Alex Massie

Sports for people who don’t like sport

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At Culture11, Michael Brendan Dougherty has a fine piece on how the people who run sports are more interested in catering to people who don't like sport than for those who, like, actually do. He's writing about the modern baseball experience but everything he says also, of course, applies to cricket. Especially Twenty20 cricket:

Like so many modern stadiums, the Nationals Ballpark experience doesn't trust the show it is ostensibly putting on: a baseball game. It partakes in the sensibility the brain-zapped sensibility that's come to dominate live sports. That's perfect for the jerks who don't care for the sport. For the rest of us, though, it's disheartening. The operating philosophy is that no one could possibly enjoy our national pastime without slathering it in techno-pizazz. Gone are the little moments that make the game unique: the superstitious gestures, the punch of the ball into an outstretched glove, the strange diction of the umpire, the din of a crowd punctured by cotton-mouthed vendors. Instead the game is merely the occasion for a larger and more comprehensive "event".

Rugby union is trying something similar, mind you, what with all these new "experimental" laws that are designed to turn the game into some tedious facsimile of rugby league just so a few more Australians can be persuaded to follow the sport. Never mind the millions of people who like the game as it is and see no need for change. Of course, liking the game as it is means you're part of the problem. People who have no interest in the sport are the future and the solution my friends...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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