Link dump: Fanboyism rears its ugly head in Wichita

Matt TarrContributor IAugust 25, 2009

As a recovering sports writer/editor who spent way, way, way too many years toiling in the ink-stained wretchedness of the newspaper industry, I now feel it’s my duty to let sports fans in on the dirty little secret of sports journalism. Ready? Here it is:

Most sports journalists don’t give a crap about your team.

That doesn’t mean they hate your favorite team, nor does it mean they love them. It simply means they’re gloriously indifferent toward them. It’s just a job – nothing more, nothing less. And it’s because they’re indifferent toward them that most genuinely try to provide unbiased, unfiltered information about your team. And as sports fans, that’s what we should be craving.

Lately, however, it seems many fans have gotten so … well, fanatical about their teams that they’ve convinced themselves that indifference is impossible. Bias is everywhere.

Case in point … Wichita, Kansas. According to Deadspin, the local newspaper there just made the grave mistake of hiring a (gasp) University of Kansas grad and (gasp) Texas native to cover (gasp) Kansas State University sports for the Eagle’s blog. And, of course, the poor editor who hired this poor kid is now being hung in effigy by a selection of K-State wackos. Here’s but a taste of what the Eagle has been dealing with:

“I have been reading the Wichita Eagle for over 50 years and if you are still here monday, I WILL CANCEL THE PAPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! …”

Oy vey.

Now goodness knows, I’m not here to defend the newspaper industry. Newspaper higher-ups have more than their fair share of faults, and have no one to blame but themselves for the financial mess they’re in. And I’m also not suggesting K-State fans are any more or less obsessively delusional than Kansas fans, Ohio State fans, Florida fans, Colorado School of Mines fans or Quinnipiac fans. I’m just suggesting that obsessive fanaticism seems to be rising at an alarming rate, and the blogosphere ain’t helping. In the fanatics’ defense, I will say it’s getting harder and harder these days to distinguish the journalists from the jocksniffers-with-laptops.

Mena Suvari

Mena Suvari

But all I’m saying is this – try not being That Guy for a change. Don’t be That Guy who’s convinced the talking head on the evening news hates your team. Don’t be That Guy who calls up your local sports editor and complains because your arch-rival got a 7-inch game story and your team got 6 inches. The reality is most of these people are just trying to get by while they still have a job.

Enjoy the games, scream your head off, talk junk with your friends, commisserate with fellow devotees on message boards, whatever. But please, let’s all give the conspiracy theories a rest for awhile, shall we?

On with today’s festival of linkage, sponsored today by a surprisingly buff Mena Suvari:

- So just to recap, Jerr-uh Jones will move his scoreboard for Bono, but Craig Hentrich can kiss his wrinkled Razorback ass. Hmmm. (With Leather)

- The World of Isaac reveals his forbidden love of the Solheim Cup.

- In honor of Carlos Gonzalez and his steak knife, some memorable baseball injuries. (More Hardball)

- Ben Roethlisberger presents his briefs to his sexual assault acccuser. Wait, that didn’t come out right. (Nice Pick Cowher)

- Bill Murray’s son ready to go to work in the one industry dirtier than show business — college basketball. (Ballin’ Is A Habit)

- Good read on the lingering struggles of Bears defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek. (Rumors and Rants)

- Yet another entertaining chapter in Kissing Suzy Kolber’s chronicle of America’s douchiest NFL writer.

- And finally, lame fan fights are always more entertaining when they feature drunk cougars with ridiculous boob jobs. (The 700 Level)