Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Reflections on baseball and advertising.

For about my entire lifetime, people have been declaring the sport of baseball dead. It's declined of course since its Babe-Ruthian heyday when it was the only game in town. It was a game built for the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Wide open spaces and no time clocks. It's no longer the "National Pastime," football is, or masturbation,  or mass murder, but as evidenced by the four playoff games on television yesterday, the old game keeps on ticking.

I fairly OD'd on baseball yesterday, watching the better portion of the Cubs vs. the Cards and the Astros against the Angels. By the time the game I wanted to watch, the Mets vs. the Dodgers came on, if I watched any more horsehide, I would have exploded like a fat man at a pie-eating contest.

In all, though, the game looked healthy. The level of play was good. Pitchers were strong, and hitters were larruping line drives into the October ether. Cut off men were hit, bases were stolen and one Cub hit a foul out to Sheffield Avenue, reportedly landing in a platter of Mrs. Polchevski's pierogis. Further, despite all the proclamations on the death of baseball, the game seems a necessary antidote to the din of football.

Football is like a rush-hour commute on the Long Island Expressway. Everyone out there is marked for fiery death. Baseball still meanders, and there's something nice in that.

I suppose somewhere in all this there is a parallel to advertising. It's been declared dead as often as baseball. It's supposed to be a relic of a bygone time. To hear the neo-hipsters tell it, we all grew up hypnotized by the boob tube, bombarded by the same messages over and again on the three networks until our brains were programmed to really fret about ring around the collar.

None of that was ever true, of course. We made fun of advertising then as we disparage it today. It presents a false, usually idealized image of the world, but really, we've always known that at some level we were being lied to. You only need pick up a Mad Magazine from the 50s, 60s or 70s, to kill the myth that my generation grew up as complacent demoral chugging automatons.

I guess the point is simple and a spin on Winston Churchill's statement that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others.

Advertising sucks. Television sucks. Consumerism suck. Interruption sucks. Football sucks. Baseball sucks. The LIE sucks.

It all sucks. Except they suck less than all the others.

Which is why millions of people ate billions of Doritos and watched men in double-knits battle into the night.

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