements, they pay ridiculous premiums for beer and food, they put up with downtime and limited highlight opportunities all so they can say they were at the game. Did you see that game? Well, I WAS THERE! It’s a big deal, and people measure part of their fandom based on how many games they attend and the fervor they reach while in attendance. Someone with a 18-game Phillies plan might consider them a pretty big fan, but in truth if those are the only games they really watch they are likely dwarfed by the person who watches every inning on Comcast. There are just different ways to go about the experience.
Of course, this week we hear about a new reason to attend the games in person. Perhaps something will go wrong and you can sue everyone who ever set foot in Cowboys Stadium to the tune of 5 million dollars. I do have some sympathy for the people here, because they were victims of Jerry Jones’ greed. He wanted to have the highest attendance of all-time for a Super Bowl, and so he rigged up some temporary stands. When those stands weren’t up to code before game-time hundreds of fans were left without a place to sit. I imagine the disappointment was incredible. If people put value on going to games live, if they attach it to their self-worth, imagine what the Super Bowl must mean for them? Think of the dang VISA commercials with the old guys who revolve their lives around going to the game. These people were waiting for their, “I was there,” moment, and it was taken away from them.
It sounds to me, at least initially, that the NFL was trying to do what they could to help these fans. Now, the NFL being what it is, the process surely was bungled to some extent. Some fans were relocated within the Stadium. From what I understand others were forced to watch the games on television somewhere on the Stadium premises, which doesn’t exactly count for going to the game. They were plied with complimentary gear and refreshments, guaranteed a ticket to the next Super Bowl and given 300% of their money back, which comes to 2,400 dollars. Now, I imagine many spent more than 1,600 on travel and accommodations, and so maybe the fans have the right to a bit more generous settlement, but for those looking for reasonable compensation, their case is sullied by this lawsuit that is asking for about 50 thousand dollars per plaintiff. I mean, come on.
It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out. I think the more the people complain, the worse they will look. Eventually, people are going to say, “Oh, you had to watch the screen and go on the field after the game? You got a couple grand? You poor babies.” I think there is some inherent risk in going to a game, buying a ticket, or whatever. Of course, you could just do the smart thing and watch the game on television. How else would you get to see the commercials?
Quiz of the Day: Five 35-Plus Homer Seasons with the Same Team. Category: Baseball. My Score, 29/31
*After BK beat me yesterday, I wanted to set the bar pretty high. Also, since we were talking about Albert Pujols earlier, this seems appropriate. He’s one the answers…you’re freebie.