I'm surprised to see you so cynical about [baseball's] "golden age." After all, one of the defining characteristics of that period is that the Yankees were in the World Series almost every year (and usually won it).
That said, even if the Yankees go on another championship drought I'd still rather be a fan today than back then. For one thing, if I'd moved away from New York like I did when I went off to college, I'd never get anything more than wire reports on games, plus the occasional Saturday afternoon national telecast and maybe a regional broadcast when they played the Rangers. With cable and the Internet, I can follow my team as closely as I want, as if I were still on Staten Island.
Heck, even when I was growing up in New York I'd suffer separation anxiety. Every time the Yankees visited the West Coast, I'd have to wait until the afternoon paper came out to find out if they'd won or lost. What kind of way to live is that? Let's not even talk about the offseason, which is gloomy and grey enough as it is.
I agree with those who say that there's no better time than now to be a baseball fan. I can follow my team wherever I am. I can keep up with minor leagues, college teams, even baseball in Japan, if I want to. Statistics, analysis, profiles, box scores - it's all there for me.
Some people will try to tell you that today's players aren't as good as those who played when they were kids. (Note: Just to be clear, I'm not saying that Jeff is making this claim.) I say baloney. The talent pool is deeper than ever, and the best players are setting new standards. We overvalue players from the past for the same reason that we overvalue old movies - we only remember the few great ones that are worth remembering. We forget that for every Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, as for every "Casablanca" and "Rear Window", there were dozens if not hundreds of mediocrities that have long since slipped into a deserved obscurity. Today's undistinguished masses, like movies that star Jennifer Lopez, are right there in front of us where we can't conveniently overlook them, and this warps our perspective.
I'm a student and a fan of baseball's history. I look on baseball's past with fondness and admiration. I believe baseball is adding to its lore, not living off of it, and I believe that overhyping the glory of the past is counterproductive. The best is yet to come, and I believe that will be the case for a long time.Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 21, 2003 to Baseball | TrackBack