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Saturday, June 29, 2019


The Great English Tour is like so many things in American capitalism these days: an idea that sounds credible when you first say it, but in fact means nothing at all.

The excuse for this nonsense, which has a good chance of not only costing us two games in the standings but leaving a Yank in London seriously injured, is promoted as a way of "expanding" the game, and imitating the admirable, proclaimed global reach of the NBA or the NFL.

To which my polite reply is:  bite me.

I was going to write that baseball is not basketball.  That admirable but simple games like basketball or soccer have a global appeal because they are so simple: Get Ball. Put In Net.

Our baseball, by contrast—and even our American football—is something much more complicated and particular to us.  If they don't spread around the world—and hell, baseball has spread pretty much halfway around the world, between Latin America, Asia, and some parts of Europe—well, to hell with 'em.

But actually, it's even stupider than that.

Where is the payoff for the NFL's farseeing "global reach"?  A rumor that the Jacksonville Jaguars may move to London by 2025.  Oh, the excitement.  And the NBA?  Umm, yeah.

Sure, someday having a pro football team in London will pay off better than having one in Florida.  And someday basketball teams won't mind routinely traveling 6-7 hours by plane...

Time to give it a rest, folks.  Europeans play soccer, not American football.  And they have their own basketball leagues, which are often quite good, and which they will never want to replace with a single, token team that runs over to America every now and then to be flattened by a bunch of top NBA teams.

(For that matter, Americans are never going to be much enthused about a soccer league that serves—a best—as a feeder league for a bunch of European countries.  Or, much enthused about soccer, period.)

Look, some things are just not transferable to a ready-made, global empire.  Sorry, HAL.  Sorry, Rob Manfred.

Your "toehold" in London is going to be just as meaningful as the major-league world tour was in 1913-1914, over a hundred years ago, in which Charles Comiskey and John McGraw paid the stars all of $250 a pop, while pocketing the rest.

Today, MLB giddily reports that it has sold 120,000 tickets in London, and who knows what it will make in merchandise?  In short, this is yet another, short-term, money-grubbing rip-off by the good folks at MLB, who could give a toss about how their "product" is deteriorating at home, but see a great chance to wring a few more doubloons out of curious Londoners and baseball-starved ex-pats.

I hope it rains.


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Wezil1 said...

Just want to take a minute to thank the writers and fellow readers here. The fair discussion about HGH and juicing is not something we fans will hear just anywhere. With a few exceptions, the comments are thought provoking and honest.I had forgotten about the “eye test”, for example. I have gotten so used to seeing players, um, “filling out” that I don’t see what is right in front of me. Just look at these bodies! They look like those plastic action figures in the toy aisle. Except those are indestructible.
Again, thanks to our fearless leaders and contributors here. I love this blog- it is definitely an adult website though.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

To: The Spell Caster <drosaluspellhome@gmail.com>

From: Yankee Fans Everywhere <DispiritedAndDowntrodden@gmail.com>

Date: June 29, 2019 09:30:00 -0500 GMT

Subject: We need a spell to be cast.

Message: Dear Mr. Spell Caster

We saw the creative advertisement you thoughtfully included on the IIHIIFIIc Yankess blog.  Thank you for taking the time to advise us of your services and capabilities.

Would you please cast a spell on Mr. Hal Zieg Steinbrenner's wallet to cause it to open? We need some starting pitching.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Yankee Fans Everywhere

Carl J. Weitz said...

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Der Kaiser said...

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Der Kaiser said...

I've never understood why MLB thinks it would ever make sense to expand across the Atlantic. Opposite coast road trips are bad enough, and thirty teams is already far too many. Nor do I understand why London is always mentioned as a candidate. Is it the only city MLB bigwigs have heard of in Europe? Of course, it's a giant megacity, with lots of money and international flair - as long as you don't set foot outside the centre into the districts where non-bankers and native Londoners still live. Even if the native Britons were to take no interest whatsoever, London is multiculti enough that you could probably fill the stadium for this series with North American, Latino, and East Asian immigrants who miss being able to go to professional baseball games. And of course, while baseball isn't played much in Britain, if you're tipsy enough and squint a bit it looks like a bit like daft cricket, and it is nearly identical to rounders, which many people played in school. Still, assuming it's worthwhile to try to promote MLB in Europe (it isn't), London feels to me like the lazy and wrong choice. I feel like Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam, or Rotterdam, with large numbers of immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean and some existing international baseball exposure, would be better opportunities to connect with populations that are genuinely interested in baseball as more than just a novelty.

The only advantage to staging this series in London is that it's marginally closer for IIHIIFIIC's Scottish contributor, but it still means traveling internationally.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Exactly, Kaiser! For that matter, Italy has had an active, relatively well-attended league for decades now. And apparently the most baseball players are in...the Czech Republic.

This is just another swag trip for MLB, and a way for a commissioner who has studiously ignored everything troubling the game today—overlong games, slow pace of play, outrageous prices, an inhospitable ballpark atmosphere, prima donna athletes and even more arrogant owners, a monotonous style of play, and continued juicing—to act as if he is doing something bold and fresh and useful.

He ain't. He's just raking a few more bucks from a previously untapped quarter.

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