What happened to baseball’s sense of fun?

What happened baseball?

You used to be so fun.

So flirty.

So flashy.

So youthful.

Now? It feels like the romance was lost. The fun is no longer there. That feeling has been replaced with forgetful. This relationship has turned into work.

We can’t even celebrate the good times anymore. We use to not care about other people’s feeling in our path to prominence. That was the beauty of competition.

Now we can’t celebrate championship without it being “awkward?”

“It was just strange,” Ned Yost, manager of the defending world champion Kansas City Royals, told reporters after their season opener, “the pre-game ceremony. I think I would have enjoyed it more if we played another team. For them to relive that, it’s a little awkward.”

Since when was it awkward to meet the Mets?

It sure as hell doesn’t feel that way in the NBA when the champion dances and celebrates raising a banner and collecting their rings before waxing the visiting team as a way to christen the new season.

If celebrating a World Series championship is “awkward” then what does that make the spectacle of Opening Day?

If you ask Arizona Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale, it’s overhyped. Whose fault is that? Well, the media, of course.

“You guys (oh, here we go again with the yous guys) built it up really good,” Hale said during his post-game press conference after losing 10-5 to the Colorado Rockies, in what seems to be in a very sarcastic tone. “You did a nice job of it. I said it before the game, you guys really hyped it up. Every Opening Day is every Opening Day – it means no more than tomorrow’s game.”

“No more than tomorrow’s game,” he says. The only game that is a guaranteed sellout, the only game that starts with a blue angels fly over during the national anthem, is overhyped because of the local media, whose only crime is thinking the team was good.

Speaking of which, what about Shelby Miller, Arizona’s other big acquisition? “Probably build it up just the way tonight was built up, I’m sure you’ll do a good job of that too.”

Nothing seems to please the Diamondbacks manager. Nothing. Reporters must feel like Goldmember trying to offer Hale a smoke and a pancake.

You know, flapjack and a cigarette? No? All right. Cigar and a waffle? No? Pipe and a crepe? No? Bong and a blintz?

No?

Oh, well, then there is no pleasing you, Diamondbacks.

This is why Bryce Harper has become my favorite player. Baseball needs to be fun again and he took it upon himself became the face of this cause while being the face of baseball.

He even has a hat that read, “MAKE BASEBALL FUN AGAIN,” in red capital letters after hitting a home run in his first at-bat of the season against the Atlanta Braves, who’s fans probably booed him vigorously for having too much fun.

Even Carlos Correa has taken it upon himself to be the American League’s representation of the “MAKE BASEBALL FUN AGAIN” revolution. He even wrote the mission statement in a first-person piece for Sole Collector.

“We’ve romanticized the game’s past so much that we’ve forgotten about its future,” Correa wrote. “Since its beginnings, baseball has been guided by an invisible hand. A set of unwritten rules that all players are expected to adhere to. These unwritten rules are responsible for trying to kill our fans’ favorable perception of the game that we love. They strangle the passion and creativity of some of our sports most exciting athletes, all for the fear of breaking those unwritten rules. We are so enamored by the idea of what we think the game should look like that we fail to see how it could be seen. The past has been glorified so much that we resist any change at all for fear that it will degrade traditions but in doing so we have stopped the game from progressing forward. We are surprised and offended when we hear someone say the game is boring or dying, but we don’t take action to fix it.

“We are a generation of ballplayers who express ourselves through a level of energy, passion, and style that we bring every time we step on the field.”

Harper, Correa and others like them are the ones who should truly be the faces of baseball, not those like Mike Trouts or Paul Goldschmidt, who has the personality of a royal guard. Compare baseball’s stars to the NBA stars. State Farm has five marquee players act out as a sitcom family and it’s funny. Subway doesn’t even bother giving Trout a single line. They are literally paying him millions to eat their horrendous hoagies.

Baseball has indeed lost its charm and sense of joy and fun, for now. Baseball’s business is booming but its soul is in serious need of saving.

At least we know who the saviors are.

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About: Tony Capobianco

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Sports Kave senior writer

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