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Too Much Media, Not Enough Message

“Kick em when their up, kick em when their down, kick em in the teeth, kick em all around.”
– Joe Walsh Dirty Laundry

 Do you really think that back in the day when Eric Severeid, Sander Van Ocher, Walter Cronkite, and Dan Rather actually reported news that a comment Aaron Rowand made about his love for a childhood idol (Chicago “da Bears”that he eventually got to play for albeit in a different sport) would ever have taken up hours upon hours of “talk show” air time.  To begin with, there weren’t hours upon hours of idle air time to fill necessitating having callers provide content that the hosts lacked.  Look at some of the examples from our not to distant past, and put this in perspective.  This is a far cry from Howard Kossel’s “Look at that little monkey move.” This would never have made the third page of  the sporting green during the “Cold War.”

The point is that were there used to be 3 stations in a market, shutting down at midnight each day, now there are 300 running 24/7.  The “need” to fill hundreds of more hours worth of “air time” has generated a thirst for information, ANY information, and drastically lowered the bar on what we deem “newsworthy.”

Secondarily, he has a big contract with the Giants (that they were foolish enough to give him) that he is not living up to.  Thirdly, although the Giants are still in first place, they are batting dead last in the National League, if not all of baseball.  Aaron hasn’t done squat this year, and when one of his old announcers got him to wax nostalgic about the first major league team he won a world series with (with something like 47 at bats during the combined playoffs) would it really seem that out of character for him to say that that memory “gave him Goosebumps?” He was in his “heyday” then compared even to the world championship the won with the Giants when he only had 11 at bats.  I would feel more part of the Chicago team too.

Yesterday three hours of idle bull stuff was taken up by the fact that another air personality (certainly not the kind of shock jock that Howard Stern turned into a personal fortune) but another person who is paid according to his ratings got spanked for showing the same volatility (they call it passion now) that has kept his job for him for 40 years.  Tony Bruno made the mortal mistake of calling “The City”  “Frisco.”  That to me was far more egregious (tongue in cheek as a native San Franciscan) than a hot headed spewing of an un-intended racial epilate at one of the SF Giants Latin pitchers by referring to him as an “illegal alien.”  Had Tony not had 40 years to disprove any serious motivation behind this comment, it might have been taken more seriously.  Was it stupid, hell yes?  Do we create this by our supersaturation of air time and the American appetite for the crude or sensational, hell yes?  Is he basically screwed for life with the Latin community, I bet so.

Those who dare play on this field now are screwed.  (I think I’m getting sensational and worked up just thinking of the market and how volatile I need to be to be a player)!  You are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.  Unless your daddy was Frank Buck, you just cannot be an announcer of any kind of sports event without an edge.  If you do, no matter how great you are (look at Mike Krukow and Duane Kueiper) you are branded a ‘homer.” If you are young and just breaking into the industry, you will be banished to announce the rest of your life for the Kansas City JayHawks.

What are we encouraging on the internet today?  Without any real kind of watchdog, anyone can publish anything.  The downside for someone who tweets one racial epitaph like Tony Bruno, is that once your words are out there is no taking them back.  Good God, how many professional athletes would be publicly defenestrated (were they not so “untouchable” within their own little “tip top” community) for some of the unthinkable things that come out of their heads.

The real downside for humanity is that any bile spewing hate monger can rant for ages with no accountability about the relative evils of the opposing party, the inefficiency of their administration, or the viability of their ethnic or national origin (like it should even freeking matter).  Racism on either side of the coin is still racism.  I get as tired of being called “Vanilla Pud’in” as some of my brothers get being called other things.

Marshall McLuhan was a prophet with his 1970’s book “The Medium is the Message.”  Well here we are in the information age with unlimited bandwidth for audience, creation, information, fabrication, misinformation, deception, and abuse.

The sheer amount of opportunity to spew is indeed a double edged sword.  Don’t do it and you aren’t considered edgy.  Do it and be damned careful to stay EXACTLY on the correct side of that edge, and watch out – its razor sharp!  As Gary Radnich said yesterday:  Were all just one sentence away from the unemployment line.”

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Buster Posey’s Injury: Even Worse Than You Think

Maybe Baseball will change the barbaric rule now!

SAN FRANCISCO -:  (FILE PHOTO) Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants stands on the field during Game Three of the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

By Grant Brisbee –

You might think Giants fans are devastated by the season-ending injury to Buster Posey. You might not know how devastated, though.

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May 26, 2011 – Buster Posey was probably going to be about a four- or five-win player this year. He’d accumulated two WAR already, so if the Giants were going to finish 94-68 this year, now they’ll probably finish around 91-71.

And that’s that.

