Baseball and Privilege

YOU ARE ENTITLED TO NOTHING!”

 exclaims Frank Underwood, the fictional President of the United States in the fictional Netflix original series House of Cards while trying to sell his fictional domestic policy agenda item, “America Works.”

entitlement

As good as Kevin Spacey’s acting is, I promise you it is fictional. Regardless, the man brings up some good points.

 Are there people in our American society who are unfairly entitled to things? Of course. White males generally tend to be more privileged.

 Should that be the case? Probably not. But I’ll save you the political discussion for now.

 Privilege exists at baseball stadiums and I damn near lose my mind when I see it happen. God didn’t create baseball, and apparently Abner Doubleday didn’t either (contrary to popular belief), so the game isn’t perfect. But America’s pastime exists for a reason: to give us something to do during the summer when boredom has drawn us close to death.

 “Hey do you want to go drink beer and eat hot dogs and pretend like we enjoy baseball?”

 oh okay

I’m only joking. I truly love baseball, but for those who didn’t grow up with it, it can be a tough sport to get into. The Wall Street Journal did a study and found that for every average 3-hour Major League Baseball game, about eighteen minutes of that is actually baseball action. That’s 162 minutes of nothing in every game. At the end of the 162-game MLB season, roughly 18 days have been spent doing nothing other than standing there, chewing tobacco, and adjusting crotches.

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Baseball is a good time, but I can see why a lot of people don’t like it.

 Attending your first pro baseball game is legendary experience. You’ve seen the games on TV and played little league, but now you’re there.

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Into the stadium you go, donned in a Cleveland Indians hat, an oversized shirt from 1995, and of course, a baseball glove to catch foul balls and home runs. Cherish that moment, because as you grow older, you become less and less likely to catch a foul ball or a home run. Friggin little kids get EVERYTHING at baseball games.

kid-throws-tantrum-at-dodgers-austrailia-baseball-game-a

 They are privileged and they don’t deserve it.

 I’m a laid back person, but when I’m sitting at a baseball game and I see a little kid run towards the field to try to catch a ball from a player, I cross my arms and turn into the overly conservative father who says things like “things ain’t the way they used to be. I miss my old America. This generation is causing our country to go to shit.”

 boehner

It is absurd for me to think that? Absolutely not. I grew up watching baseball. I’ve been to more games than that little kid. I’ve stuck with this team through trial and tribulation. I played little league baseball. Sure I quit in high school when I realized I was terrible at the sport, but I am more qualified to catch that baseball. It makes me even more furious thinking that maybe, just maybe, that kid’s dad is just going to forge a signature and sell the ball on eBay.

 It gets even worse. One time in your life, a foul ball will come straight to you and you will catch it. You’ll look down, and there it is: the little kid who ran to you from 99 rows away in order to get that ball appears out of nowhere, and he’s giving you the “You know you’re going to give me that ball cause you’re a jackass” look that every kid has perfected.

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And suddenly, while surrounded by the anxious speculation of other fans around you, you have to make a tough choice.

 smh

You know you deserve that ball. God made the winds blow so that the ball came right to you, and you caught it because you have experience and hands made of feathers. If you give him the ball, you’re a jackass. If you don’t give him the ball, you’re still a jackass. This is the definition of privilege: if you don’t have the redeeming quality (in this case, being a kid), you can’t win.

 If you ever come across privilege in real life, you might be able to make the fair decision rather than the one that is popular with society, but not here. Not at the baseball stadium. You will always fall under peer pressure and give that ball to the kid. You appease him, saying, “Okay but I’m keeping the next one.” But you won’t. You’ll give him the ball every time.

catching the ball

Suddenly, you’re France giving Czechoslovakia to Hitler under the rationale, “well he isn’t going to come back and ask for more.” BUT HE WILL KEEP COMING BACK BECAUSE THAT DAMN KID AT THE BASEBALL STADIUM KNOWS HE WILL ALWAYS WIN.

 This land is your land, this land is my land. From California, to the New York island. From the redwood forest, to the Gulf Stream waters. This land was made for you and me. Except for the baseball stadium because little kids own that place.

No level of parenting can avoid this. But my daddy taught me right because we always sat up high so I never had the chance to ask for a ball. Was this my dad’s intentions? Probably not. Were tickets way cheaper if we sat up high? Yes. But still. I’m older now and when I had the opportunity to sit up close, I cherished it. The field looks so much bigger from up close! I can see the players now!

 Until one day I caught a foul ball, looked down, and saw the kid looking at me.

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 I folded my arms, gave him the ball, and returned to the upper deck where I belong. Because I am a jackass, I do not have privilege, and I will be relegated to the periphery of the perpetual system that forever rages on at baseball stadiums.

 Kids, man. Brings me to tears.

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