Wednesday, April 20, 2005
You ah such a girly-mahn
The computer at home has returned from Osunaland and is up and running again (though still with the notorious 56K). While I have the opportunity, I thought I'd get surly and dole out a little "sit on it, Potsie":
---I don't know if this has been reported elsewhere, but during his chat/alternative dispute resolution today, Our Favorite Beat Writer disclosed an interesting tidbit:
Cristian Guzman is currently not talking to the media. It started when he was moved to eighth in the lineup, and has continued through his slump. As a reporter -- who understands the only way these
guys' views get out to the fans is through us -- I've been disappointed that he's taken that approach so early. It certainly doesn't help him build a fan base, and doesn't let anyone know how disappointed he has been in his own offensive start and how hard he's working to fix the problems.
Let me get this straight: Guzman isn't talking to the media? Who does he think he is? A good player?
The way it works is quite simple: if you're good---really good, actually---you can set your own rules. You can go the Bondsian route and get yourself a Henry VIII-model recliner and plant it in front of your locker in the clubhouse; if it blocks the next guy's locker, all the better. Or you can go . . . well, the Bondsian route, too, and be surly to the media. Or you can go . . actually, the Bondsian route, as well, and just not talk to the media. Finally, you can go . . hey, the Bondsian route, come to think of it, and blame the media for ruining your family---or something.
Hell, you don't even need to be Barry Bonds to do these things. But, holy Moses, Cristian, you suck. All that Bill Ladson-mantra stuff aside ("cornerstone of the franchise," Jim Bowden has said . . . ), you're just an insignificant little gnat. A few years ago, in perhaps the only interesting moment of the John Thompson Show, Red Auerbach explained that it was only natural that his star---well, considering those Celtics had many stars, I'll say the uber-stars, like Russell and Cousy---received special dispensations, favors, and treatment that the regular stiffs, such as Thompson himself, did not receive. Follow the chain of thought, Cristian.
I don't want to suggest that I know what's best for Guzman, but it stands to reason that if you're hitting .118 (sorry; it's .157 now!), the last thing you want to do is alienate the sportswriters and wake up in the morning to read that not only do you suck, but you're also a jerk. A sucky jerk.
Speaking of Guzman, does anyone else think the uniform number "43" is the only one appropriate for him to wear? (If you read the DC blogs, no doubt you get the joke . . . )
---Also in St. Barry's chat, we the readers encountered some ridiculous whining over the Post's baseball coverage. To wit:
Back to the new Post Sports baseball pages. Shouldn't there be some differentiation between the AL page and the NL page since we now have the NL WASHINGTON NATIONALS and are an NL city? It almost looks as if we're giving equal coverage to the O's and the Nats. Better bet that
Baltimore doesn't do that.
Barry, when the Nats are tied with other teams in the standings, how come the Post sticks with alphabetical order? We're tied for first with Florida today, and Florida is listed above Washington. The Nats are Washington's team for gosh sakes, and the hometown paper should list them first when they're tied in the standings.
The first one, if it were a discrete logical fallacy, would be called something like The Presumed Zero Sum Proposition. It presumes implicitly that any coverage given to the Orioles (and, by extension, to the American League) is coverage deprived of the Nationals.
Has the chatter taken a look at the Post's sport page? Has the chatter swung by the Post's web site? How can the Post possibly cover the Nats more? The only way the Post could have covered Opening Night any more comprehensively, for instance, would have involved Boswell wearing an open mic to the men's room, Leslie Nielsen-style.
Take a look at daily newspapers from other big league cities on a typical day, and tell me honestly that the Post withholds potential Nats coverage. You can't. Not to be self-serving, but the only thing the Post hasn't done is bring on a stats geek.
The coverage given to the O's and the AL is just gravy, and it's a reasonable sop to the Post's status as a major regional daily. Many people prefer the WaTimes, and I understand that, but no one can deny that the Post's scope is far more extensive than that of the Times---or of the Balto Sun, as well. Sometimes, I think the whining over the Post's coverage of the O's is paranoia, sometimes myopia, and sometimes obstinance. Regardless, I've never really gotten it, and remember, I've renounced my rooting interest (and expectation of rooting for both teams concurrently) in the O's recently.
The second query is almost too bizarre to avail itself to significant comment. I'll just sum up by offering my own query: "What in the hell is that person's problem?" If three teams are tied for first, who the hell cares who's listed first, or second, or third?
Even a later chatter's more reasonable request that "Washington" be listed as WASHINGTON seems pointless to me---and, I'll add, seemingly offered as a check against this bizarre notion that the Post doesn't "care" about the Nats just because it still has an O's beat writer and still has Angelos-flack Dave Sheinin on the payroll. Even so, we get back to the fallacy of The Presumed Zero Sum Proposition.
---Finally, someone named "Jerkass"* wrote in to the Richmond Times Dispatch's "Sunday Punch" page**:
It's great that D.C. has a baseball team again, but that doesn't change the fact that the Richmond area is Atlanta Braves country. Maybe down the road when Mayor [Doug] Wilder drives off the Richmond Braves, some will look up the road to the Nationals. For now, I refuse to have the
Nationals crammed down my throat by your paper. I don't think your paper is the preferred read in D.C., so I'm perplexed as to why you are treating them as a hometown team. I want Braves news back on the front page of the Sports section and not buried inside.
The only coverage of them I want to see is why the Nationals games are blacked out here but will be shown in D.C. where they should be blacked out. Not that I want to see them, but the blackout is causing the loss of many Braves telecasts since they play each other so many times because of the irksome unbalanced schedule. I am so infuriated with this situation that I will never drive to a Nationals game, but I may fly to Atlanta to boo them!
I sympathize with Jerkass, at least as it relates to the blackout situation. It must stink when one's efforts to watch a favorite team are frustrated by blackout rules imposed on another team. Of course, it also pretty well refutes that Richmond is part of "Atlanta Braves country," eh?
Anyway, aside from the hardy-harr-harr stuff (hint: check the scoreboard, baby!), what is the substance of the letter? Why, it's nothing more than The Presumed Zero Sum Proposition.
The letter writer's misrepresentations to the contrary, the Atlanta Braves have never been "front page material" in our sports section down here. Occasionally, yes; but, essentially, the Braves have been limited to a bit of a longer blurb in the NL Roundup, as well as periodic full-length articles.
Incidentally, that's exactly the coverage the A-Braves currently get down here, even now with the Nationals just up the road.
So, stripped to its essence, this complaint is just like the O's complaints. They are focused on other teams, not the teams the chatters/letter writers are purportedly so interested in. In other words, the keyword is not "equitability" but "selfishness." These guys want it all, with nothing remaining for anyone else; they presume a zero sum situation.
Furthermore, Jerkass has the misfortune of living in a town whose major daily employs guys who grew up in the shadow of DC and have fond memories of watching big league games there. Pardon their nostalgia the exact week baseball returned up the road. Maybe, instead, the Times-Dispatch should hire writers who grew up in Atlanta right around the time it was stealing Richie Cunningham's team.
Now, that's nostalgia.
* Presumably, not a real name.
** The URL has approximately as many characters as Dkembe Mutumbo's name, so I won't even try to link to it.
I can't find the link, but floating around the net somewhere is a video of a conference where Jeff Greenfield (of CNN) did the Open Mic while in the bathroom thing. At least he did number 1!
PS: I think I'll be "dead" again for a couple days, but---like Zach Day---you just can't kill me.