The sports media industry, mainly ESPN, needs to realize that they're at fault for instigating a modern-day American Civil War: the blatant bias between the east and west coasts.
Every year, millions of people tune in to watch their favorite rivalries, whether it's the West vs. East, LA vs. NYC, Red Sox vs. Yankees, Lakers vs. Celtics, USC vs. UCLA, Duke vs. North Carolina.
Heck, even Tupac vs. Biggie back in the day.
But why is it that an average-at-best New York Yankees loss is front page news, while Kobe dropping 50 points and carrying the Lakers to a division title can be found on page four?
Tupac, I'm a huge fan of your work, but I'm going to respectfully disagree, because it's no longer raining "California Love."
I'm a NorCal kid, so it's not suprising that I feel slighted by the media (ESPN) because of their insufficent coverage of West Coast (excluding Manny's minor league stint, which isn't news anyways) compared to the overbearing, 24/7 soap opera that engulfs east coast teams and their fans.
Obviously, New York City is "Mecca" when it comes to media coverage. Plus it's scary how passionate east coast fans are about their teams—even though they'll panic and drop their favorite teams like a Manny Ramirez fly ball on the first sign of trouble.
I mean, New York's the center of the world for god's sake, but why should that translate to more hype, preferential treatment, sponsorships, and lucrative contracts.
I guarantee CC Sabathia would be a million times better if he signed with a team in his native California, instead he settled for the dollar signs, the Evil Empire and a likely third place finish in the American League East.
But I'm a firm believer that we can't know where we're going, til we know where we've been. And the media is fueled by the historic sports pasts of cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.
Records show that New York (51) and Boston (31) are ranked one and two, respectively, for U.S. cities with the most professional sports titles. Although, in reality, it's an illusion because the left coast never had a major sports franchise till the Los Angeles Rams in 1946, and baseball, the national pastime, didn't have a west coast team till the economic boom of the 50s.
At the beginning of the 1950s, the Yankees had already won 12 World Series.
Unfortunately, Bill Buckner is another example of an eastern bias because media giants are fascinated by a slow ground ball that trickled through his quivering, unreliable legs. Though his error did lose the Red Sox the game, it didn't cost them the series. What cost them the series was the hangover effect that they succumbed to in Game Seven, and they got beat down on by-who else-the New York Mets.
Why isn't that remembered as team collapse instead of an individual flounder.
Plus, it only took two World Championships for the Fenway faithful to forgive someone who should have never been at first base that late in the game to start with. More blame and media coverage needs to be placed on John McNamara, who had one great season with the Sox then became the Dennis Erickson or Doug Collins of Major League Baseball.
Buckner's blunder happened in 1986, a year in the middle of the decade that witnessed Joe Montana win four Super Bowls for the San Francisco 49ers, plus Kirk Gibson's one-legged homerun off Oakland's All-Century closer Dennis Eckersley to win Game One of the '88 Fall Classic.
These are great sports moments that have always gotten buried underneath the painful and devastating ones that have always anchored the main headlines.
Ultimately, I understand that the media will always be east coast orientated. Simply put, all sporting events are televised with the eastern demographic in mind, because people in Danbury, Conn. don't want to stay awake til 1 a.m. to see a classic conference finals between the Kings and Lakers in 2002.
(I know that happened seven years ago, but if you didn't watch it then you missed everything that's wrong with the NBA. Whether it be conspiracies, bad officiating or Robert Horry and his unmatched mix of luck and skill.)
Face it, time zones will forever be the finishing blow in the bout, although the West will never surrender this Civil War.
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