Selfies Are The New Autograph

In todays day and age technology reigns supreme, with access to every piece of information ever on a small device in your pocket. Smartphones have been very useful to the human race ever since they were first introduced some 10 years back, and the growth has been incredible. A new fad has come along that is taking the world by storm, and that is the selfie. For those unaware, a selfie is a picture where you face the camera towards yourself, and snap a photo. This trend has been growing the past few years, and now posting a selife on social media with a celebrity or in a cool place is the new, hot thing.

This new selife trend has made its way into ballparks across America. Whenever you go to a game, you can always see kids and even adults snapping a selfie with their friends to try and capture the moment. But my dilemma lies when they try to snap a selife with their favorite player. While at a Mets-Orioles game a week back or so, an Oriole player, I believe it was Travis Snider, was nice enough to take a few minutes to sign for a few Orioles fans who had made the trip from Baltimore to Queens. After signing a few balls, a 12 or 13-year-old kid snuck up and took a picture with the Snider. When asked if he wanted his ball or ticket signed, the kid replied, “No thanks, I’m good. This picture will get a ton of likes” already applying a filter, without looking up from his phone.

Now when I heard and saw this, I was stunned. Travis Snider, a major league baseball player, literally offered to sign your baseball, and you refused just to get a moment of fame in Instagram. This makes me think that kids value their presence on social media more that they care about making memories at a ballpark. Sure, a selfie is a great way to capture a memory, but it lacks that raw tie to the game that catching a ball or getting an autograph gives you.

Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout signs autographs prior to a spring baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Tempi Diablo Stadium on Friday, Feb. March 1, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona. Angels won 16-8.  (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

When I was a kid, I would beg my dad to take me to the ballpark early for the hopes of catching a batting practice ball or having my favorite player sign something. Catching a ball or getting an autograph make you fell closer to the game. Saying that a major league player on a major league field hit this, or that this superstar whom I look up to held this ball for a few seconds, wrote his name on it and gave it back to me. It just put butterflies in my stomach and makes me love this game even more. Getting an autograph from a player is about making a tie to the game, and that is being lost now that so many kids don’t value the autograph as much as they used to.

If this trend continues, then baseball memorabilia as we know it could go extinct. It started with baseball cards, which are not as big as they used to be, but there are still some people out there who are avid card collectors. But if this selfie trend catches on, then the autograph could become ancient, and I hope that doesn’t happen. I just hope there are some old-fashioned baseball fans out there that teach their kids to put down the cell phone at a ballpark, and enjoy the sights and sounds without having to tell the world about it.



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