The Media and Sports: A Lethal Mix

BAnalyst IJune 27, 2008

The pitch from Mussina. Swing and a long drive! This ball could leave the park! It the wall on a bounce!

And Manny Ramirez is...oh no! He watched the ball fly through the air from home plate, and he ends up with only a single!

Ah, the sweet swing and the sweet smile of Manny makes for a perfect figure for baseball. The fans love him, his teammates love him, and the media loves him.

But, I bet you his skipper, Terry Francona, is upset with him most of the time. The reason? Well, as we all know, Manny watches and admires his work after a nice long ball, and sometimes the ball doesn't even go out of the park!

I'm fine with his slapping the hand of a fan, or going through the door and into the scoreboard at Fenway, because that's just fun and it doesn't harm anything or anyone.

But, he costs his team runs when he gets a single out of what should be a double. And, he isn't the only players to do this.

After Ken Griffey Jr. hit no. 600, the first thing I noticed was the fact that he just jogged right from the start. When Barry Bonds hit no. 756, what did Bonds do? He put his hands in the air like he just don't care.

And tonight, watching SportsNet Philadelphia and SportsCenter, I see that after almost every home run, each player admires their work and doesn't do more than jog right from the start. And in some of those games, the players' team hitting the home run is down by more than five runs!

Hey moron, you are down by five runs! Stop your celebrating!

I see a big problem with this, and it starts with the media.

Tonight, I want you to watch SportsCenter, and take notes of everything they show. What do they show in baseball? Mostly the home runs and the spectacular diving plays, most of which the players don't need to dive.

They don't show the tremendous throws, or the great pitches, or just the all-around smart and genuine plays.

What about football? They show the touchdowns or the great catches or the interceptions. They don't show the great coverages by defenses, or the great pass blocking by offensive lines, or the great route running.

Those are the true aspects of the game. So, if you really want to take notes, even mental notes, then go ahead, and then compare them to this. It will be shockingly similar. (I won't continue to other sports just for the mere fact of space and not boring the heck out of you.)

So, my main point is, the media shows these things because they are the flashy plays. They are the plays that appeal to people. And, I'm not mad about that. What I don't like is what they do to the plays. They basically "spike" them.

They add special effects, songs, highlight reels, and top 10's. All of that makes players feel like they want to be more flashy and do that touchdown dance, and flex the muscle after they dunk, and pump their fist to their heart after a home run in which they jogged from the start.

I don't blame the players for this at all, and I know it is fun for them. But, it isn't genuine to the game. The media is taking the important aspects of the game away from the game.

Before, a player would run his heart out after each hit, even if it was hit to Pluto. He would dunk the ball and just run back, or simply just lay it up. He would just flip the ball to the referee and go to the sideline.

Now, the media makes all the celebrations seem like the best part of the game. But, what ever happened to those fundamentals above? Almost nobody ever runs a ground ball out. The pitcher often forgets to cover the bag.

And now, most corner backs are just going for the interception when they know they won't get it when you could defend the receiver and maybe stop the pass. These are the things that can give a team a win or a loss.

I know the media is just doing their job. I don't blame them for what they do, because, who doesn't like to watch that big dunk? I know I want to see it. But, in the back of my head, I still know that I would like the game better without the flashiness that the media has imported.

Things like the NFL and NBA drafts are also "flashed out", when they really should just be covered like the MLB and NHL drafts are: quietly. The media takes everything that appeals to the public and makes it the biggest story of the day. And, it's ruining the sports we love.

Look at what Goodell said today about rookie contracts. He called rookie contracts "ridiculous". They truly are ridiculous. But, part of the high contracts is the coverage each player gets, and the amount the draft itself is covered.

Also, all these players in the NFL going to jail and getting in trouble with the law is linked to the media in some parts. With the way the media portrays sports stars as hero's, some players think of themselves as untouchable, and they end up in the wrong place doing something they will regret.

All in all, watching the home run, the dunk, the touchdown is exciting, but, it is ruining the genuine part of the game. The truly spectacular plays like a 6-4-3 double play is what should be showed, not the flashy plays like a home run that means nothing to a game.

Sports and the media mixed together may seem like a success, but, in reality, it is destroying the games we know and love.