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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, August 25 2002

Baseball

When I hear baseball referred to as the national pastime, I shudder, at least when someone is talking about the National and American Baseball Leagues. I consider them national sports rip-offs. I have the same reaction to the AFL, NFL, NHL, NBA, and probably some other initials representing sports that I can't think of at the moment.

For a good many years, I enjoyed playing and watching others play baseball. My first introduction to the game, when players wore uniforms, was the former Industrial League in Nanty Glo. My dad always took me and we often went to out-of-town games in places like Colver, Lily, and South Fork. The only money we spent was for an occasional soda. Dad worked with most of the players and they would sometimes come over and talk with us. It actually made me feel like part of the team. Then, several times a year, we would travel to Point Stadium in Johnstown and watch the Johnnies play. We didn't know any of the players personally but at least we were close enough to recognize their faces and often a player would acknowledge us when he noticed that we were looking in his direction. We always paid admission to these games but it seemed worth it for the enjoyment it gave.

As I grew older, we would make several trips each summer to Forbes Field to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates. Of course, we paid admission and were farther removed from the playing field. In the early years, at Forbes Field, it didn't matter because we sat in the left-field bleachers, close to my favorite player, Ralph Kiner. Then in later years we sat on the right-field side, close to Roberto Clemente. The last baseball game I attended in Pittsburgh was at Three Rivers Stadium. By that time, my dad had died and that had something to do with not enjoying the game, but the biggest disappointment was the distance I seemed to be from the game and players.

As I struggled to see over and around heads to follow the action of the game, I kept thinking to myself that it was stupid to pay money to watch players that I couldn't really see, play a game that I wasn't enjoying. I never have attended another professional baseball game but I did still listen to games on radio and watch them on TV.

That is, until the American and National Baseball League players went out on strike. Baseball players going on strike ended all my illusions of the game being a sport played for enjoyment of fans and players. Now the players are planning to strike again. In the end, they will make more money. The owners will charge higher prices for seats in a stadium that keeps fans away from the players of a game that they are enjoying in fewer numbers every year. To me, it is the sad ending of a sport I once enjoyed. The one bright spot I see for baseball's future is that fans are supporting minor league baseball teams in greater numbers each year. Perhaps there is still hope for baseball to be the national pastime.


Webmaster's note: Sports fans may be interested in our page about Charlie Metro (Nanty Glo's contribution to Professional Baseball) and a page on the United Mine Worker's website about the Coal Leagues.

You know you're from Utah when...

  • The wind is faster than your truck
  • Every other vehicle is a 4x4
  • When the sun goes down, you start looking for your coat
  • In March, your vehicle is 43 percent mud
  • You leave your keys in the car and the next morning it's still there

Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for the day

I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am.

Joseph Baretti

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