With the Travelers – Day Five


Nick Green gets a hand slap from a local Little Leaguer before the June 11 game against Springfield.

I’ll make this quick, as I have to fly home in the morning.

The Travs lost 3-2 to Springfield. Nick Green had a shaky start but settled down. After allowing hits to five of the first nine batters he faced, Nick then retired 14 in a row. In six innings, he struck out seven and walked none.

I filmed some video of Nick from behind home plate, and will try to get it on-line in a few days. I also have video of Nick Adenhart and Amalio Diaz, and more of other guys but I have to sort through it all.

And plenty of photos, of course.

Once again, I want to thank the Travelers fans for all their hospitality. I was constantly amazed by how polite, considerate and helpful everyone was. And in the five days I was here, probably seven or eight strangers came up to ask if I were Stephen Smith so they could tell me how much they enjoy my web site and reading this blog. Since I rarely see any posts from these folks, I’m always surprised to hear they’re out there. But they are.

The dichotomy between how people behave in person and how they behave on the Internet is fascinating. I’ve seen people who constantly smear my name and reputation on the Internet lack the guts and personal integrity to come up to me personally and say it to my face, even though they walk right past me. The anonymity of the Internet gives courage to cowards.

There’s a Travs blog too, run by fans, not the team. It suffers from many of the same problems. People post all sorts of allegations, smears, personal attacks and flat-out lies. Yet I don’t see those personalities when I walk around Dickey-Stephens Park. It just reinforces my belief that the complainers are a very small minority who lack the courage to say anything in the real world.

I’ve been reading Al Gore’s latest book, The Assault on Reason. Setting aside for the moment the partisan content, one central theme is how we as a culture respond more to fear and irrationality than to logic and reason. A lot of what he says applies to how people behave on the Internet.

In particular, he points to the invention of first radio and then television. Before that, people read and wrote opinions, and engaged in two-way discourse. Radio and television are passive media — people listen but they can’t interact with it.

That said, Gore posits that the ubiquity of the Internet will help restore reasoning to our political discourse because the technology provides a means for people to interact, express opinions, and debate. It also circumvents the corporations who control access to the radio and television media.

I’m not sure I buy all that. For people to reason, first they have to be taught how to reason. More often than not, I see people of similar beliefs herd off into their own little groups. For example, the Angels bulletin board operated by Major League Baseball has spawned five or six sites run by fans disgusted by the juvenile and extremist behavior exhibited on that site. Those fan sites have pretty much evolved into their own cliques, small groups that agree with each other and attack other sites who don’t share their beliefs. Some of those sites are closed to the public, unless you’re willing to sign up for access.

So I don’t see the interactive discourse Gore believes will happen. It’s mostly fragmentation into smaller and smaller groups.

Anyway, time to go to bed and fly out in the A.M. Thanks again, Travs fans.

2 Comments

Stephen, it was nice seeing you at the park this past weekend. Hope you enjoyed your time here in the Rock. My wife and I attended most of the games in which you attended. Talked to you briefly while you were filming in our section. Thanks for coming out here…and for the reviews of the park and fans.

Karch

Thank you for posting, and for taking the time to talk with me. I really was surprised by how many Travs fans took the initiative to start a conversation. Far more than when I visit the other affiliates.

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