The Environmental Impact of the Most Important Rain Delayed Baseball Game Ever

Phillies kidAs I sit down to write this, there are fireworks going off down the street. People are yelling and screaming, hooting and hollering. Car horns are honking.

I live about 5 miles as the crow flies from South Philly, and the Phillies just won the World Series in the most important rain delayed baseball game ever.

I’m not a big sports fan, but like everyone else in the region, I’ve felt the excitement of the past week. A sea of red t-shirts and baseball caps has poured out of the elementary school doors each day when I pick my kids up from school. My local friends who have Facebook accounts have been talking Phillies for days. It’s been Phillies Fever all the way. The rain delay and the two days of waiting for this final game to continue has only added to the frenzy.

But I’ve got to wonder, what was mother nature thinking when she rained out Tuesday night’s game? Didn’t she realize that the environmental impact of this particular game would be doubled?

  • Double the traffic jams going over the bridges and on 95.
  • Double the gas it took all the cars to drive to the stadium.
  • Double the cars idling in the parking lot while the the tailgating went on before the game (Does the rest of the country tailgate like Philadelphians? It’s an art form here.)
  • Double the trash created from the tailgating. I doubt too many people made sure their Coors Light cans ended up in a recycle bin.
  • Double the number of beer and soda cups, bottles from water, hot dog wrappers and popcorn bags thrown in garbage.
  • Double the energy used to light the stadium and run the concession stands.
  • Double the …..

I don’t begrudge Philadelphia its fun. It’s been a while since the City of Brotherly Love has had a big win like this. I may not join in in all the excitement over professional sports, but I understand its importance in our culture. It brings people together. Families gather on Sunday afternoons to watch a game and end up sharing dinner together, brothers head out to the bar together to watch the big game on the big screen tv, friends tailgate in the parking lot even when they don’t have tickets to the game.

Still, I have to wonder if there is a way to do the whole sports arena experience more environmentally friendly because each game takes a big toll on the environment. And when mother nature pulls what she pulled this past Tuesday night, the toll is doubled.

Image courtesy Bob Jagendorf from flickr.

  1. Bobby B.

    You are really reaching for a topic here. Since recorded human history spans between 50 and 60 centuries, the environmental impact of any baseball season is utterly insignificant; much less one rain delayed game. That includes the effects of tail-gating and fireworks at sporting events and other celebrations.

    You greens have been working tirelessly for decades to turn back the clock and to radically change the routine portions of human existence. You have instigated bans on pesticides that protect mankind from diseases spread by insects. You have lobbied against chemical fertilizers that improve crop production. You want more control over our means of transportation, our diet and how we prepare it, the construction methods used to build our shelters, and the methods we use to dispose of our wastes. You’ve convinced our employers to go green (although many do so simply for marketing purposes). You take to the woods to taunt those who hunt wild game. You protest recreational fishing events. You have even infiltrated religion by convincing people that salvation can only be achieved by doing “green” good works.

    Your agenda has been so successful that life becomes less enjoyable with each passing day. You are joyfully leading us to the stifling existence of Tom Hanks’ character in the opening of “Joe Versus the Volcano”. I would suggest that everyone read Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” or L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” to see just how perfect our world will be when you squash the human spirit and control everything. Of course, nothing in those books could sway the followers of Mann, Dewey, Orwell, Wells, Nietzsche, Marx, Carson, Ehrlich, et al. And one would be remiss to dismiss the disciples of Alinsky, who wrote:

    “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”

    So, please, I beg you, move baseball to the bottom of your target list. I would ask that you take it off the list completely, but I know that nothing in this world is sacred enough to be considered off limits by your power seizing agenda. However, if at all possible, let baseball be the last glimmer of hope that you extinguish.

  2. Robin Shreeves

    Bobby – I always love your comments but today I just have to say lighten up, man. I specifically said, I don’t begrudge Philadelphia it’s fun. I understand the importance of sports. Suggesting that people recycle their Coors Light cans or turn off their engines while tailgating or find some more responsible way to deal with the trash that is generated at a sporting event is not the same as attacking the game.

    My kids are decked out in their red today like every other kid from this region. There is an energy in the air around here today that is unusual and it’s a good thing.

    By the way, lumping all of “you greens” together is about as infuriating as lumping together all people of one religion or one race. You seem to have a very negative stereotype of people who care about the environment in your head. You’d be surprised to find out I really don’t fit your stereotype at all.

