Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Some Future For Our Pastime

Surprisingly, the emotions that came with the news that the MLB might be using instant replay for home runs were not at all mixed. Most people seem to agree that using replay in baseball is a good thing. Bud Selig is not one of those people, but he might not have a choice in the matter. In his attempts to globalize and expand the sport, this is the next step in bringing baseball into the 21st century. This is not something to be celebrated, but it is inevitable.

Part of the charm of baseball, which fueled it for the past century, was that is was "America's pastime". You simply hit a ball and catch it on a primitive field. That is where its popularity stems from; the nature of its fluidity. This is the main reason Selig has been an opponent of using replay. But he knows that there is little he can do about it, because the reality is that baseball is a major sport which rakes in a lot of cash, and its importance cannot be overlooked. With so much at stake in every game, instant replay is just part of the process of baseball's evolution.

But unlike other sports, there was no change in baseball until the last couple of decades, where its evolution went from 0 to 60 before anybody could realize it. For 90% of its existence, baseball remained unstirred, only to see a major transformation at an unprecedented speed. As a product of that, baseball's overwhelming fan base has diminished during those times of change. Obviously, people had no problem with the game, but pressure from media pundits who act as if they are the real voice of America has convinced owners and general managers that baseball needs to step into the now, even though its roots in the past is the reason it is a major sport in the first place.

Bud Selig does not want to be in charge when baseball makes this leap, but he cannot stop it. And truth be told, he shouldn't even try. This is the world we live in, where the phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" has escaped from the modern lexicon. The simplicity of baseball is at the heart of its charm, and unfortunately, it's in need of a transplant, and will never be the same.


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