Baseball is life: what if the ballast went off?
I read that Public Landing in Cincinnati was made up of ballast and baggage. The immigrants who floated here from Europe arrived in boats laden with stones from the old country to counterbalance the eddies of the Atlantic. When ships arrived from Germany, Ireland, England or Italy, passengers picked up their meager belongings, rocks were thrown overboard, and stone debris was part of the city’s shores.
Better this romantic agglomeration than the weariness of digging limestone in the nearest outcrop. The analogies of building a crucible are self-written, and we must contemplate what our ancestors left behind.
One of those things, more in this city than any other, is a baseball team. We can complain as much as we want about free will and spiraling player costs, but it’s undeniably ironic that the whole gloriously capitalist enterprise has started right here at Union lands.
When we count the age of the Reds, we start not from the moment of conception, but from the moment of remuneration. And there’s a reason for that: Once it was learned that the Red Stockings were willing to pay their players, a solid two-year winning streak set in.
Once the gentleman’s rules were broken, there was no further reinforcement. It’s for better (team stability; players free to focus exclusively on baseball) and for worse (player revolving door; ten-year-olds checking in for Tommy John surgery.) was the natural way of things, at least in America; If Cincinnati hadn’t established itself as the epicenter of professional baseball players, then one of our first enemies would probably have snatched the honor.
But with professional baseball making its debut here, we have more to lose than the rest. There isn’t a living Cincinnatian who can’t remember a time when there was no team in residence, a claim that dates back at least three generations. It’s not Tampa. We can’t say for sure, “It was long before they played; everything will be fine when they are not.
Cincinnati faced this issue in the ’60s, and again in the’ 90s when the Reds and Bengals held taxpayers hostage for a new stadium. We gave in. We couldn’t imagine life without a home team. And now, in a time when we didn’t need to look up from the glowing rectangles in our hands to realize what city we are in, how many would even notice if the Reds even left?
If you were to participate in this levy question and vote yes for stadium taxes, would you vote the same in 2021?
Last week, a commentator mentioned that if the franchise is going, it is done. There would be no adoption of the Brooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers. And I realized that without branding the Cincinnati team too much as the Cincinnati team once they left Cincinnati, I would probably shrug my shoulders too and go back to my YouTube watchlist.
We have long considered our team as our ballast. He has held us steadfast in the breaking waves of war, economic crisis, riots, racial strife and now even the plague. What if we dropped it overboard, but didn’t use it to build something new? What if we allowed another city to take it to its own river or lake bed?
Does this team still help keep us together? Is it a counterweight against the strong winds of the outside world?
With a sharp decline in home attendance, we may have to face these questions.