The Baseball Bunch


Wanna know why football is so much more popular than baseball these days. Three words: The Dugout Wizard. What the hell happened to The Baseball Bunch? We lived for that show every Saturday morning. TWIB in the morning - the only way for my friends and I to really see baseball highlights at the time before ESPN's BS "Web Gems" every stinkin' night - then Tommy Lasorda, Johnny Bench, Ozzie Smith and the entire gang from "The Baseball Bunch." (Anyone remember the name of the nerdy stat kid?). That show rocked, and it was huge in Baltimore City, I can tell you that much. We'd watch the fundamentals, it made baseball seem simple and fun and we'd go out and practice the drills in the park, then play wiffle ball in the alley behind my cousin Todd's house all night. We even built a backstop at one point. This was the real deal.

But seriously, it made the players seem accessible. It seemed like they cared about kids. It wasn't stuffy or over-hyped or crazy corporate. Hell, if I remember correctly, they maybe even played on a stereotype or two. (And while I'm on that topic, the first coupla of Bad News Bears flicks were straight dope. Don't think you'd see them made today.) Regardless, baseball was cool. Not that football wasn't, but it just seemed like we related more to ball players, felt more connected to them. And that's not just because the NFL sat back and let Irsay move the Colts out of my hometown.

I look around at baseball these days, and how often do you see a kid from, say, downtown Detroit or Philly on a roster? The disconnect seems deep. But any NFL roster is loaded with dudes from inner city areas. Just a thought. But I think a modern day "Baseball Bunch," with Manny Ramirez as the "Baseball Idiot," Grady Little as "The Dugout Buffoon," and, say, Tim McCarver as "The Human Ego/Baseball Demigod" would be just plane good TV. Right?

By Jason La Canfora |  August 30, 2006; 1:00 PM ET
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TWIB isn't any good any more either. (How can you do it without Mel Allen, and it's not even on every week either.) And I agree about the so-called "Web Gems" -- after a while they all look the same.

Posted by: Cosmo | August 30, 2006 01:07 PM

I think football is more popular than baseball because baseball is dull.

Just my two cents :-)

Posted by: P Diddy | August 30, 2006 01:12 PM

Jason, I know you're busy, but it's plain, not plane, my friend. I might have to start grammar policing your blogs.

Posted by: Rage | August 30, 2006 01:19 PM

Do you know that your article titled "Eddie Johnson just got cut, no joke" is currently experiencing technical difficulties?

Posted by: JWang | August 30, 2006 01:26 PM

I agree that football is more popular these days. I seriously doubt it is because football players are more accessible than baseball players. Baseball players are just not as accessible as they once were. I too miss the Baseball Bunch and the old TWIB. More for my son than myself.

Posted by: Baseballisbest | August 30, 2006 01:38 PM

Sports commentary pairing from hell: Larry Michael and Tim McCarver

Posted by: Colin | August 30, 2006 01:55 PM

To me, it's impossible to get excited about a sport that has 162 games in the regular season. You win? Big deal. You lose? No worries, we've got two games tomorrow.

Yawn.

Posted by: Garry Glitter | August 30, 2006 02:01 PM

I agree with Garry. Baseball has too many games. You could argue that the game itself is just plain boring, but football has plenty of down time in the middle of the game. Hockey, on the other hand, is a very fast game (when the puck is in play), but no where near as popular as football (or baseball for that matter). I think it's simply because of the sheer number of games involved--and hockey has roughly half the number of games that baseball does.

Jason does have a point, though. It's hard to relate to modern baseball players, but at least the sport is our national pastime. It seems that football is the only major sport that is truly dominated by American-made players, and even that is changing (Nous vous voyons, Philippe.). I don't think it's a bad thing, but it does make it harder to relate to someone with such a drastically different background.

