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Against Children

Kenesaw Mountain Landis takes aim at a young fan.

When it comes to child-rearing I (a) have no first-hand experience whatsoever but (b) possess an inordinate number of opinions on how strangers could be doing it better. Yes, I’m aware that this is an unattractive combination — one quite hostile to people who’re tasked with the responsibility of raising the leaders of tomorrow. And, yes, I’m definitely about to elaborate on this most indefensible of positions.

Particularly, I’d like to address the pang of hurt that manifests itself in my soul when I read press releases with headlines like this one (courtesy of the Seattle Mariners)

Kids Rule at Safeco Field

and which begin like so:

Salute to Kids
The fun gets underway on Sunday, April 10, the third home game of the season, with Salute to Kids Day. All kids 14 and under will receive a free Ichiro T-shirt, courtesy of The Boeing Company. A group of kids, ages 6-14, will be chosen at random to run the show with a variety of dream jobs including honorary team manager, scoreboard operator, public address announcer, camera operator and grounds crew member. Nine lucky kids will be introduced to the crowd and take the field with their favorite Mariners players before the game. Salute to Kids Day will be repeated on Sunday, August 28, when all kids 14 and younger will receive a Felix Hernandez T-shirt, courtesy of Boeing.

Firstly, I recognize that promotions are less representations of an organization’s core values and more an attempt on the part of said organization to draw fans. This is a fact with which I can live.

However, I’ll also submit that children generally do not possess the temperament required for baseball fandom. Having met some of them (i.e. children), I can tell you that they have little-to-no understanding of advanced baseball analysis, sometimes don’t even know the names of the players on their own team, and, finally, can’t hold their liquor at all. Furthermore, the taunts they hurl at the opposition are typically pretty weak, generally gravitating to the tritely scatalogical (Poop Face, Diarrhea Head, and the like).

Looking over the list of promotions being offered by the Mariners in 2011, I’m struck by the paucity of adult-themed offerings. There is something called Viva Las Vargas Night — which I see is only for patrons 21 & over — but I’m suspicious about it, too, as the three other 21 & over promotions are all giveaways of a most sedate manner, including a reusable bag for women, a “patriotic” cap, and a fleece blanket.

Allow me to note that I’m not advocating for the merely cruel and/or inhuman. For example, the Murder an Opposing Player Just with Your Bare Hands Night you see at some Argentinian football stadia presents obvious problems. But, surely, there’s some middle ground.

For example, perhaps it might be fitting to sample a flight of fine Venezuelan rums in honor of Felix Hernandez — or to go home with some fine domestic tobaccos in honor of UNC product and North Carolina native Dustin Ackley?

Let this not represent a formal submission for those particular promotions, but rather a general call for more adult-oriented promotions.