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The Season is Underway

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Posted 04-20-2017 at 02:40 PM by PutIntoPlay

Baseball in the DC area is weird to be around.

For the record, I'm originally from Seattle, but grew up a Cubs fan. My dad grew up in the Chicagoland area in the depression era, and managed to have a chance encounter with Wrigley's son, and ended up getting to hang around The Field in the early 40's prior to his departure for the Army.

Hearing all those cool stories of yesteryear got in my brain, and growing up, Chicago had these two guys who were far more interesting to watch on TV than any other 1B-2B combo in baseball at the time, Ryne Sandberg and Mark Grace.

Back to DC, it's weird to go to Natsland and watch all the die hard fans leave at the top of the 8th so they can catch their Metro home. Because the train here is too stubborn to expand their times. But then again, the fans are little to blame, since they know this is the situation, for years now, and they still don't plan for it.

Side note, it appears the Nats may be in store for dip in performance, because what they were doing with their CF position the past two seasons was effective stop gapping to prevent exposing a big, big issue their team has......lack of pitching depth in both their rotation and bullpen. Because they had bargain fielder Span in the lineup, who lacks average contact ability, but is an absolute speed demon defensively, he was able to make great plays, keeping runs and hits of the board, in lieu of Nats pitching prospects getting true shots at the roster. Now that they traded their biggest prospects for a permanent CF, that allows Turner to move to SS permanently as well, the money from both Span and Espinosa being off the roster didn't get into the hands of reliable 4th in the rotation, nor did it get them an anchor for the bullpen who could take the lion share of pressure innings from Kelley. Kelley, who I happen to think is getting shelled because he's not a true closer, and that's not his fault. True, he's had opportunities to prove he's a true merchant out of the pen, but he's not been a true closer, his stats tell the story almost exclusively. I hope he can turn the recent dip into a positive, because he's truly a class guy, and deserving of success.

It's also weird to be around here, because there's a fair amount of independent and minor ball in the region, yet no baseball diehards pay attention to any of it.

I read stories about team like the South Bend Cubs and their success as a minor team in the shadows of Wrigleyville, that go beyond a baseball experience, and truly shows what baseball was and always should be, a family entertainment event.

Many organizations exist in far corners of population pockets because baseball was king, and in my opinion still is in much of the country.

But it reminds me of a changing climate in our country, that may not all be the great to inherit, let alone exist within.

But on a more trivial level, it brings me around to ideas about the game. Considering how it can be difficult to get fans in the stands, shouldn't there be options to conduct promotions, events, and other such activities to draw interest?

I notice teams retire jerseys of certain key players, but this is an automatic event and not much is made out of it. In real life, a jersey retirement tends to be a reason that a stadium see's a boost in attendance, particularly in the upper decks. At least that what the numbers tell me.

I also know that organizations put on events centered towards kids (meaning parents coming along too $), that are meant to discuss topics not normally thought about in the game, but all too important. Many teams conduct the weather events where weather specialists discuss weather forecasting, and baseball professionals discuss why that's important to the game of baseball. I think they even produce the field manager, who discuss the effects of ground saturation and some other choice topics.

It may seem trivial, I too am in that crowd, but it's something baseball does to attempt to reach a wide audience, and to explain that there is more to the game of baseball than just the game, trying to explain that people's interest in the game can go in a number of directions, and potentially serve them professionally, but most importantly personally.

At any rate, I hope you enjoy the stadium experience as much as I do, and watch that ground saturation, I don't think our rain season is done just yet!
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