I have often wondered about the influence of the media on decision making in Congress, but I have no doubts about how much influence is wielded by the fourth estate on professional sports. Otherwise qualified general managers and coaches regularly make poor decisions in response to, or in the hopes of avoiding, media attention. In baseball, the trading deadline has become such a media frenzy that teams and their fans now see a lack of action by competitive teams as a failure. In football, the media hype surrounding the so-called major colleges and the draft has limited the abilities of some teams to acquire talent in an age when the real talent pool has never been larger.
The media puts enormous pressure on team decision makers by stirring up the mob. Sports editors, beat writers, and the prancing fools of sports television use this pressure to try and be the team decision makers. Why buy a team or work your way into team management, when you can write columns and “break” stories, using “anonymous sources” of course, that steer teams into the directions you desire? Fans like to play this game on bar stools and in living rooms; they have for years. But I would argue that fans have a right to this playacting; the media does not. The sports media in 21st Century America has an awful habit of anointing players, professional teams, and colleges; those anointed live and play by different standards than their peers.
Somewhat unbelievably, to me at least, the 2010 Major League Baseball season is one-third over. I say unbelievably because, as a Cubs fan (and considering their performance), I would have expected these past two months to go a lot slower, . As unremarkable as the Cubs have been, however, this season as a whole has been a rather interesting one; at least from my point of view. With that said (and in the absence of anything else for me to intelligently write about – it’s times like this that I wish I knew more about soccer), here are 8 of my observations on the still-young 2010 MLB season.
Once upon a time, when Pete Rozelle was still commissioner, there was a brash young QB named Jim McMahon. McMahon came into the league after a college career that saw him rewrite the records (in a number of ways) at his university, the conservative BYU. As the QB of the Chicago Bears, he was the leader and chief troublemaker of a fun-loving but tough team on its way to a Superbowl. Of his habits, McMahon’s penchant for headbands that advertised products or displayed messages was probably his least dangerous. Rozelle saw the use of the headband to advertise as a breach in the NFL’s exclusive control over media partners and “official products”, and promptly ordered the young QB to cease and desist.
At the next game, McMahon wore a headband labeled “Rozelle”. The commissioner simply laughed and remarked, “nice gag”. That, as they say, was then. The NFL really is becoming the no fun league, and its executives seem to be on a mission to use up all of the football watching public’s good will. The rational middle is…really struggling to be rational.
Taxes, spending, budgets, politics…….oh the heck with them!
My Dodgers are about to…..sink without a trace. From the best record in baseball to losing 3 of 4 against the Pirates! I guess there is always hope with Manny, Matty, and Andre.
My Browns are well, my Browns. I guess there is always hope for next year.
The Reds of Liverpool are third in the table and contending for the League title….of course that is where they always are at the end of September. I guess there is always hope with Gerrard and Torres.
The Fighting Leathernecks of WIU are….well I really don’t want to write about that. Their coach, Don Patterson stepped down for health reasons. By all accounts a good man who is one of the most successful coaches in the league’s history, the program might nevertheless be well served by his retirement. Acting Head Coach Mark Hendrickson had the ‘Necks playing better ball last season during Patterson’s treatment than I had witnessed during three years on campus. No surprise there. It is tough to coach football while beating cancer, and so far Patterson has the cancer on the run. The rational middle wishes the best to the coach and his family.
I guess that last paragraph shows were the hope ought to be. What really matters is, far to often, all those things we think of when we are fighting, yelling, screaming, and worrying about the artificially important things in our lives.
The rational middle invites you to find someone whose blood pressure is entirely to high, and give them a hug…..(editorial hint….look for a teabagger!).
The rational middle is the area occupied by most Americans in the absence of cable news and talk radio of any persuasion. It is my contention that the solutions to most of our problems, and the strategies that allow us to exploit most of our opportunities live in the middle. I will try to avoid the campaign cliche and the political catch phrase as I explore the news of the week, and I will also attempt to cite neutral sources in support of my opinions. As a break from the stress of politics (and as therapy for my sportsfanitis) I will also look at topics in the world of sports. I hope you will join the conversation on a regular basis and add your voices to those of us in the middle who are tired of the left and right.