Monday, April 28, 2014

Grandstand(ing and) Glory

A new card arrived in the mail the other day- one which caused me to pause and think about the generation gap that's exhibited between ballplayers who are more 'old-school' and the newer generation of players who are more of the 'You-Tube/look-at-me' school of ridiculousness...

My least favorite (current) player in major league baseball- Carlos Gomez of Milwaukee- was in the news a lot last week due to the antics he displays whenever he hits (or appears to hit) a home run. The latest brewhaha (pun intended): a bench-clearing brawl between the Brewers and Pirates after Gomez hit what he thought was a home run and then doing his thing, which irritated Gerrit Cole. Personally, I think Gomez is a psycho and the biggest D-Bag in the game. Others, particularly some in the media, celebrate his 'personality,' saying that he makes the game fun and that he should not change. Tools and skills like those he possess make him fun to watch- not him acting like a jag.

The word 'grandstand' seems to have gotten lost on us- it's one that used to be used quite often when speaking of spectator sports. Now, we speak of bleachers, luxury boxes and suites, club-reserved seats and general admission seats. You get the point. Hear the word today, and you're more likely to hear it used as a verb- as in, "Gomez is grandstanding- who does he think he is?! What a douche!" He's looking to bring attention to himself. Seeking the glory.

Back in the 50's, hearing the 'g' word would invoke the ballpark, the racetrack- where fans would sit as they cheered on their heroes or the horse they just put their paycheck on to win.

Five decades ago, long before Carlos Gomez graced the city of Milwaukee with his presence, another player patrolled center fielder (among other positions) in old Milwaukee County Stadium- Andy Pafko. Like Gomez, Pafko could do it all: hit for average, power, good arm, fleet afoot. The way I see it, the difference between the two is that Pafko was well-respected and had the reputation of one of the friendliest players in the game. Gomez' tools might be respected, but his persona is not.

Anyway- this insert set is a nice alternative to the typical jersey swatch or piece of bat relic that are often inserted into cardboard. This is the second that I've picked up, and I still a few more that I need to chase down for my master Braves Heritage sets.

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