A Fan is a Terrible Thing to Waste

A view from the cheap seats of baseball past, present, and future.


Where Do We Go From Here

Bill: It's hard sometimes to stomach people raising a hue and cry over this [stadium issue] after the money the state put into Northwest Airlines. For once I have to agree with Sid [Hartman]--the state puts a lot of money into the Orpheum and other theaters, into the arts. And I think that's a good expenditure toward the quality of life.

Julian: I think the opportunity here is to do things differently. I really think the country has had enough of the professional sports crap as a whole. I think the Twins want to stay, but I'm not sure. It was amazing at their banquet this year, about 225 people there, pretty decent amount of baseball fans and about 80 percent said, Yeah, we'd like a new stadium, but 50 percent didn't want any tax money to go into it. I walked up to Jerry Bell, and I said, "Jerry, you're in trouble. These are the guys who want a stadium, and they're saying they don't want any tax money to go into it." I think the key is, what's the trade-off, what do we get back? I'll put money into it if you give me something back. Because the game--not the game, the business of the game--is changing, and it's really drawn things further and further away from the average Joe.

Bill: I was just reading the other day that they're in serious trouble trying to pull off the stadium deal. They can't borrow the money they need to pull it off.

Julian: The scary thing is that there are people, hardcore baseball fans, who are at the point of saying, I've had enough.

John: The thing is, I was at that point a year ago but a measure of how great the game is was last year's playoffs. Once the Yankees and Mariners got into it, then boom--it was great again as far as I was concerned.

Julian: But it's the new folks coming up. The teams don't care about us, because they know they've got us. The only question for me is whether I go to 10 games or 20. They take that core of fans for granted, almost like an abusive relationship. I really worry about the kids, and whether we might really be the last generation that's gonna be this wedded to the game...

Shawn: I don't think so. There may be a lull, sort of like what all of us went through. But if you look at the history of the country and parallel it to the history of baseball, you get to the point right now where the whole country is grappling with that issue of big business vs. the smaller, the more personal, the more intimate. I think this isn't the end of baseball history, this is a part of baseball history. But then I'm an optimist, and certainly an optimist about baseball. I think it will all come around.

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