If your dad needs money, go ask Mickey Mantle. See what happens.
Mickey Mantle don’t care about you. Why care about him?
-Sonny "A Bronx Tale"
Ah, Sonny. So cynical—yet, so wise. Sonny may have been a murderous gangster, but even he understood the role of sports in society. Remember when sports was fun? Remember when you rooted for the laundry? Remember when you had no idea what a person's contract status was? Neither do I.
Let's face it, times have changed, and there is so much more to being a fan now. But does that mean we have to let go of the reason we started watching games in the first place? No more fun?
To one group in NY, it apparently does mean forgetting the fun. I am speaking of our beloved New York sports media.
I grew up on a healthy diet of "The Fan" here in NY. I used to listen for hours every day. These days, I can only stand a few minutes at a time. The reason? Lately, sports media has gotten so downright negative that it's a turn-off. It almost feels like so many of these "experts" are on a mission to suck all the fun out of enjoying the games.
Every defeat is a disaster, and every win must be dissected to illustrate the areas where the team could have lost. Why do we need such expert analysis? After all, I pay money to sit in a stadium and watch guys run around in a circle for three hours. If anything needs to be analyzed, it is my head.
If a fan wants to believe that his guys are better than the other guys, I say, let him. Logic and sports debate should never meet. The most fun sports debate comes from the weirdest places, and every good NY sports debate should always end with, "Hey, at least we aren't Boston."
Here's an average hour on any NY sports show.
:00 - :10 Host: I don't like Reyes' hair. It's hurting the team.
:10 - :30 Host plays GM for 20 minutes, citing all the 20/20 hindsight moves he would have made.
:30 - :40 Caller 1: I had a cold hot dog at the ballpark. It is a disgrace. Host: Agrees and chastises the team about the Hot Dog situation.
:40 - :50 Caller 2: We should get rid of the following guys. The caller then lists half of the current roster, including several All-Stars.
:50 - :60 Host explains why team will never win a game...ever.
I realize it is not all the fault of these hosts. I know that salaries and prices continue to rise. I know that the owners and players continue to alienate fans with their antics. I know that the callers drive the topics, but it just seems like at no point is anyone enjoying themselves anymore. Everyone is angry at somebody.
There are a few good ones out there. Steve Somers jumps to mind. Many of you out there may not enjoy him, but, to me, there is nothing better than when the Mets beat the Nats 2-1, and "The Schmoozer" gets on the air and predicts a world championship. Actually, scratch that. The only thing better than that is when someone who doesn't get his shtick calls in and tries to talk sense into him, not realizing that the man is just HAVING FUN.
Remember fun? It's that thing sports fans used to have.