In 1881 the future National League wanted to upgrade its image and target a more upscale fan base by doubling ticket prices, banning gambling, and outlawing alcohol sales. Several team owners who happened to be brewers refused to accept the new rules and banded together to form what would eventually become the American League. The National League attempted to discredit the new league by dubbing it the Beer and Whiskey League. This, of course only made the new league more popular. Duh!

Monday, April 05, 2004

"Brown-Eyed Girl"

During the season opener between Tampa Bay and New York, Karl Ravech, part of a trio of bleary-eyed ESPN announcers, noted that Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl" had been playing over the P.A. between innings at the Tokyo Dome, and that somehow this was an indication of the "difference in cultures." At the time, I didn't really understand what he meant by that. He'd said it with sort of a smirk in his voice, so I could only assume it was an obvious difference, like the difference between sushi and Philly cheese steak. But it wasn't. Did he mean that because the Japanese were willing to embrace the foreign game of baseball, they were therefore also willing to embrace the foreign music of Van Morrison (a foreign concept)? Did he mean that the Japanese, willing to play a love song at a baseball game, are somehow fundamentally different from us Americans because of it? What on earth does the song "Brown-Eyed Girl" mean in relation to the cultural differences between Japan and the U.S.? I still can't think of a single one.

Now, this very evening, when Ron Gardenhire went to the mound to talk to J.C. Romero in the top of the 9th inning at the Metrodome, the familiar strains of "Brown-Eyed Girl" came over the P.A. Again, I tried to analyze the situation. If this were happening at Safeco Field, I'd say that because the Mariners have so many fans come from Japan to watch Ichiro, this was merely a nod to their fans who had traversed afar. But this was at the Metrodome, not exactly a hotbed of Japanese fandom. So what did it mean? Was there some couple making love in the green grass, behind the stadium? Was an old man being gunned down with a transistor radio? Was it because peoples' hearts were a-thumpin'? Are the Twins turning Japanese? Is it a dome thing? Is that what the "difference in cultures" is? Dome cultures versus open-air cultures?

By the way, Joe Mauer got his first hit. In America.