- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 26, 2002

It's a shame they already selected baseball's most memorable moment. I think the picture of 3-year-old Darren Baker nearly being run over at home plate in Thursday night's Game 5 might have ranked right up there, particularly had J.T. Snow plowed into him instead of scooping him up.
When did the dugout become a day care center? It's not enough that the children of these high-priced millionaires already are living a privileged life; they have to take away a dream job for young kids, being a batboy on a baseball team?
"I think he was arguing with the other batboys over who was going to get Kenny Lofton's bat," Giants manager Dusty Baker said, explaining how his son nearly got trampled at home plate. "He's one of his favorites."
I've seen Kenny Lofton's act. The kid could use a better role model.
Can you imagine a former Giants manager, Leo Durocher, putting up with batboys arguing over who will retrieve a bat? Leo barely tolerated ballplayers, let along their kids.
What's next, changing tables in the dugout? Diaper bags alongside bat bags? Can Raffi singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" be far behind?
Had Snow actually collided with Darren Baker, it certainly would have been symbolic. Baseball is running over a whole generation of young fans who will grow up with memories of watching the first two or three innings of the World Series. The only kids who are getting to watch the entire Series are the sons of the players who are in the dugout.
For that matter, not many adults who live on the East Coast are hanging around for the end of the games, either, at least not the ones who have jobs. But that doesn't seem to matter much to Cadillac Bud Selig and the boys. Let's hope that neither team runs out of pitchers in Game 6 tonight if the game is tied and headed into extra innings. We know how that scenario ends.
Television has robbed a generation of fans of memorable moments. You know those virtual signs that Fox keeps sticking in our faces behind the batter? They should have one that says "Go Soak Your Head" or since it's Fox something more graphic to declare how much baseball values nurturing young fans compared to how much baseball values nurturing network money.
How many of those moments on that list that baseball presented as the greatest moments happened in the first three innings of a game? (Ironically, the winning moment, Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive games record and the celebration surrounding it, at least happened in the middle of the game.)
Most of those moments, though, occurred at the end, when something was accomplished, when some dramatic result took place that won a game in the ninth inning. (With no apologies to voters, the most memorable moment in baseball was Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World," in 1951, when the New York Giants beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the final game of a best-of-3 playoff for the National League pennant. Everything else is second place. It's also worth noting that a generation of young baseball fans had a chance to experience that moment because it happened in the afternoon.)
After the game Thursday night, Snow described how, in addition to his fielding, hitting and baserunning duties, he performed his babysitting task while crossing the plate. "I just reached behind me and luckily grabbed him by the collar and lifted him up," Snow said. "His eyes were huge. I don't think he knew what was going on. But he's a good luck charm right now. When he's in the dugout, we do pretty well. So we can't have him go down. We need him as much as we need any of our players."
It would be nice if baseball valued the kids at home who have to buy their hats and jerseys and other baseball merchandise as much as it does the little princes that belong to its royal family.

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