Only Seat in the House
Christopher Dean Heine
Has Become All Curses and Mirrors
What I am about to write could be applied to the larger
modern society. But this is where I do a go-around about
sports, so I will keep it small.
no longer bound to the idea that they can be reflections
of the human state, but they are also confounding mirages.
ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN Classic, ESPN.com, ESPN.com Page 2,
Fox Sports Net, talk radio and any other channel that
discusses athletics often displace TALK above the games
and players themselves.
How many times
do I have to hear from a sports talking head how the media
is going to jump all over (a story angle) on (an issue,
person) and distort (the bigger picture … the truth) before
I go nuts? Wait, fine professional, aren’t you IN the
media? Aren’t you supposed to set the record straight
so sports history comes off clean?
The first example that comes to mind involves last year’s
home run pursuit by Barry Bonds, one of the ten best ball
players that ever lived. Now Bondsy doesn’t like the media
much and he is a bit of a social yob. Funny thing is,
Bondsy is the son of Hall-of-Fame outfielder Bobby Bonds
and the godchild of the greatest ballplayer who ever lived,
Willie “Say Hey” Mays. He is spoiled beyond his own knowing,
according to reports, and has the kind of chip on his
shoulder that can turn ugly all newborns and three-for-four
nights at the plate.
As a brash,
young ballplayer during the early 1990s, he allegedly
cursed and spat at reporters at times because that was
his mood for the day. What else can you expect from the
GODCHILD OF THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER EVER? The world obviously
still owes him a lot.
So maybe he
is a punk. Has he ever been a punk to me? Do I even really
know he’s a punk? No, and no. I only recognize him as
an extraordinary talent who hit a ball just a foot below
the top of the centerfield fence at Shea Stadium last
August. Joe Krings and I, regular fans, initially leaped
from our seats as the ball sailed high en route to lore.
We laughed out loud in melancholy after it dimpled the
cushioned fence, knowing that history had just evaded
I think of when I think of Bondsy. I don’t think of a
loogie on some hack’s tape recorder. But fans obviously
don’t count when sports reporters speak of Public Perception.
“Well, no one really likes Barry Bonds. EVERYONE thinks
he’s a jerk.” Did someone commission Gallup to do a poll
on this? Or, do the vacuums those big-time sports hacks
live in equate into the entire American baseball universe,
which entails the United States, Upper Mexico, Lower Canada
and demographical dots of Japan?
When I listened
to sports talk radio last summer here in NYC, I sometimes
would hear fans call in and lazily say it too: “Well,
Barry Bonds is a bad guy.” They never, ever sounded like
they meant it. They said it because that was what they
were supposed to say when trying to converse to a member
of the sports media. That is pathetic, and very modern.
And take the
Miami Hurricanes’ successful campaign for college football’s
2001 mythical national championship. The next day, legendary
Florida coach Steve Spurrier announced his resignation
to seek a job at the professional level.
immediately opined on how old Steve done stole the spotlight
from the state-rival Hurricanes. Now, there is a small
grain of truth to that. However, once it is repeated over
and over again, his announcement actually progresses from
an interesting news tidbit to a headline as big or bigger
than the outcomes of championship ballgames. Staying with
college football, let’s look at the sport’s recruiting
process and how analysts and fans alike on talk radio
and via the Internet overly intellectualize the subject.
It’s been said time and time again that recruiting is
an inexact science and really doesn’t mean much if a team
does not win A LOT of games.
Yet, I have
heard people say an exorbitant number of times how winning
a big bowl game or even a championship game will help
recruit better players. Now, again, there is a little
truth to this reasoning. However, it is stated so often
that it sounds like people actually believe getting a
wide receiver from a German Air Force base is actually
more important that winning and losing live ballgames.
Does the chicken come before the…
world of college football, analysts actually crown “recruiting
national championships” to support the importance of their
published work. That’s similar in sentiment to going to
the playground every Saturday for five months for a serious
tackle football league, stopping and then having captains
pick new teams and then sitting around for two months
discussing the merits of their team-building decisions
and then having an awards banquet to commemorate the supposed
realizations deriving from the talks, as if all those
earlier ballgames taught no one nothing at all. The Texas
Longhorns have won several “recruiting national championships”
in recent years but have far less to show for it on the
field. Fans of the team love the recruiting victories.
and suspect information have become more important than
action and truth. That’s my point here. Look at the world
around you. It’s a joke. No, it’s a curse. Fry that mirage
analogy, it’s like a broken fucking mirror.