Yeah. No. I’m sure there’s a statistical angle to take, and it’s rare that the loss of one player can completely eliminate a team from contending, but that’s not where Giants fans are right now. Give us a week or so. Let us get caught up in the inning-to-inning routine, and maybe we’ll start worrying about what this means for the Giants. They don’t have a hot catching prospect. They have a bunch of replacement-level types.

You want analysis? The Giants will replace an All-Star catcher with a scrub, and it will cost them some wins.

But that’s not why most Giants fans feel nauseous right now. Giants fans were in love with Buster Posey.

When Buster Posey was a prospect, lighting up the Pacific Coast League, he was blocked byBengie Molina, the Least Exciting Player in Baseball. You can argue about his value to the club, but it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t the least exciting player. He was the slowest player in the game, he regularly made outs on bad pitches, and a good portion of what was to supposed to make up his value was invisible — handling a pitching staff well and calling a good game weren’t the sort of the things that showed up in the box score. Well, except for that “runs allowed” section, which didn’t change when other catchers were playing, but that was nitpicking.

So you had an unexciting player doing unexciting things, with a perceived value that was something like a tiger-repellent rock. And there was this young guy, tearing up the minors, just begging for a chance to hit. The Giants kept saying things like, “Wait a sec, we’re talking about catchers. You can’t just replace catchers mid-season. Those guys are more than players; they’re leaders, field generals, pitcher-whisperers.”

It was a bit of a cultural divide. But as Molina’s on-base percentage sunk toward .300, and as the Giants kept losing because they couldn’t hit, the Giants realized that they needed to make a bold move. Molina was traded, and Posey started.

So here’s the progression:

  1. Giants fans were bombarded with organizational propaganda about the value of a catcher. They were told that not just anyone could step in and catch, that catchers were the most important position on the team. The manager was a former catcher, and was at least a deacon in the Church of Catcher.
  2. Buster Posey stepped in, revived a moribund offense, and led his team and pitching staff to the first championship in San Francisco history.

The first point had an effect on how big the legend grew. It had to. For almost a year, the Giants were resolute that not just anyone could catch. It took a certain experience, a je ne sais catch that took years to learn. And this fresh-faced kid from Mt. Olympus didn’t just step in and win Rookie of the Year —  he wrangled a pitching staff that people said would be impossible for a rookie to wrangle. He took the franchise somewhere that Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, and Clark did not.

And suddenly the idea that a catcher was an all-important team leader didn’t seem like hokum. Now it seemed like it was true, and that Buster Posey was a rookie who did it better than anyone else.

Add to this that the Giants hadn’t developed an All-Star position player since Matt Williams became a regular in 1990. That was almost 20 years of development, and the best position player to come up through the system was Bill Mueller. The second-best was Marvin Benard. This is why the area went nuts for Pablo Sandoval, and it’s why they went especially nuts for Buster Posey, who was almost certainly going to end that All-Star drought this season.

There will never be a perfect storm like this again: Posey is a guy who helped break an organizational drought for hitters and championships, he played a position that the fans were repeatedly told was almost impossible to do well, and he is possibly the most likable personality on the team, combining perfect amounts of seriousness and charm in a goofy clubhouse.

Does this read like a fan-boy’s love letter to Buster Posey? Good. It’s supposed to. This is why losing Posey goes beyond wins and losses, beyond a lament that the Giants might not make the playoffs now. Baseball was far, far more fun with Posey than without him. He added a mythology for Giants fans that would be hard for any player to add to any team. He was a guy who was going to get a statue out front of AT&T Park someday, but only if fans didn’t first spontaneously gather and build one themselves out of kisses and melted-down pennies.

Some players, like Tim Lincecum, get the “Franchise” tag because they symbolize the hopes and dreams of an entire organization. If Giants fans had come up with a nickname for Posey, then, it should have been something like “The Essence Of Everything Good About Baseball And This Guy Is The Best Thing Ever About Baseball And Oh Please Please Stay Healthy Forever And Ever.”  If that was too clunky, TEOFGABATGITBTEABAOPPSHFAE would have worked just fine.

Now Giants fans have a year or so to hope he’ll be the same player when he returns. Injuries are inherent in sports. But cripes, this one stings. This one stings a lot.

Get better soon, Buster. You are already missed.

 

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Congratulations GIANTS, World Champions!!!

Giants fan:   Hope you were all entertained by our little band of “mis-fits.”

My brother Mark, a Colorado resident and Rockies fan: 

You know that’s what makes it sweeter!!!   They were counted out so many times  but stayed together as a team and made it happen…and isn’t it ironic after the last pitch and the win…and them jumping up and down on the pitcher’s mound for about 10 minutes….there was no one else in Texas stadium for them to hug…alone as a team with the victory because that is what the MLB has positioned them throughout the year.

Sweet victory and all of your San Franciscoan’s can really throw them a proper party now when they come home with the title and trophy!!!

 

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