@mikeschubert I’ve been asked not to play any songs that connect to the players
— Matthew Kaminski (@bravesorganist) September 12, 2015
But of course. You wouldn’t want to have anything unique at Turner Field to distract us from the focus group-approved distractions. Hey, time to the do The Chop again. Or how ’bout some more Zac Brown?
It’s possible, if you’re a middle-aged white guy from the suburbs with bad taste in music and a passing interest in baseball, to enjoy the Turner Field experience. As for the rest of us, well, fuck off!
They practically give the game itself the middle finger. A rich team history receives rare acknowledgement at the old ball yard. When the Braves celebrated their 50th anniversary on alumni weekend, did they show any of the old players on the video board between innings, or replay highlights of great moments from the past? Grudgingly, it at all.
Besides, fans come for Kiss-Cam and the cheerily bombastic platitudes of carnival barker Mark Owens. And all those clever attractions, like Zombie Night, featuring Zombie Survival Kits, because zombies are popular now. At least they haven’t repeated “Gone With the Wind Night,” held in 2011.
Anyone for a Wayne LaPierre bobblehead?
Last September I attended a game at Camden Yards, where the distractions were minimal, vendors actually circulated through the Upper Level and the musical offerings included a Smiths song and an R.E.M. tune other than “It’s the End of the World As We Know It.”
Meanwhile, way down yonder on the Chattahooch … a jackass playing Fiddler Hero accompanies “Devil Went Down to Georgia” on the big screen.
To Liberty, the Braves, er, Cobb County Baseball Concern, might as well be the Diamondbacks. Except the D’backs are outdrawing the Braves this year. The Braves will have to sell about 22,000 tickets per game over the final 14 to reach 2 million, a figure they’ve exceeded every year since ’91. They’ll have to fudge the numbers to reach it in 2015.
TV ratings are also way down. As of July 17, when the Braves were still considered overachievers, Atlanta placed 23rd among the 29 U.S. teams with a 2.3 rating, nearly half Arizona’s 4.24.
Of course the play on the field has a great deal to do with it, but I’m encountering more and more longtime Atlantans — those that still care even a little — who have grown to resent the Braves. Animus and apathy — a winning combination.
The Office is in it for good, but there’s not a whole lot of us lifers left. We have out-of-town corporate ownership, and it’s eager facilitator, The Worst Commissioner Ever, to thank for that. And for the worst local TV contract in the game. “Golden age,” right Bud?
Meanwhile, the Braves just set a franchise record with their 11th straight home loss in front of a home crowd nearly partisan to the Mets. Bummer, but at least we’ve still got the Home Depot Tool Race!
And it’s likely to get worse. Not on the field, but inside the new Cobb County home, sure to be a beacon to sanitized. pale-faced family entertainment.