In 1993, the acclaimed novelist Richard Ford wrote a piece for the New York Times called “Stop Blaming Baseball.”
Check it out:
Sometimes I think it might be instructive just to turn my fan’s back on the game, vote with my feet, find new books to read, go hunting in October, fishing in April, let baseball crash and burn and see what comes up from the ashes. That’s the American way, too: chop down all the trees, kill the animals, pollute the rivers, then try to figure out what to do with the real estate. (It may be happening anyway.)
Or less severely, I’ve thought we could just call baseball off for a year or two. Take a breather. Clear our heads of all the clatter and clack. Fewer of us than we suppose might mind — mostly the writers would mind.
But finally it’s not even that important to me. I would feel silly acting betrayed, as some do, and taking extreme measures just because my national pastime won’t allow me the precise same pleasures it always has. And so, in a purely self-serving way, I have declared myself willing to reorder my priorities (you have to work earnestly for your illusions). And excepting for my own list of suggested alterations, I’m willing to use my imagination to believe that baseball will stay enough the same for me to go on liking it as it faces the difficult challenges of coming into a new century unexempt from antitrust, sharing its precious revenues, paying its players more but making them not that much happier and somehow resisting the urge to become more and more like jai alai. I still sincerely wish somebody would get rid of the goddamn mascots, and I wish ballplayers, especially those who’re making unusually large sums but for some reason “are not seeing the ball well enough this year,” would quit telling me that they’re out there to have fun when they don’t seem to be having that much and when I don’t really care to begin with.