Monday, October 29, 2007

Disrespecting the Game

In the 8th inning of last night's World Series game (I feel compelled to tell you this since, by the numbers, you probably were not watching, and who could really blame you?), Fox reported on what Sports Illustrated reported on what most everyone already knew, or would have probably guessed... that Alex Rodrigruez had opted out of his deal with the Yankees, and was going to hit the free agent market.

This seemed to perturb the sports media both in the booth (Buck and McCarver, the syphilis and gonorrhea of post-season baseball) as well as the post-game post-coital Bristol Brigade, and if my in box and sports blog headlines have anything to say about it, many of my brethren in Blogfrica. The gist of it is that A-Rod disrespected the World Series by announcing this during Game Four, that he demonstrated a lack of class by attempting to distract attention from the championship. Also, that Scott Boras is the Antichrist.

At which point the following two things came to mind:

1) Um, he's Alex Rodriguez. What else were you expecting? I don't look to Manny Ramirez for outfield defense, I don't look to Curt Schilling for modesty and tact, and I don't look to Alex Rodriguez for anything but what's right for Alex Rodriguez. This is a guy for whom the old SNL Al Franken routine would seem like, well, the simple and unadorned truth. Not only does the sun rise and set on his ass, it asks permission first. (And if you think that your favorite baseball star would behave any differently following a year in which he was the best player in his league, you're smoking something, and really should share.)

2) Why is Disrespecting the Game OK for our sports media 99.9% of the time -- witness the entire existence of Tony Kornheiser, not to mention the routine, um, "work" of Mssrs. Michaels, Madden, Stills, Nash and Young in the NBC Cavalcade of NFL Sunday Night Has Something Tangentially To Do With Football Night -- but wrong for A-Rod?

To wit, the Yankees have not named their new manager for over 300 hours now, with media hostage negotations threatening to continue until well after the free agent signing period, for A-Rod's presumed old team. I'm sure that Mike Lupica hasn't seen his family for weeks now, which is the bright side of the story for them, but still. Yet, no one (well, outside of l'il ol' me) has felt compelled to call the Yankees out for this, let alone the sports media.

Here's a wild thought for the people with the microphones: if A-Rod's Disrespect of the World Series bothers them so much, don't cover it. Focus instead on Game Four of a series that will be almost as magical and memorable as the 2004 one (quick, non Red Sox or Cardinals Fan -- name anything about it other than Mientkiewicz keeping the ball).

But no, wait, that's unpossible! It's censorship and discretionary reporting and A-Rod not signing with the Yankees is, after all, A Big Story because (and here's the dirty little secret here) the game isn't all that interesting to you most of the time anymore now, is it? (Or, given the utter inevitability of it all after about three innings of Game One, the rest of us.)

Save for someone slapping someone (ah, there's A-Rod Disrespecting the Game again), we all don't *really* care, unless you've got money or fantasy players (i.e., money) or your local rooting interest going on. That's because baseball is a predominantly local operation that's trying to pretend to be a national one. Tommy Lasorda in the MLB commercials admits it freely; if your team doesn't win (and, let's face it, unless you like a large market team and/or get very, very lucky, they won't), you are going to turn the page to football... where, ahem, the New York Jets don't get to fix their quarterback situation by just going out and buying one on the open market in Japan or elsewhere, because there really isn't an open market that has the best quarterbacks. Unlike, say, starting pitcher or third base. But no, we can't imagine why people would rather talk about What's Next in MLB, rather than how wonderful everything we just saw was.

Oh, and there's also this... that irritation that Peter Gammons and others expressed last night when the A-Hype crapped all over their Sawx game? It's what the rest of us feel, um, the rest of the freaking year, when you take your eyes off the game and go into Pontification Land. (So there are these apples, and they are not likable.)

So please, spare us the obvious and tired point of how A-Rod has Disrespected the Game. He's just the latest in a long line to not leave too much on the nightstand, or to make change from what was left before. (You know, by the people who are in bed with MLB on a habitual basis.)


tracer bullet said...

But, but it's the Red Sox! No one can overshadow the Red Sox. They're like an even more annoying version of the Yankees.

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget that the real Antichrist will, when he comes on to the world scene will be very popular. He will be very charismatic. So the point is when we look for the “Antichrist” we shouldn’t be looking for a villain. We shouldn’t be looking for a bad guy, for that is not how he is going to appear, not to most people, at least not at first.

In fact he is going to appear as a savior. He is actually going to be responsible or seem to be responsible in solving some of humanity’s most intractable problems. Perhaps he is going to be responsible for curing some disease, or develop ways to make things grow on barren land.

This is why I am guessing that he will be an industrialist because only an industrialist could have the infrastructures to develop such technology. Obviously what pushes this guy into the world stage would be the continuing success of his company.

And from there his success and charisma is going to pull him into politics. I say pull but it was his plan all along, though like the best of politicians he will make it look like he only begrudgingly entered the political sphere.

I believe he will become the head of the European Union, an entity that right now isn’t that strong, but since I see see this as happening from 30-50 years from now I see that by then the organization will have grown in strength

I still believe we have a generation or two before he arises, but in the term of human history a generation or two isn’t that long from now.

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