JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Pre-Thanksgiving Hell

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So this evening I decided to take my daughter and son into Manhattan to watch the blowing up of the baloons for tomorrow’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In these parts, it’s the late-November equivalent of spring training. Instead of dealing with the real event, what with the insane prices, the ungodly crowds, the traffic, the noise, etc—well, why not attend the more relaxed alternative? I saw the balloons being prepared three or four years ago, and it was really cool.

So I went.

Ugh.

Terrible. Absolutely terrible. Like spring training, this goes down as one of those things that, for the most part, has lost what once made it great. When I was a kid, spring training was a 100% chilled, relaxed, easy place to snag autographs and chat with the players and just hang. Now, however, it’s significantly more commercial—yet another way for MLB clubs to bilk fans out of their hard-earned money.

The balloon event is sadly similar. Macy’s set up a roped-in line that, to my chagrin, stretched more than two blocks and took roughly 1 1/2 hours to get through. There were people along the way peddling everything, from apple cider to glow-in-the-dark crap sticks. Because the Christmas spirit only runs so deep, folks were cutting the line at will, throwing elbows, etc.

Plus, it was raining.

My kids, age 6 and 3, were great. “Daddy,” my daughter said at her lowest point, “this is terrible.”

How could I argue?

It’s just such a shame when the quaint and obscure go prime time.