5.10.2004

so MLB backed off the spiderman on the bases thing. however, as the story goes, it turns out that they're only going to take the logo off the bases. there will still be spiderman stuff on the on-deck circle and on the pitching rubber before the game. let me take you through the progression of my feelings towards this whole issue.

1. anger and outrage - like most people, i was not happy with the idea of putting spiderman anywhere on the playing field.

2. hope and relief, immediately followed by even more anger and outrage - when baseball announced they they were backing off, i expected to read that they told the spiderman promoters something to the effect of "well, our fans aren't going for this, so we can't do this. here's your money back and good luck with the movie." well it turns out that they only agreed to take them off the bases. what really pissed me off is MLB's stance that they were doing this because they care about the fans and their opinion. i think bud selig or sandy alderson said something to the effect of "the purity of the game has been protected." first off, if MLB gave a flying crap about the fans, then games would be shorter, there would be tougher steroid testing and they'd keep the price of tickets down. second of all, the purity of MLB was never there in the first place. the fact is, they've always done this for money, and dammit, if they had thought of this in the 20's or 30's they would have tried it then as well.

3. calm reflection and acceptance - after distressing about the purity of the game, i thought to myself, what's so wrong with ads on the field. other sports do it all the time, and does that ruin the physical achievement of say a basketball game or a football game. if i am really watching the game, that stuff won't even register anyways, which i suppose is the point - having brands ingrained into our subconscious. but even beside, the point, how can i argue with MLB trying to make more money? like i've said before, it does no good of accusing a capitalist of being a capitalist. i've long argued that the idea of sports as an idealized form of american society is simply a myth used for making money. purity is found within the actual playing of the game itself, so as long as the gimmick doesn't interfere with how the game is played on the field, then fine, you can put big pictures of penises on the bases for all i care.

4. deeper introspection and higher academic context setting - for those of you who don't know, i'm probably going to write my dissertation on baseball stats geeks. my basic premise is that by consuming sports through numbers, one of the things that these people are trying to do is filter out any of the corrupting effects of the idealized vision of sports. if there's one place that spiderman can't show up, it's in the formula for league-adjusted ERA. so by focusing solely on the statistics, they are in a sense reclaiming that social space for what is good about sports. i'm not saying however, that these stats geeks don't buy into some of the crap, such as the masculinity/class/race hegemony of sports, but what they are doing is reshaping and reinterpreting the meaning of the game in a way that is in their minds closer to a happy happy joy joy conception of sports.

5. giggling

next post - Pat Hill Collins - important black feminist scholar or naive utopian blowhard?

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