Friday morning, a radio station was asking listeners to call in and tell them why they don't go to the games (“Orioles not alone: Monday a rough attendance night around baseball,” April 10). Since I no longer go, and no one else was calling in, I thought I'd give it a try. Got right through. When they finally picked up my call, I told them about my son and his buddy who used to go to games for a few years while they were in middle school. After the game. they would wait at the players fenced-in parking lot and try to get autographs. I would pick them up about an hour after the game. Some players would give fans one, but most would not. I'm sure they get hounded all the time. I know why they don't sign for adults who apparently can sell them to others, but to kids? Then the next year, so the players would not be bothered by their ticket-buying fans, they had a mesh netting put up so their adoring fans could not even see them.
This wasn't enough. The next year, they had steps dug into the bottom of the ramp so they wouldn't even have to walk up the ramp and past these kids. Having learned years before not to spend my hard earned money on millionaire players who don't give a darn about their fans, I had already stopped going. Needless to say, my son and his friend were confused as to why this would happen to them. I then told them that they did this so they would not have to bothered by them and that they should return the favor and stop going to watch them. Today, my son is 32, running his own successful business, and I bet it has been 10 years since he has gone to a game. I hope he, like me, never spends a dollar on them again.
Because I no longer waste money on professional athletes, we can take four or five vacations each year. By the way, I didn't become a millionaire myself by spending my money on the Orioles or Ravens. We were in Sarasota the end of February for a 12-day beach vacation. I wore an O's cap because it is a good topic of discussion. Someone asked me if I was going to a game, and my reply was, "I'm not giving up a great beach day to go watch this mediocre team full of players who will remain in Sarasota." They have so few prospects that they had three Rule 5 players on their roster. How can they compete with the Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays with minor league players on the team? A box seat ticket can cost more than $30, and the beer and hot dogs where the same as Camden Yards. The outing could easily cost $100.
On the way home tonight, I heard on the game that their team batting average is .202 for the season so far. It hasn't been that bad for 17 years, and you expect me to go watch these losers?
I just finished watching the O's beat the Jays on TV. I watch a lot of the games. That reminds me that the wonderful billionaire Peter Angelos and his family who took all games off local TV and that they are one of only a few teams that don't stream games. I hope the poor attendance is a sign of the future because they sure don't care about their fans. Just stay home and go watch a local high school team for free.
Joe Heldmann, Catonsville
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