well, hell, you deleted while i answered. that's cool; that's my epicski karma biting me in the ass.
but here's my response anyway.
we're closer in sensibility than you might think, laurelhill.
honestly, i don't follow the game at all like i used to; part of that is due to the presentation these days of major league baseball, at least where it meets television, and that of course is a huge meeting place, as therein lies the big, big money.
and like cyndi lauper sang, money changes everything.
conversely, i'm not the type to long for the old days; the old days are long gone.
i could go on but it'd bore the hell out of everyone so i'll cut to the chase. my baseball "heroes" are my baseball role models. they are the guys who run out every ground ball, who sacrifice an at-bat for the team, who understand and play the game fundamentally, who don't talk trash, who aren't always on the lookout for the nearest TV camera, etc.
could be the no-name guy on the end of the bench or a "superstar" like, for example, nomar garciaparra, who approaches the game like a true pro, who plays hard but clean, doesn't diss teammates in the paper, and who do the work necessary to play the game at a particular level.
jason varitek comes to mind. there are several others. old-timers would include henry aaron (most under-appreciated great player of all time), nolan ryan, robin yount, george brett, others. the kinds of players you tell your little leaguers to pay attention to, and why they should.
a lot of the kids coming up nowdays, partly because they're damn near close to being set for life, are all about getting and getting and expecting to get more. not many see how lucky they are, not many give a second thought to giving back. and too many of those who do will do so only after calling a press conference to announce it.
i really don't know how to answer the question in anything other than this freewheeling way.
honestly, unless the sox are involved, i'd just as soon be watching the minor leaguers, or high schoolers. even a little league game will present baseball in a purer, more innocent manner.