Growing up in the early 80's, my first exposure to baseball was the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers, a team of blue collar, long-haired, crush-em and ask questions later beasts with a local who had a wooden leg as the manager. I loved it. It had mystique then, and has it even more now.
Observe, if available:
Oh, how it's twisted since then. Like everything else I've taken in since my brother Dan, God bless 'im, introduced me to the grand old game, I inhaled it's history. I've read dozens of books on baseball lore and biographies, memorized stats from bubble gum cards, and absorbed World Series highlight films as if it were my lifeblood. I take a look at current tv shows like the ones being run on FSN where they clean up old home videos of the glory years, watch MLB TV retrospectives, and can't help but feeling as if something's missing.
I can't quite put my finger on it. Money has made the game ill. It's dying. The era I grew up watching the Brewers, there were million dollar ballplayers, but they were the ultra-elite. Today's "common" ballplayers are millionaires, and the elite are performance-enhancer taking liars. Don't insult me or the game by comparing HGH to the "greenies" ballplayers took back in the day for alertness purposes on road trips. The logic doesn't match up.
Guys like Mays, Aaron, Mantle, and Maris got by on batspeed and natural strength. They weren't much bigger than I am, and quite often smoked cigarettes and even imbibed on occasion
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that behavior. My point is the numbers produced by these people today on ridiculous foreign substances aren't that much greater than what was accomplished by "normal human beings".
Attitudes. Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens are more often referred to as a-holes than nice guys. It's a sad state of affairs considering their considerable gifts. Yes, there were jerks back in the day, but the buttface to nice guy ratios is tilted much more significantly in the negative direction these days.
I carried baseball cards, bound by a rubber band, in my back pocket. Now they're stored in airtight, sealed containers, and little kids get trampled by adults for that expensive autograph, and in culmination, memorabilia has become a cottage industry.
It's all about what it's worth today. Not how it matters.