Daily dump: Why are we supposed to care about TV ratings?

Matt TarrContributor IJuly 20, 2009

We’re not going to rehash the painful episode that unfolded Sunday in the world of sports. And no, we’re not talking about “The ESPYs”, although we’re proud to say we’ve still yet to watch one second of that televisual farce in all the years The World Wide Follower has been inflicting it upon viewers.

We’re talking about the British Open and Tom Watson’s now-infamous meltdown during the last hole of regulation and beyond. In case you missed it, Fanhouse has a solid wrap-up of the tourney here. Stories of Watson’s good will and good-natured personality have been plentiful the past few days, all of which made his tribulations Sunday even more difficult to stomach.

Yelena Isinbayeva

Yelena Isinbayeva

The good news for Watson fans is that no one really cared about what happened in the British Open this weekend anyways. How do we know? Well, had you tuned into a sports radio show Friday (local or national), then you would have known that the tournament no longer mattered since Tiger failed to make the cut and Mickelson skipped the event to tend to his wife. Preposterous, you say? Not if you’re the host of a radio show. In a span of three hours Friday, we were treated to no less than four different shows that helpfully pointed out to us that the British Open was indeed “pointless” from that point forward. One particular blowhard even informed us that the world’s oldest major had been reduced to a “Nationwide event” without Tiger and Phil. Most of the hosts then proceeded to explain to us in painstaking lengths how bad the weekend TV ratings would be for the event.

Which all leads us to one of our favorite cultural questions: Why exactly would anyone other than a television executive give a frog’s fat ass about ratings? Why are we supposed to care whether the British Open gets a 2.5 rating or an eleventy-billion rating? Here’s a novel idea, sports fans — stop waiting for ESPN to tell you if something is cool or not. Watch what you want to watch, whether that’s a Tiger-less British Open, the Tour de France, or some motocross event in a swarthy European outpost.

Let the suits worry about the numbers. That’s what they get paid (way too much) for.

Monday’s linkapalooza …

- Yelena Isinbayeva apparently won some big pole vaulting meet on Friday in Paris. This is important because a) it gave With Leather a reason to post a gallery of her photos; and b) it gave us a reason to link to it.

- At some big-time football schools, star players get paid copious amounts of money (allegedly) by fat cat alumni (allegedly) for doing virtually nothing (allegedly). And then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum, in which kickers at second-rate programs plunge 35 feet while performing safety checks at amusement parks. (TB Sports Blog)

- Deaf Buckeye fan incurs wrath of sports blogger. (Sports by Brooks)

- Can’t wait to hear Jim Calhoun berate the reporter who dares to ask him about this one: UConn partial-qualifier freshman who toyed with idea of entering NBA Draft now claims he’ll be getting his “law degree.” Uh-huh. (Sox and Dawgs)

- Mr. Blackwell, meet Cecilio Guante.