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Home / Articles / Columnists / Sports Feature /  Has the National Past Time Lost its Fastball?
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Thursday, April 7,2016

Has the National Past Time Lost its Fastball?

By Mark Tudino  

For years we Americans could set our clocks by the sporting calendar. The winter months brought cold and darkness for much of the nation, which was brightened considerably by the promise of spring – and baseball.

 

And so it went, from generation to generation, the love of the game passed down like treasured family heirlooms as grandfathers, fathers and sons all partook in the predictable ritual. Spring training. Opening day. Fourth of July doubleheaders. Pennant races. The World Series. Unfortunately, your loyal scribe is old enough to remember when all games of the Fall Classic were actually played during the day (the first night game was game four of the Pittsburgh-Baltimore World Series of 1971). And those stories about sneaking small transistor radios into school classrooms, with optional earplug, were true - just so long as the nuns didn’t catch you. It went on that way for years. Then something happened.

Football. Television. Video games.

Extreme sports. And computers, which gave way to smart phones with video capability. All items designed to shorten the time a person had to wait to experience satisfaction, all hyper-driven information gadgets entertaining an impatient audience.

And baseball just didn’t fit. Not with its pastoral history, slow pace of the game, six and a half month season - with the emphasis on the more cerebral aspects of strategy and not the immediate payoff. We wanted - no demanded - action; instantaneous action, with immediate gratification. But after a while, even that wasn’t enough. Heck, even football with its intensity, violence and speed has been cannibalized to the point where people don’t even watch full length games anymore. Ever hear of the NFL Redzone channel? They just cut from game to game at the most opportune moments and – full disclosure here – a lot of us like it.

But that doesn’t mean there’s still not a place for baseball. For one, it’s still the most affordable sport of the major leagues for a family – or even a single guy or gal – to enjoy. For another, the crowds are more accommodating, less intimidating. Don’t think so? Just try to take your seven year old to an NFL game and see what a challenge it is; baseball, even in the roughest of towns, has always played to what an old friend of mine used to call, “a sweeter crowd.” Finally, there’s something to be said for a sport which rewards long-term planning and loyalty. To know that just because you’re behind in April and May, doesn’t mean the entire season is lost (unless you’re a Cub fan – sorry, couldn’t resist).

So as you drift out to the park to root for your favorite team, remember you’re enjoying a great and noble tradition – one which can’t be measured in milliseconds, but rather in centuries of history.

Play ball!


Mark Tudino is an attorney with offices in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties, whose practice specializes in all areas of civil litigation. He has lived in South Florida for more than 20 years.
Prior to attending law school, he was a political and sports reporter for television stations across the country. His career allowed him to cover everything from presidential elections to national championship sports teams, and he still maintains a passion to observe and discuss the world of sports.
Attorney at Law. 954-983-8000. 3475 Sheridan Street Suite #211. Hollywood, FL 33021


 

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