Posted by: Aaron | August 30, 2006 02:44 PM

on jason's blog one must, of course, bring up the sport that never stops moving: soccer. talk about accessibility! ben olsen lives right around the corner. a friend of mine ran into him and a bunch of other united players at madam's organ last thursday, where they were hanging out with chris albright and a bunch of galaxy players. judging from saturday's result though, maybe they shouldn't have been going out...

when MLS players start making the same money as football & baseball players though, they too will be living in walled compounds outside the city. aloof players has more to do with money than anything else, i think.

although jon jansen lives on a nice little farm down the road from my parents and always gives a wave when he's out cutting the grass.

Posted by: fever | August 30, 2006 03:15 PM

Hi J
- Great Blog. I make it a habit to check out this blog and the responses at least a few times each day.

and since you said anything goes ... since you bring up baseball, how are those 2 georgeous Olympic gold medalist pro beach volleyball women players doing this year on the national and international tours?

Who won the women's (and men's) Manhatten Beach Open? This is the Wimbleton of beach volleyball, the Superbowl, per say. Sun, fun, surf, turf, party on the beach ... what a lifestyle. Is 45 too old to pick up the game?

check out www.avp.com if intrigued.

Posted by: X.Hog | August 30, 2006 03:39 PM

Just because this is a blog does not absolve you from using proper grammar. Never use the word "wanna."

Posted by: Honestly | August 30, 2006 03:46 PM

I agree on the grammar points, Jason. You work for the Washington Post; show some respect for your co-workers and employer.

Posted by: Disappointed | August 30, 2006 03:56 PM

Give him a break. This is raw stuff, straight from Jason, and we don't want it to go through an editor. That would suck.

Posted by: Btdome | August 30, 2006 03:58 PM

The reason why Football is so much more popular then Baseball is because it provides a lot more entertainment. Baseball is slow, lame, and is no longer a passtime of ours. I do not see baseball ever recapturing the title of the Nation's Pastime. I do have feeling that one day, soccer will become a success in this country. Stay tuned........

Posted by: Baltimore, MD | August 30, 2006 04:05 PM

Wow, so many of you guys are missing the point here. This blog is supposed to be a different vehicle. Show some respect for The Washington Post? I would say doing this out of my own time, interacting the readers as much as possible, replying to every comment and email, and trying to entertain people is more than enough respect. Frankly, if you can't stand some colloquialisms, and have a grammr fetish, maybe this isn't going to be your favorite place. But it is what it is, and that's not going to change. Honestly.
Rage, you can do whatever you like, bro, but I'd think you might have better things to do. By all means, though, keep count, 'cause you'll be plenty busy.
Cheers.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 30, 2006 04:08 PM

Fever - you're right on. Most guys in MLS I have met are top notch. I was doing a bunhc of stories on Freddy in what must have been Feb. of 2004, and was at a lot of their practices at IMG in Bradenton, Fla. The fields were kind of int he middle of nowhere, and I had a rental car there. know a few times I ended up driving Ben, Ernie Stewart and someone else (can't remember, who) to their dorms on the way back to my hotel. At one point I distinctly remember Ben and Ernie crammed into the back seat of my compact car, and all of us commenting on his good this "Gros" kid from Rutgers was looking (it was like two days into his first camp). Then they all piled out. Two guys who have played in the World Cup sitting with their knees jammed into their necks shooting the bull with some reporter they barely knew and as content as could be. Pretty cool.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 30, 2006 04:16 PM

Your post makes no sense. "Wanna know why football is so much more popular than baseball these days. Three words: The Dugout Wizard." The popularity of football has nothing to do with The Dugout Wizard. If you're going to start out a statement like that, you need to put in some points about why the lack of The Dugout Wizard makes football popular.

And people, just because you are too dull-minded to think through the process of a baseball game does not mean the sport is boring. You just don't understand it. You'd rather watch men violently tackling each other like animals than have to think about what pitch to throw a slugger on a 1-2 count with 1 out and a runner on first. It's the same numb-minded mentality that makes movies with lots of explosions sell tickets.

And yes, I know that football is more than just mindless violence. But the strategy is not what makes it popular.

Ours is a culture of violence that glorifies stupidity (just look at the idiot characters in movies and television who people think are funny) and shuns thought (just look at the intelligent characters in movies and television who are called nerds and have no friends.)

That is why football is popular. It takes no thought to watch.

