MLB Commentary: A Guest Columnist recalls the days of the ‘ole ballgame

A Boy's game on the streets of New York (Photo: Matt Weber)

MLB fans will always be passionate about the game of baseball. Michael Tirella has MLB blood in his veins. Please welcome him as a guest columnist today.

Editor’s Note

In response to a story I wrote and published on my website, Reflections On Baseball, I received this compelling and thoughtful email from Michael Tirella, who came across the article titled, Yankees: YES rating plummet – welcome to MLB 2020.

Michael takes the theme I was attempting to communicate to a whole new level, and one I suspect will resonate with many of you as well. Thanks, Michael.

Regards, Steve Contursi


Hi Steve!

I really enjoy your writing. Thank you for providing me with your thoughts. Here’s mine…from a 62 yr old lifelong Yankee fan who was drafted by and played briefly in the Minnesota Twins organization.

Michael Tirella
Michael Tirella
I have a 38-year coaching career at the high school level still in progress. My point is that the game is in my blood. I smell baseballs when they’re unwrapped. The sound of a wood bat hitting a ball makes me smile from ear to ear.

I have always “cheered for the laundry.” If they’re wearing the pinstripes I’m their fan. Here’s my take on why ALL PRO SPORTS are on the downswing…

1.)  The quality of the game itself is close to unwatchable. The NBA leads the pack but MLB is right in line. There’s no more strategy. The sacrifice, suicide, push, and base hit bunts have been close to removed from baseball.

The sacrifice bunt - what's that? (Photo: Chicago Tribune)
The sacrifice bunt – what’s that? (Photo: Chicago Tribune)
Moving runners, hit n run, even stolen bases are reduced. It bores me to watch strikeouts and home runs accompanied by the celebration after doing your JOB. Thus the term PROFESIONAL sports which now only means that even average players receive 10 years of a working man’s salary in one season.

2.)  They have outpriced families and the real fans at the ballpark. You feel more connected at the park and it makes you want to follow the team closer. They don’t even let fans move down closer in the late innings. I used to go to 20-30 games. Now…I go to ONE MLB game.

MLB ticket $5.00 in 1971 (Photo:
MLB ticket $5.00 in 1971 (Photo:
3.)  Young people are more interested in the players than the teams. If Judge isn’t hitting we can watch something else till he comes up again. They don’t have an appreciation for THE GAME. Even at the ballparks, it’s like an amusement park for things to do for the kids instead of watching the game.
My father used to come away from the ticket booth at Yankee Stadium and stand in front of us with the tickets and say…
-Don’t ask me for ANYTHING! If you’re hungry your mother made sandwiches. I’m not buying souvenirs.

-You’re here to WATCH THE GAME. If you don’t, we’ll go home. So…I learned to keep score and I’d get a scorecard and pencil with a quarter I saved.

Baseball, a beer, and a ballpark (Photo: picclick)
Baseball, a beer, and a ballpark (Photo: picclick)
It isn’t the YES Network. Their broadcasts are as good or better than any in the league. It isn’t the commercials. I can still recite the old ones (The most rewaaaaaarding flavor, in this man’s world…..Schaefer is the, one beer to have when you’re having more than one!) Lol!
It isn’t the length of the game. I used to feel like a rollercoaster ride just ended when the last out was made. It’s the quality of the game itself and the national marketing of the stars of the game rather than the teams.
Fantasy leagues…oh brother! It’s MLBs turning its back on the everyday fan. Each game is only 1/162nd of a season. I used to go to an entire series if we were in the pennant chase. I’d have to skip a month on my mortgage to do that now!
I hope at least I got to entertain YOU for a little while with a different perspective. God bless! Happy holidays!

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.