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Stroll, my &%*(#$

MLB big thinkers better skedaddle

Vagrants, c19th century, (1924). Artist: Paul-Joseph Blanc
Apparent MLB vision of senior citizens.
The Print Collector/Getty Images

Looking at the White Sox schedule for this week proved even more galling than looking at Rick Hahn’s record as GM. Well, maybe not that bad, but really, really bad.

Bad in two ways.

I was just checking to see when the Sox would deign to allow another game to be televised on the cable outlet they partially own, but decided for some reason to look to see what they’re charging for tickets for a game mostly played by the 2023 starting lineups for the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers and the Columbia Fireflies.

Turns out most of the seats go for $49. Yep, $49. Spring. Exhibition. Meaningless. Minor Leaguers. $49.

Now, my only time at such a game was in the mid-1960s, when my Uncle Sam was kind enough to put me on a seven-year, all-expenses-paid cruise, two of those years involving 30 days sailing back and forth across Havana harbor followed by four or five days in our home port of Fort Lauderdale — which almost made up for the rest (well, not really, but it was a nice home port, anyway).

Back in those days, Lauderdale was the spring home of the Yankees, and we happened to be in port for a game, so a bunch of us went. Being good Americans, we all hated the Yankees — I did even more than the rest, coming on one side as I did from a line of New Yorkers who were big Brooklyn Dodgers fans — but it was a chance to see live baseball instead of just catching Cuban games on Havana TV, so off we went.

My memory is that we just walked into the park for free, but my memory is probably wrong. I found some images of spring training tickets from that era, and they ranged from $1.50 for the Cardinals in 1972 to $2.50 for the Giants in 1967. For box seats. So it may have cost us a quarter, with another nickel for a hot dog.

Now, prices in general today are about nine times what they were then, but nine times $1.50, or even $2.50, is a long, long way from $49. Not that Jerry is gouging or anything.

But that’s not what most bothered me when I looked at the schedule.

The big bother came from seeing a note for one day that read “Senior Stroll Post-Game.” I at first figured that must be yet another new way for the White Sox to insult their fans, but a couple of minutes of research turned up the fact several teams have such an event.

I get that there are a lot of seniors in Arizona and Florida, and that letting kids run the bases after a game is a big hit — my son Will still recalls it as a favorite life event, decades later — and giving us oldsters a crack at it before we croak seems like a good idea, but Senior Stroll? Really?

Has MLB not heard that 70 is the new 18, or some such thing? Heck, these events are for anybody over 50, which has to be roughly the new 12.

Do they hold a Twentysomething Toddle? A Middleaged Meander? Hell, no. So why can we seniors only stroll?

I understand the desire for alliteration, but there are better alternatives, without even leaving the “S” for Amble of the Ancients. Sure, Senior Sprint would be pushing it, leaving bodies strewn all over the infield and leading to nasty letters from an overworked coroner’s office, but there are options in between.

Senior Saunter would be no better, and even conjures up images of geriatrics wandering out of the base paths to pick flowers.

Senior Stomp sounds too much like some sort of political clash — and could tear up the infield dirt.

Senior Strut would be good, except home run struts these days start with a big bat toss, which could be hazardous or even fatal to those waiting in line, followed by stopping for a couple of minutes to admire your work, which would delay the event so much groundskeepers couldn’t prepare for the next game.

Which leads us to the perfect solution — Senior Skedaddle.

“Skedaddle” is a terrific word all on its own. You young folks may think it only appropriate when Aunt Bee is chasing Opie away from a pie, or Ma Kettle is shooing Pa Kettle away from a keg, but it’s a genuine American word invented during the Civil War to describe fleeing enemy soldiers — “we made ’em skedaddle all the way back to their mommies” sort of thing.

Skedaddle has a certain amount of hurry-up to it, but far short of a sprint. There is a “running away” aspect, which isn’t totally inappropriate for those following the old wish to make it to second base before the devil knows they’re dead, but it’s mostly fun running away.

So come on, White Sox front office. Be creative for the first time in your lives. Ditch the stupid, insulting stroll. Create the Senior Skedaddle.