Posted by: daedalus | August 30, 2006 05:00 PM

""Rage, you can do whatever you like, bro, but I'd think you might have better things to do. By all means, though, keep count, 'cause you'll be plenty busy.""

Jason, it was said with all due respect. I didn't mean to open to the can of grammar worms. I had been reading some Florida State message boards at work, and, God, it's a disaster down there. The post-Hurricane Katrina grammar landscape of the internet.

Was that joke mean?

Posted by: Rage | August 30, 2006 05:06 PM

I miss "Peter Puck". A true educator. Little guy made NHL hockey accessible and palatable.

Posted by: Thor | August 30, 2006 05:57 PM

Jason - Don't worry about the grammar. I (and I hope most others) could give a crap about potential grammar errors. Facts, players, etc. are a bit more pertinent. Thanks again for doing the blog!

Posted by: Trevor Gartenhaus | August 30, 2006 06:00 PM

This guy who says baseball isnt boring (daedalus) is an idiot.

Posted by: Rob (DC) | August 30, 2006 07:15 PM

Hey there. Rage, my bad. I should have put one of those sideways smiley faces on there. Honestly, someone should keep track of them all. I think it would be pretty funny, and I'm down with being on the receiving end of some verbal lashing.
The only thing I find aburs is someone who would say this blog disrespects my paper and co-workers. That's ridiculous.
I fully admit that there will be typos on here. Said it from the start. Some days I have maybe 15 minutes before practie to get this out, and. maybe I'm an idiot, but I'd rather get some information and a message on the blog in hopes of generating some conversation at the expense of some rough copy, rather than spend than time editing like a hawk, then not being able to post a new entry 'casue I ran out of time.
So it's all good. Just one last thing. wanna. wanna. wanna. wanna. wanna.
Cheers.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 30, 2006 07:16 PM

Daedlus is so way off base. Baseball isn't dull because it's too intellectual, it's dull because nothing happens on the field.

And all you folks critiquing Jason's grammar should join Daedlus at a baseball game. You'll love one another's sanctimonious pedantry.

Posted by: P Diddy | August 30, 2006 07:32 PM

Jason, thanks so much for all the time and effort you put into the blog. I live in Florida and don't get much on the skins. It's a great way to keep up with the daily happenings.

Daedalus, chill out, dude. Maybe this site isn't for you.

Posted by: cosmofla | August 30, 2006 08:42 PM

Who needs grammar when we've got Jason's awesome blog!!!

Anyone whose or is that who's?ha!got the time to notice grammar in a blog, deserves a blog beatdown!!!

GO SKINS!

Posted by: Pink C.C.- | August 31, 2006 12:56 AM

I have to admit it Jason, this blog has made me enjoy your work a lot more. Keep them coming, my friend.

And your point is correct, better to have bad grammar and a posting rather than perfect grammar and nothing to distract me from work all day.

And for the record everyone, it's "I COULDN'T care less." Not "COULD care less." Could indicates that there's room for you to care less; that means that you care at least a little.

(Off my soapbox)

Posted by: Rage | August 31, 2006 06:44 AM

And Pink C.C., it's "who's" because you mean "Anyone WHO HAS time". Whose is used to define posession: "Whose blog is this?"

The answer, of course, is that it's JLC's totally sweet, generous, and sometimes grammatically incorrect blog.

I really am a civil servant.
-Rage

Posted by: Rage | August 31, 2006 09:17 AM

Ding, Ding, Ding. Sounds like Rage just won the Name that Blog contest.

Posted by: Joe in Raleigh | August 31, 2006 09:45 AM

Damn,forgot to get back sooneron Peter Puck.I've been trying to get Chloe to take to my old copy of "Peter Puck - Love That Hockey Game." It rocks. she kind of likes the pictures of the goons, but the reading of the rules of the game get's old pretty quickly.
I don't really remember the cartoon much,but I loved that book.
Rage - if I have any say in this matter, and, again, that's very doubtful,I am pushing your suggestion for the name hardcore. That would definitely work for me.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 31, 2006 02:45 PM

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