As someone who has been involved in pet rescue for over ten years and an AirHogs season ticket holder for three, some of the parallels are striking.
Why are pets dumped at the shelter? The usual reasons (regardless of validity): “it’s not trained”, “it’s too expensive”, “it doesn’t get along with our other pets”, “we just don’t want it anymore”, “it bit me.” How many people-centric variations of these do ball players hear when they’re cut?
Once a pet is dumped or a player is released, the parallels continue. I think much as many people consider pound puppies “broken”, they also don’t take independent ball seriously.
This is a major marketing issue that independent ball has – people are not going because it’s “not pro ball”, but they’re not necessarily going to the majors, either. This means they really don’t like baseball, or they don’t want to bother going to see it live. Maybe it’s pricing – the majors cost too much to go regularly, and the minors don’t cost enough for people to take seriously.
Here’s a news flash – the independent-league players are paid (not much), but it’s pro ball. Also, in the minors, they’re trying to get out, so they’re trying to get noticed. I’ve always thought a lot of people in the majors are more concerned about their longevity than championships. Depending on their contracts, most are paid win or lose, so why risk injury?
So, you can spend a lot of money on major-league tickets just like you can spend a lot of money on a designer mutt. In both cases, it may not be worth the money. What if you get a heartworm-positive ill-bred dog? What if they’re Mets tickets?
The next time you want a real dog, visit your local rescue. The next time you want real baseball, find a minor-league or independent-league park near you.