    I fight for the environment because of my religion, not because it is my religion. I am a Christian through and through. I hold a B.S. in Bible from Philadelphia Biblical University (very conservative Bible college), and my environmentalism comes out of a desire to care for creation – not earn my salvation through green works. I am secure in where my salvation comes from and it certainly isn’t from the recycle bin sitting at my front curb right now.

    I don’t desire to control anyone and I certainly don’t want the government to control anyone. I want people to use their common sense when it comes to things like garbage disposal and using our natural resources at a rate that our planet simply cannot sustain.

    Madeleine L’engle is my hero. I’m not kidding. I cried for days when she died last year. My sixth grade teacher read us “A Wrinkle in Time” and it changed my life. If you read her non-fiction works you will find that she was very concerned about caring for creation.

    I come from a hunting and fishing family. My uncles who hunt taught me as a kid about nature and the importance of caring for the environment through their actions. There were no spoken lessons – no green preaching. Just a respect for the woods and the animals. I understand that many people do not see hunting animals as respectful, but I saw it differently up close as a kid.

    Upon re-reading my post, I can see how it didn’t come off as light-hearted as I had intended to be. Perhaps I should have done one of these 😉 after I’d written “what was mother nature thinking?” If I give the impression that I want to see baseball taken away, then I correct that impression. I don’t.

  3. Rooster

    Bobby…take a pill or something man.

    I agree that many green oriented organizations are not in it for the people but more for ‘Mother Earth’, and without humanity the ability to appreciate Mother Earth is lost.

    I honestly believe that there is a new movement within the green community that looks at being green as more of a practical way of life instead of a radical transition of human existence. Ultimately in the end we (humanity) will need a big change so that we are doing things that aren’t going to be any more harmful to the environment than absolutely needs to be.

    I’m not a tree hugger by anyone’s imagination…I’m not giving up meat (period end of discussion). I smoke cigarettes, I field strip them then throw the butt away in a trash can now. I use more than my share of electricity because of the nature of my job…but I’m making every effort to cut that down.

    Simply put, being green is becoming practical…end economical in many situations. This is a good thing and I believe that Robin is one of those people leading the green-practical movement.

    So cut her a little slack.

  4. Bobby B.

    @Rooster: I was not trying to trash Robin as an individual and may have been a little passionate. However, the piece did suggest that baseball is an environmental menace.

    @Robin: You should know that my post was designed to solicit a response for further exploration. You are undoubtedly a good person who has a history of seeking to do the right thing. Unfortunately, you have aligned yourself with a movement that originated with a larger agenda than clean air, clean water, or any of the other green talking points. I understand your infuriation at being lumped in with all greens. However, we are all judged – to a degree – by the company that we keep and the aggregate beliefs shared by those in that company. If you are seeking to Christianize the environmentalists, then I wish you luck. However, I would caution you to stay vigilant and pray for protection to avoid being lured into accepting the tenets of their front groups and political allies.

    BTW, congratulations on the big win. Being an Astros fan, I have to wonder how Brad Lidge managed to go from phenomenal to mediocre in Houston in a couple of seasons, but instantly returned to phenomenal in Philadelphia. Maybe he just needed a change of scenery.

  5. Robin Shreeves

    Bobby – The “further exploration” is one of the good things about blogs. I can write what I want and you can respond how you want. And as long as you (and everyone else) keeps it respectful, no matter how much you disagree with me, I’ll welcome your responses.

    Believe me, as a naturally social person who spends a good deal of her day alone in her office with just her computer, this type of back and forth is stimulating and an important part of keeping me sane.

  6. Justin Van Kleeck

    Bobby, I always respect your opinions in your comments, but I have to call you on your habit of generalizing. “You greens.” You criticized me heavily for generalizing in my litterbug hunters post, yet you are always ready to lump “greens” into one (hyper-liberal, silly, unrealistic) nefarious group of rights killers. I am sure you are more intelligent than that, but still your comments often suggest that anything green has you seeing red without any further consideration–and that anyone who cares for the Earth in any way is of a type.

  7. Bobby B.

    @Justin: If it’s okay for B. Hussein O. to generalize (Midwesterners “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them”), should it not be okay for me to do the same? 😉

    We all go general – sometimes stereotypical – when making blanket statements about groups or segments of society, and we all are within our right to challenge such generalizations. I find it interesting that on a national scale right-wingers (like myself) are expected to accept generalizations like Bible thumping, gun clinging, bigoted, etc. without taking offense. It is also interesting that southerners (again like myself) are expected to turn the other check to generalizations like inbred, uneducated, NASCAR lovin’, etc. However, when one begins to make any generalizations about members of leftist groups, they are well within their right to reject such claims, take offense and set the record straight. But let me step away from that soapbox and move on to what I hope will be the better path.

