Let me start this off by saying I am a 13-year-old boy who loves nothing more than baseball. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do before I eat breakfast and get ready for school is turn on ESPN and see what happened in the MLB the night before. I go through all day in school thinking about baseball and when I come home I finish my homework and hop onto the computer to read all the baseball blogs and rumors and forums and whatnot. Then I go to baseball practice and come home at 6:30 and eat dinner, then go watch baseball on TV until I go to bed. Baseball is why I am alive.
And since I am just 13 I can give you a different point of view since you are all probably older than me. I'm around the perfect age to write this because I am young enough to be innocent and still love baseball for what it is, but old enough to understand how this world works.
In case you didn't know, Cablevision subscribers won't be able to watch the World Series this year because NewsCorp, the company that owns FOX, has decided to pull FOX and My9 off the air so that they can get more money. I don't care if you have DirecTV, FiOS, Comcast, or something else. I don't care if you are like me and have Cablevision and can't watch the World Series. This goes to everyone. I want you to know why NewsCorp has ruined the beauty of baseball.
My first memory of baseball came from when I was about 5 years old. Every Saturday morning I would always watch Pokemon and Yugioh on channel 11. They would always air commercials saying "Don't miss the Mets take on the Marlins on channel 11 tomorrow at 1 o'clock!" I knew my dad loved baseball so I always went to go tell him that the Mets were playing the next day. I didn't know that they played every day so I must have been pretty annoying to my dad but he never showed that.
The next year, I said I wanted to play baseball, too. I knew my dad liked baseball and I wanted to impress him. Plus, it looked fun on TV. So I signed up for tee-ball and ever since I have loved baseball.
Every year me and my dad go to at least half a dozen Mets games together. Not only is this fun because we love the Mets, this is a great time for father-son bonding. That is one of the most beautiful things about baseball. The bonding between a father and a son. I can't tell you how many times I would beg my dad to have a catch with me, for just 5 minutes. And when he agreed to play with me, I cherished every minute of it.
One of the reasons I love baseball is because it gives me an escape. If I am swamped with four hours of homework and a project due the next day, I can take a break and go to baseball practice. And while I am playing with my team, I completely forget about my homework. If I did something bad at home and I know I will be punished in an hour when my mom gets home, I can turn on the baseball game on TV and completely forget I am in trouble. I never worry about anything when I am around the game of baseball.
My favorite memory I have ever had in my whole life involved baseball. Last summer, me and my dad decided to take a weekend and go up to Cooperstown. Just the two of us. We left my mom and brother and sister home and took the six-hour car ride upstate just to walk around a museum. Why? Because we love baseball. That was a wonderful bonding experience I had with my dad that I will never forget.
But I am deeply saddened when I turn on FOX 5 and see a message on the screen that says "Due to NewsCorp's demands for more money, we are sorry to say that the World Series and other FOX programming will not be available. Cablevision has asked for binding arbitration to settle on a fair deal but NewsCorp wants more money than we pay these other channels combined and they are not willing to budge from their demands."
Sure, I am upset that I will not get to see the World Series. But thats not the big problem. I can pay ten dollars and watch the World Series on MLB.tv. The reason I am so upset is because now I realize that the only real reason Major League Baseball exists is for money. Money is the reason I can't watch the World Series this year. If NewsCorp wasn't so greedy then I would get to watch a great matchup between the Rangers and the Giants. But greed and money have caused me not only to miss these games, but to realize that my favorite thing in the world is operating only because of greed.
To me, baseball is a beautiful game that provides me with fun, with an escape from the bad parts of life, with invaluable quality time with my father that nobody can ever take away from me.
But to others, baseball is a means of getting money and wealth. And these "others" are really The Man in society. What they say goes, whether the general public likes it or not. Why? Because they have money.
Sure, I do get a little upset when a superstar free agent baseball player leaves his hometown and fans for an extra few million dollars. Isn't the dozen million he was making before more than enough? But then I put myself in the player's shoes for a minute and realize that the extra million dollars he gets is a boatload of money and while you wouldn't admit it, you probably would take the extra money as well. But no matter where this player chooses to play, the game of baseball will still go on.
But what NewsCorp is doing is different. They are depriving millions of people of their passion. JUST for money. BECAUSE of greed.
Why did Major League baseball expand the regular season from 154 games to 162? Money. Why did Major League Baseball add the wild card and the divisional series? Money. But I don't mind this. More baseball, wonderful.
But now you are taking away my baseball. Our baseball. Why? Money. That is not what baseball is about. Baseball is about bonding, baseball is about an escape, baseball is about the dream that every little boy has from the day he first picks up a baseball.
And money is WHY they have Major League Baseball. Without money, sure, they would still have Little League, and sandlot baseball, and school teams, and barnstorming and all that. But there would be no league where millions of people can follow. No league to root for and cheer in. Not at this level anyway. And most of all, no dream to make it to The Show, to become one of the select few.
Money is why we have such nice stadiums. Why ticket prices are so high. Why they have so many cameras. Why TV is so successful. Why being a ballplayer is a better job than people who actually contribute to society, people like lawyers and doctors and teachers and police officers.
Without money and without greed, the wonderful game of baseball wouldn't be anything.
And when I turn on FOX every half hour, hoping NewsCorp and Cablevision have reached an agreement in time for tonight's game and the channel is back on the air, I realize that my life's passion is just a get-rich-quick scam for someone else.
I'm sure most of you have read the book Moneyball. That book talks about how Billy Beane squeezed out every dollar to make a good baseball team. How he spent money to do better in baseball.
Now go read In The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. I don't care that this is a children's book and you are a grown man. This is my favorite baseball story because it is about a little Chinese girl who comes to America in the 1950s and knows no English and has no friends, but she finds out about baseball and the Brooklyn Dodgers, and now she absolutely loves America. This book truly shows how baseball has a positive influence on people, how the purity of the game can vastly improve a person's life.
When I told my little sister that we can't watch the World Series, she was confused. She isn't the biggest baseball fan, but what she said struck me. "Wait, so the World Series is only on FOX? Why don't they have it on ESPN too?" Then I explained to her how FOX has exclusive airing rights to the World Series and she replied, "Oh. That's stupid, how can they own baseball?"
Take it from me. I'm a kid. I still love baseball, but now I realize what it is really about. Thanks a lot NewsCorp. You have forever changed my outlook on my favorite thing in the world. And it is not a good change.