Baseball isn’t just about the game.
Fans of the America’s Pastime are wrapped up in a cultural mythology that surrounds every facet of the sport. Selling the “idea” of baseball (and not just the tickets) has now become the last resort of a Major League Baseball league caught in the midst of The Great Recession and a shrinking fan base.
Already, the legacy of baseball as an American tradition no longer exists in the urban core as African-American youth have seemingly lost interest in the game. And let’s face it: between X-box Live, American Idol, and so many other entertainment options, people just don’t have time to sit through an entire day at the ballpark watching leisurely games that mostly feature the Royals losing.
Luckily, there’s a solution to keep that money machine oiled.
Instead of the Royals actually winning some games, a recent report by NBC Nightly News identifies KC’s home team and several others as part of a group looking to sell the “baseball experience” and not necessarily tickets to hardcore fans. Starting at 1:43 the national news story reports on a pricey $100 a person dinner party hosted by the Royals and efforts by other clubs looking for similar revenue steams that have nothing to do with the success of their teams.
Funny, NBC only reports half the story and forgets to mention that the function was a charity event for Operation Breakthrough.
But the point remains that MLB is banking on what people think, how they feel and what they remember about baseball, and not the mostly boring and depressing details of what happens on the field. Remember stadium renovations were one of the big attractions at The K this year, enjoyed by the people of JoCo and paid for by Jackson County suckers with a Stadium tax worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Me, I hear that the new stadium is excellent and more like a carnival, sports bar or county fair than merely a game.
So, as the Royals remain in the cellar of American League it’s nice to know that they’re coming up with innovative ways to make a buck. That’s far more important than even trying to make the playoffs.