Lance Berkman hates all the new, shiny things making loud noises
The Marlins underwent a bevy of changes this offseason. They changed their name from Florida to Miami, they changed their uniforms to incorporate all the crazy highlighter colors they could find, opened a new stadium for a brazillian dollars, complete with bobblehead museum and giant pinball machine graphic home run sculpture, got a new fiery manager in Ozzie Guillen, and went out and signed some big name free agents, like Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle. However, none of that mattered to the reigning World Series Champs, as St. Louis came to town to open the season and tagged Miami’s ace, Josh Johnson, for two runs in their first six outs, and flirted with a no-hitter of their own en route to a 4-1 win, spoiling the Marlins’ opening night, which was complete with cheerleaders, flamenco dancers, DJs and bands. And what did noted opinion-sharer Lance Berkman think of all the hoopla? “NOT OLD-TIMEY ENOUGH!”
“I just feel like, if it were up to me — and it’s not; nobody asked me, and I don’t know why anybody would care about my opinion — but if I was building a stadium, I’d try to build it as close to like an older, cozier park,” said Lance Berkman, after the defending champs had finished off a 4-1 Opening Night win over the Fish on Wednesday night.
“Especially,” Berkman went on, “if I was building something like this, because this is in a neighborhood, like those old ballparks were. This is not like on the side of some interstate. This is in the middle of a neighborhood. And I felt like those old neighborhood ballparks had sort of a coziness that this one doesn’t necessarily have.”
Yeah, that’s pretty much what every state-of-the-art billion dollar stadium should strive to be: more similar to something built in 1900. What about all that pizazz and pomp, Lance?
“And I think what they’ve tried to do here is step forward in time. I mean, normally in baseball, you don’t see cheerleaders at a baseball game. They were there tonight. You don’t see flamenco dancers. They were there tonight. You don’t see DJs and bands during the game. You saw that tonight. So there’s a lot of things here where I think they’re trying to advance the game. And I’m not sure that baseball fans embrace that kind of change.”
“I just think baseball fans are universal,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where they are. I understand appealing to the culture that you are trying to appeal to. But I just feel like baseball fans have sort of a universal craving for yesteryear, so to speak. And it’s passed down from father to son. And people like to walk into the ballpark and remember. That’s why they like all the old stadiums. That’s part of baseball tradition.”
Yes, Lance understands pandering to “that culture,” but that isn’t Lance’s culture so he doesn’t like it. It’s new, and as any observer of baseball knows, “new” is code for scary and bad. That, in a nut-shell, is why baseball has fallen down the ladder of sports popularity over the last 20 years. If baseball hasn’t seen it before, they don’t like it. Typical conversation about change in baseball:
“Hey, we have the techology to make sure we don’t blow any calls with instant replay. Should we use it?”
”DID STAN THE MAN MUSIAL HAVE IT? THEN NO THANKS TO YOU.”
They have to yell because they’re old and can’t hear very well, you see.
This isn’t he first time Lance Berkman has taken the “cranky old man” view about baseball. Designated Hitters? Hates them. Astros to the AL? They’ve never been, and shouldn’t start now, says Lance. And now, bright and shiny stadiums with an attempt to bring energy into the experience? Needs more ivy and green monsters, says Berkman.
There are plenty of reasons to poke fun at the new Marlins and their garish home stadium. I mean, an interactive home run sculpture that looks like it was torn out of a Tim Burton fevered peyote trip? And wearing that orange? On purpose??
But you know one reason why we shouldn’t make fun of the Marlins? Because they’re not the Red Sox or the Cubs. In fact, that should be encouraged. Try new things, go bigger, go bolder, and once everyone can find the brightness settings on their televisions, nobody is going to be that offended by the changes Miami made this offseason. Unless you’re Lance Berkman, who hates all things that haven’t been around for 80 years or more.