Sunday, October 09, 2005

BASEBALL RANT

I love following baseball. Usually it gets my mind off of my own troubles and also off of the depressing news stories out there. There was a big earthquake in Pakistan and now they say 30,000 people may be dead there. And then came the news that Blue Jays voice Tom Cheek had died (see post below.) Sad sad sad. So I like to follow baseball and rant about it, to get my mind off other stuff.

Now my big rant: as you know, the Boston Red Sox fans are depressed because their team got broomed by the Chicago White Sox, and the New York Yankees are down 2-1 in their series with the Angels. And I say: GOOD.

I am fed up seeing the Red Sox and the Yankees. In fact, as a Blue Jays fan who sees these teams dominate their division all the time, I'm cheering the Angels on, hoping they knock the Yankees right out of there. I'm fed up with New York and Boston and sick and tired of the TV and radio coverage of these teams. It's as if these are the only two teams in all of major league baseball that matter. All that these sportscasters have been doing all year is playing up their rivalry and building it up for their inevitable clash in the post-season, while ignoring all the other teams. Whenever you tune into Fox Sports, it's always the Yankees or the Red Sox on the Game of the Week. They don't really care about any of these other teams, except maybe for the Braves or Cardinals or the Cubbies.

Otherwise forget it; they don't even show the West Coast teams very often, even though Barry Bonds plays out there. Good luck seeing a team like the Houston Astros on TV at all, even though that team's been good for years. If they ever show the Astros, too, they show them for one reason: because Roger Clemens is on the team, so fans in New York and Boston will be interested! If it wasn't for Roger Clemens, nobody outside Houston would know what Minute Maid Park looks like, because the Astros would never get on national TV! Same with the Florida Marlins, who are never on TV unless they win a World Series (which they've done a couple of times). Then the people at Fox Sports have to show them, whether they want to or not!

You had this same attitude back when the Blue Jays were winning. They didn't care about the Blue Jays unless they played the Yankees or Red Sox, or got into a pennant race or the playoffs. Then the networks were stuck showing them and the sportswriters were stuck covering them.

Last week when New York and Boston met in their season-ending series a lot of the players predicted they'd meet each other again, basically showing their own arrogance and self-importance to the game of baseball. And you keep hearing these writers and network executives yakking about how important it was for baseball to have the Yankees and Red Sox meet again, so that people will watch baseball on TV. This attitude drives fans outside the Northeast US crazy. It's as if we all don't count as fans. Just think if the NFL tried that stunt and only showed the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles all the time, and if football writers showed that same condescending attitude to the rest of the teams. Frankly, they couldn't do it, because the whole league is popular. The NFL goes out of its way to promote the whole league so that every city is important. If Tampa Bay takes on Kansas City in the NFL, it'll be a game you'll actually care about! But you'll never see those two cities do battle on FOX or ESPN in a baseball game! In fact, the whole system's stacked against Tampa Bay and Kansas City in baseball, these teams that have to operate on a budget. Thanks to baseball's economic situation and wild spenoing, and the general ignorance from FOX SPORTS and ESPN, it's guaranteed to be a no-interest matchup and a nothing game.

You get the impression that baseball people and media types think your baseball franchise is really second-rate if it isn't located in Boston or New York, that it would be beneficial to the entire sport if your local team loses to these two all the time. Yet this attitude doesn't exist in football or these other sports, not nearly to the same extent. Personally, I hope the Yankees get their clock cleaned today. This would be the rest of middle America getting revenge on these dominant, hyped-up teams. It's about time the rest of major league baseball had some winning to cheer about. Besides, having other teams win is good for the sport and good for growing the game.

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