Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm Officially Sick to my Stomach

I read this and I hurt. I know it was only a matter of time, but I steadfastly remain a fan of tradition. Corporate ownership of stadia have stained the connection to the fans that has been under assail for the last twenty some-odd years. You don't have a personal connection to Sherwin-Williams Bank or whatever they plan on calling the Jake. In-person sports just is not the same when it seems like your just paying money to see a genericized product rather than having a deep-rooted love for your team of choice.

Face it, the corporate structure that has infiltrated the sports landscape has not been kind to the fans. Sure the ownership gets a ton of money which could yield to on-field results, but in many cases that isn't true. Bottom dollar runs sports, not victories, not the city, but money. But that is not a new development, it is sick however. It just saps the life out of a visit to the ballpark.

Think of the charm of college football. It seems pure and clean (despite the hundreds of recruiting violations, crimes, etc.) and that is in part due to the aesthetics. College football has long held school tradition in the highest esteem and throughout the country, the major schools are just as identifiable with 17 year olds to 70 year olds. The stadiums, such as the Horseshoe, the Big House, Kyle Field, Camp Randall, Happy Valley, the Swamp, etc. all ooze old-school as do the simple uniforms that become that school's identity. When you mention LSU you think purple and gold and night games in Baton Rouge. USC, maroon and the Coliseum. The Cotton Bowl during the Texas State Fair for the Red River Rivalry, the stadium half burnt orange in support of Texas and half maroon for Oklahoma. I'm sorry but if USC and Notre Dame met each year at AT&T Field or Cingular Stadium it just wouldn't look the same.

The precious few privately named stadiums are the last bastion of this type of relationship a fan has with their team. Players acting like mercenaries and owners screwing players because they are too expensive and shit like the salary cap is just killing sports. There was always something beautiful about sports as entertainment and it's hard to swallow.

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