According to the Colorado Rockies’ official website, this year (as opposed to other years?) is being dubbed the “Year of the Fan.” Throughout the 2012 season, the organization intends to be “celebrating 20 years with the fans” by giving away some typically shoddy merchandise and promoting Purple Mondays — seemingly just another gimmick to sell more seats — yet inexplicably being pitched as some kind of patriotic stance of togetherness during what promises to be another unbearably long election year.
The half-minute promo video assures us, however, that this is not about politics. Players stand proudly alongside carefully selected fans (representing every demographic) in front of a massive, screen-swallowing American flag.
Framed in a similar way to that iconic image of George C. Scott giving that speech in Patton, the players do their best to plug the apolitical “together, we’re purple” message.
“It’s about a game,” several players repeat, again and again, as if trying to convince us of something.
“America’s game!” grunts clubhouse card-shark Michael Cuddyer.
“And,” the aged Todd Helton professes, “it’s about a color.”
If the organization thinks that celebrating the Year of the Fan means rallying around such banalities as “purple” being “a mix of red and blue states,” while throwing in a few $1 hot dog nights, then excuse us if we don’t rush to the box office wearing violet pants and indigo shoes. What a joke!
It’s no secret that pro sports fans are under-appreciated and undervalued, but if this is truly to be the Year of the Fan, at least try not to insult our intelligence and rob us of our dignity at the same time.
By this point, are we not getting fed up with bread and circuses enough so that we’re finally able and willing to demand something more dignified than just another fridge magnet schedule or King Soopers lunch bag as a sign of appreciation?
Instead of passively accepting another top-down initiative from above, perhaps this whole “Year of the Fan” thing can blossom into a grassroots project directed by the fans themselves.
It’s time once again to change the playing field.
Coincidentally, on this very date, forty-six years ago, major league baseball implemented an artificial field of play. A synthetic surface known as ChemGrass, developed by the notorious corporation Monsanto. As if the nefarious multinational wasn’t already responsible for enough damage worldwide, it also disfigured the great game of baseball at one time. This artificial construct, later referred to as AstroTurf, soon became abhorred by fans and players alike until it was rendered obsolete.
It would be a crying shame if in 2012, the Year of the Fan — full of so much potential for change, for fan input and participation — became known as just another artificial construct implemented from above.
Therefore, I’ve got a game plan in the works to help facilitate conversation and change from the ground up.
Stay tuned next week for a preview of the tentatively titled:
“Pro Baseball Partnership Tour: cross-country conversations on community ownership in the Year of the Fan.”