While my focus here at Dawg Sports is on intercollegiate athletics (primarily football), I grew up a major league baseball fan, as well.
Like many fans, however, I largely abandoned the national pastime after the 1994 strike and subsequent events have done little to bring me back to the game.
I have sought the assistance of SportsBlogs Nation's amazing stable of impressive baseball bloggers (and non-baseball bloggers who also are fans of the game) because I know how important major league baseball was to my grandfather's relationship with my father and to my father's relationship with me. (When Dad called my grandfather in 1968 to notify him that he had a new grandson named Timothy Kyle King, my grandfather, who was a Cardinals fan, reportedly replied: "Good. You named him after Tim McCarver.")
For the record, I was not named after Tim McCarver . . . and, even if I had been, it would have been in honor of his career as a player, not his career as a broadcaster.
Now that I have a three-year-old son of my own, I am getting to the point where I want to start taking Thomas to Braves games, if not this summer, then certainly next year.
At the moment, I cannot do this in good conscience, because I believe my bitterness towards the game would cause me to poison my son's enjoyment of the sport I loved as a boy and I do not wish to deprive Thomas of the positive experience with baseball that I had the privilege of having during my own childhood.
When Dad took me to my first game, he told me about the time he came to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and saw Sandy Koufax pitch. I would like to reach the point of being able to tell my son about being there for Gibson's home run in '83 or seeing Greg Maddux pitch or attending a World Series game.
Right now, though, I worry that all I'd do is gripe about how an historic landmark was replaced with an amusement park (Turner Field) that seems to be designed to do everything possible to distract you from the fact that there's a baseball game being played there . . . and how all of these guys are pampered millionaires scattering their seed among a million Hooters waitresses . . . and how franchise free agency, the designated hitter, the five-game divisional series, the wild-card, the juiced ball, the juiced players, the closer fences, the lowering of the mound after the '68 season, overexpansion, interleague play, and that nonsense about allowing an exhibition game to decide home field advantage in the World Series have destroyed the game.
It may have been a cookie-cutter multi-purpose concrete spaceship, but it had character and it was ours.
Basically, the last time baseball changed for the better was when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. I don't want to hate baseball, but, just as no one who loved Tom Landry's and Roger Staubach's Cowboys should be able to stomach what "America's Team" became under Jerry Jones, Jimmy Johnson, and Barry Switzer, I don't see a way that a fan of baseball can be anything but disgusted by what the game has become.
So I sent out the call to the baseball bloggers at our SportsBlogs Nation sister sites, asking them to tell me why I should be able to take my son to baseball games with pride and pleasure today the way my father was able to take me all those years ago.
With their permission, I will be quoting from their responses in upcoming postings here at Dawg Sports. What these intelligent, passionate, and devoted baseball fans had to say was helpful to me and it may be helpful to other fans like me.
Stay tuned for that. It'll be worth your while.
To be continued. . . .