Monday, May 19, 2014

Rant #1,210: Two For the Price of One

I remember that as a kid, growing up in Rochdale Village, South Jamaica, Queens, New York, I used to go up and down the baseball schedule of both the Yankees and Mets and see when the doubleheaders were scheduled.

They were usually slotted on holidays, like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, and my friends and I used to partake of one or two of these double dips each year.

With new ballparks, inflated salaries and the fact that every gate is important, the traditional doubleheader pretty much as faded from view in current times.

Now, when the schedule forces teams to play two games in one day, it is usually a split doubleheader, with one game during the day and another in the evening.

And a split doubleheader means two independent admissions. People have to pay twice to see both games.

This is fleecing the customer; everyone knows it, but no one says anything about it.

Yesterday was a revelation at Yankee Stadium, harkening back to my childhood, and while I did not attend the real, honest to goodness doubleheader that they had there yesterday, I did watch it on television, and it was fun, even though the Yankees split the doubleheader with the Pirates.

Evidently, the Yankees and Pirates both have an off day today, but the Pirates refused to schedule Friday night's rainout as a Monday makeup game.

Since the Pirates only visit the Stadium once this season--this is an interleague series--the Yankees were forced to schedule an old-fashioned doubleheader yesterday so that the game could be made up.

I remember one particular doubleheader I went to.

The Yankees were playing their arch-rival Red Sox, and somehow, my friends and I got tickets all the way down at old Yankee Stadium, down the left field line.

Red Sox pitcher Tom House--who later would get notoriety as the guy who caught Hank Aaron's 715th home run in the bullpen when Aaron broke Babe Ruth's homerun record--was giving autographs right in our area, so I went down to get one.

A lot of kids were there, and he seemed to be giving autographs only to girls. I said this to him, and he uttered something really nasty to me. I don't remember if it was with curses, or just something nasty, but I said to him something in the effect of, "You won't give me an autograph? When you come into the game today, you are going to get your head handed to you," or something like that.

The first game was tied, and it was either the ninth or the 10th inning, I don't remember, but House came in, and promptly gave up the game winning homerun to Graig Nettles.

There were many, many other doubleheaders I attended as a kid, and while not as memorable as that one, they were all fun, I can tell you that.

Baseball, which we all know is a multi-billion-dollar business, should step back and look at itself.

In a game which is deep in nostalgia, it should have each team play one traditional doubleheader a year.

It would be really nice, and would be a great way to say to the fans, "Thank you," for standing by this game during thick and thin.

Wouldn't it be nice? Sure would be, and yes, this was talked about yesterday on the Yankees game.

Let's see if MLB picks up on this.

Somehow, I doubt it.

Sorry, Ernie Banks, we won't play two today.

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