Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Let's Play Some Baseball
Now's the Time: We've had the trades, the signings, the ill-considered ticket schemes. We've watched hours of video, done prodigious reading (David Maraniss' Clemente is excellent; Jonathan Eig's Jackie Robinson bio is not as good, but still enjoyable), purchased expensive memorabilia, started a blog, and read dozens of others. We have our hopes, our predictions, and we've maintained our heroes. Now all we want is for overgrown men to travel down to Florida and Arizona for the simple purpose of throwing and catching and hitting balls. Please: play some baseball.
A Thought: I sat through some of Hockey Day in Canada this past Saturday. As always, I enjoyed some of it, cringed at other parts, and eventually turned off the TV when I'd had enough hockey. I appreciate the spirit of the thing, it's hokiness in place of bombast (imagine if Fox were to attempt something similar). All in all, it is a thing so infused with a patriotism so awkward and so self-conscious that only the CBC could get away with it. In truth the other point, the creeping subtext, is the desire to prove the Mother Corp's continued relevance ("Maybe you can watch hockey on TSN and Sportsnet, but can they do this?").
But my point (well-concealed, but still present) is this: Why not a Baseball Day in Canada? CBC has a few Saturday afternoon Jays games this season, so why not build around one of those? Have your intrepid reporters fan out across the nation looking for heartwarming little league stories (teams that have survived the death of a player and who fight on in his/her memory are always good), life-affirming tales from the softball beer leagues, maybe a story on the success of the Can-Am League in Quebec City and its arrival in Ottawa, stop in on the Vancouver Canadians at Nat Bailey Stadium. Do some bio pieces on current Canuck major leaguers (but not Eric Gagne). Also look for something wacky, like people in the far north who play baseball in the snow! Throw in some black and white photos, a few history lessons, and you're done. Baseball Day in Canada. A ratings disaster? Maybe, but this is about culture.
I know, I know: a cold day in hell.