Saturday, April 08, 2006

America's Pasttime is Past.

The new Busch Stadium in St. Louis opened this past week. The first Cardinals home game hasn't been held, yet but will be played very soon. The new stadium isn't even completely finished, yet. There are several sections of seats that won't be completed until about halfway through the summer. Once it is completed the new stadium will hold about 6,000 less seats than the old stadium. Not only that but there are more box seats and private seating rooms than in the old stadium which means more rich people can watch the game in private, but average Joes are out of luck. The cheapest ticket price is around $14 and at the old place you could get a ticket for about $9. A hot dog costs $5.50, a bag of peanuts $3.25, and a cup of beer is around $9. Also, the state of Missouri and the City of St. Louis gave huge tax incentives to the Cardinals organization to stay in St. Louis and build the new stadium. Oh, if you're hoping to come see a game in St. Louis this summer-unless you've already bought your ticket-you're out of luck because tickets were sold out the day they went on sale.

I love the game of baseball. It's one sport that I could have played for a very long time if I had wanted to. I grew up playing baseball and watching Cardinals games on tv. Baseball used to be America's past time. Fathers used to bring their sons to ball parks across the country on Saturday afternoons because even if they couldn't afford a ticket to get into the game they could watch the game from fences outsides the park. Going to a baseball game used to be a family affair. You could spend a day at the ballpark, buy a few souveniers, and if you made sure you didn't eat much until you left the stadium later that afternoon, an entire family of 5 or 6 could go to a baseball game for less than the ticket price for one person at an amusement park. That's not the case anymore. An average, blue-collar, hard-working famiy can't really afford to go to many ball games. Of course, even if they could they can't get in because all the tickets are sold out because the owners wanted to make more money so the put in less seats and gave more of those seats to people who could pay $100-$200 to watch a game.

It might not seem like all that big of a deal and maybe it's not. But, it's a sign, though--a sign of the times. A sign that we as a people are loosing our identity and national spirit. Baseball used to be as American as apple pie, but I'm afraid that now America's past time has past.

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