When I was a boy, it was baseball. The national game. They played the Anthem at the start of the pro games. I lived in Joliet, Illinois and I was a Cubs fan. Sometimes the games were on TV and I would watch. Sometimes I listened to games on the radio.
When we went to visit my grandparents in New Hampshire, my grandfather watched the Red Sox. A fuzzy 12 inch screen in a big cabinet, but it was good enough to follow the action.
Then we moved to Baltimore. The Orioles were contenders in those years. Games on TV, a couple of games a year at Memorial Stadium sitting in the bleachers. Once I got to go to a World Series game. A friend of my dad had season tickets and he gave us his box seats on the 3rd base line.
Baseball had a history. A national myth and origin story. You could read about the great players, the epic seasons, compare stats and wonder if anyone would ever break the home run records, bat .400, or overtake Lou Gehrig's record of most consecutive played games.
And of course you played ball. Rec League or Little League or just some sandlot games. Baseball, softball, whiffle ball. I would put my glove on the handlebars and ride over the town park in the summer for the city league games. Ride home late under the streetlights. It was America.
In the last couple of decades, baseball sold the rights to broadcast games to cable channels. There wasn't a game of the week anymore. Then the League Championship Series and the Playoffs stopped being televised. The only baseball of TV was the World Series. You didn't know the players, hadn't been able to follow the season, and it was impossible to care who won. I thought that baseball had sold it's future, kids weren't watching, and football had become the national game.
But now it's completely done for me. There are no more lines of players with their caps over their hearts as the Anthem plays over the loudspeakers. Now they kneel. Now they want liberal leftist politics to be the opening of every game.
You can do that. You can't make me pay to watch it, though.
To hell with baseball.