    You and Robin are probably not directly conjoined to the “nefarious group of rights killers”. However, in my original comments, what was (is) the driving force behind the examples listed? The environmental movement answers the question nicely. Now, you and Robin may generate posts because you genuinely care for Creation, or the earth, or whatever you want to call it. You two may have absolutely no desire to force your neighbor to adopt some green habits. You just want to passively say your piece in the hopes that he will take it to heart, see the error of his ways, and make positive changes. That is commendable, but how does the movement at large achieve such ends? They do it through marketing, lobbying, and political alliance building to pass legislation that directly affects your neighbor’s lifestyle. And once that change is implemented, there is always another scare looming on the environmental horizon and awaiting the same strong-arm tactics to further enforce change “for the better” upon your neighbor. I made my comments becasue I do not want to ever see baseball become a green target on the horizon. So, I do apologize to all those who take offense to the blanket statement “you greens”, but I hope that you can see how the historical perspective supports the generalization.

  8. Justin Van Kleeck

    Bobby, as always you make some good, intelligent points. But I think all the things you mention go both ways. The problem here is generalization in general, by whatever side/group, and a wholesale societal expectation–even appreciation–of simply letting blanket attacks fly unchallenged. Everyone does it at some point and everyone is expected to accept it and suck it up. The “right” is no more a victim of this than the “left,” and “greens” are no more guilty of it (and the other things) than the anti-greens. In the end I think we each have to be extremely careful about falling into this habit and letting biases/prejudices cloud our thinking.

    You are far too intelligent to need generalizations to make your points and keep us all questioning our assumptions. Your specific criticisms & witticisms are helpful and enjoyable. But remember what Blake said: “To Generalize is to be an Idiot.” 🙂

  9. Bobby B.

    @Justin: Does Blake’s statement make you the pre-idiot and me the post-idiot? You were guilty first. 😉 BTW, you are still assuming that my generalization was by accident or out of ignorance, when in truth I employed the technique for a purpose. Please continue reading.

    Intelligence aside, you can see how my opening with a broad generalization expanded the conversation beyond Robin’s original wistful musings about the environmental impact of a baseball game. I was able to successfully extract a range of responses (thoughtful, emotional, offended, etc.) from the audience. We learned a little something about Robin’s faith and reasoning. We learned that Rooster believes that green is becoming practical. Your comments continue to be analytical, not unlike your other posts. However, the interesting thing about the comments is not what was said but what was avoided.

    Rather than attempt to debunk any of my statements about the rights grabbing history of the BIG GREEN collective, the responders made statements to distance themselves from the collective with a “not me” disclaimer. Why do this? Why would any green distance himself from the successes of BIG GREEN? Is there some shame involved when asked to confront the past? My answer would be that it is less about shame than the desire we all possess to be seen as individuals more than as part of any collective or group. Since its inception, BIG GREEN has allied itself with groups that were/are outside the mainstream; or what it calls the establishment. BIG GREEN has strong historical ties to organizations that share the following views: liberalism, socialism, women’s rights, minority rights, pro-class envy, pro-abortion, anti-Christian, anti-gun, anti-hunting, anti-fishing, anti-meat, anti-war, anti-nuclear, anti-capitalism, etc. The central idea championed by virtually all of the BIG GREEN organizations (and their political allies) is based upon the concept that the world’s woes require government sponsored collective solutions. These solutions universally require that the individual relinquish some of his rights to a central authority.

    So, what choices remain for the rank-and-file environmentalist? I have a few ideas:

    1. Give up his individuality: Join the BIG GREEN collective, accept all of the beliefs that its leaders extol, and actively campaign to force change on his neighbor.

    2. Retain his individuality: Leave the BIG GREEN collective, reject all of the beliefs that its leaders extol, and let his neighbor live out his existence however he chooses.

    3. Strike a compromise: Accept and propagate the beliefs that he shares with BIG GREEN’s leadership, but keep quiet about the beliefs he rejects to avoid rejection.

    4. Strike a different compromise: Accept and propagate the beliefs that he shares with BIG GREEN’s leadership, but risk rejection by speaking out against the beliefs that he rejects.

    I believe that the fourth choice is where most would want to fall when considering a relationship with any group, but most probably adhere to the third to retain the good graces of their peers.

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