Wednesday, October 05, 2005

An old-fashioned ass-whooping, in Chicago

My level of interest in professional sports is about 25 percent of what it used to be. While I respect the abilities of players who are good enough to reach the pinnacle of their sports, the corporate co-option of so much of sports leaves me disinterested and apathetic.
Looking back on how much energy I invested in caring whether some anonymous group of players won or lost makes me wonder what was lacking in my life at that point. Recognizing how we’ve shifted our focus from local sports to the national level, also bothers me, having studied this phenomenon rather extensively over the past year.

Having said that, I do find myself mildly interested in the fate of the Red Sox, mostly for my own selfish reasons. I figure that if the Red Sox can make another heroic late season run for post-season posterity, then baseball will remain on people’s minds. If baseball stays on the minds of book buyers, then maybe I can squeeze out a few more sales of When Towns Had Teams.

I watched the early innings of yesterday’s debacle in Chicago, versus the White Sox. As a former resident of northwest Indiana, I made several forays into Chicago, including visiting the former Comiskey Park (the new one). It’s an ugly, extremely fan unfriendly structure, with lousy sitelines and at the time, rude staff. Maybe things are better. I do know that it is located in a South Side neighborhood that most people whisk by with windows rolled up and doors locked (sort of like parts of Worcester).

I am amazed that a big league pitcher such as Matt Clement, can look so awful. I don’t think he’s been right since he took a 95 mph line drive off his coconut. Pitchers that have been hit by line drives haven’t fared particularly well (I was in attendance the night Bryce Florie got smoked). What I was troubled about was Terry Francona’s inability to recognize Clement’s lack of command (or anything else) and remove him. Maybe he was too busy focusing on his between-innings banter for ESPN; I’m sorry, but even managing in the Twilight League in Portland, I don’t want anyone talking to me between innings. I can’t imagine that a big league manager would comply with this request. Just another reason why I’ve come to despise corporate sports.


Joe said...

Yup, the between-inning interview. I'm sure it's here to stay. Network pays huge dollars, says to MLB, "we'd like to talk to the manager during the game. We think it would be good for ratings." MLB points out to the rank-and-file that it is the largesse of the networks that has them all in Cadillac Escalades, and the network wants an in-game interview. Managers do what it takes.

I also don't like the "current major league player in the booth" bit. Actually, I don't like Chris Berman in the booth, either. Coverage of playoff baseball is less and less about the actual game, and all about the angle.

Then again, the less that yesterday's telecast focused on the game, the better. It was painful to watch.

Jim said...

Piazza and Sutcliffe are stooges; Berman, I've never gotten. If that's the best that ESPN can come up with for a playoff game, I say just give us the video and pull the plug on the play-by-play.

I watched as little of the Sox this summer as I ever have, but I genuinely like Orsillo and Remy, despite the Rem Dawg's inflated celebrity.

I'll get sucked in and probably watch tonight's game (at least a few innings), also, despite my better judgement.

Doesn't anyone care anymore for the purity of the game? Apparently not.

Joe said...

Pure doesn't sell, Jim.

I purposefully didn't mention Sutcliffe, because I prefer to pretend he just doesn't exist.