Posted on: June 3, 2008 1:54 pm

Media Hype-ocrisy

This is the shorter version of a blog that was cruelly struck down by the computer gods when I was typing it up.

There is a double standard for sports superstars and how they are treated in the media.  This annoys me, especially when ESPN and other media outlets treat some guys like folk heroes for their faults and lambaste others for theirs.  I am specifically thinking of Manny Ramirez and "Manny being Manny." 

After Manny caught a fly ball in LF and high-fived a Red Sox fan at Camden Yards, ESPN laughed it off and went on to put together a three minute clip reel of "Manny being Manny."  It was basically a gag reel of various fielding errors, base-running mistakes, and mental lapses (like forgetting how many outs are left).  The Baseball Night crew though it was great.  It's just Manny being Manny.  I think the only guy who didn't get a kick out of it was Buck Showalter.  Oddly enough, he's also the guy on the show who has had to manage players and thusly been at the mercy of management and ownership when superstars screw up.

I know it's a crazy pipe dream, but I wish superstars got the same media treatment.  I know he hits a lot of home runs and has a colorful personality, but it aggravates me that the biggest sports media outlet in the world idolizes this guy's antics and mistakes.  They see it all as part of the price of admission.  But if Freddy Bynum throws the ball ten feet left of first base on a routine grounder, it's not Freddy being Freddy.  If Ramon Hernandez drops a popup into foul territory that lets David Ortiz get two more swings, it's not Ramon being Ramon.  This is just one example of the double standard present in sports coverage.

I understand all the reasons why this happens.  The Sox are a big market team.  They're winners.  ESPN is headquartered in NE.  Manny is a superstar and future Hall of Famer.  I just wishing it didn't happen.  It's kind of like wishing for world peace; it's a nice thought, but completely impractical.
Category: MLB
Posted on: April 23, 2008 11:37 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2008 11:16 am

Aubrey Huff has to go

I don't care what it costs.

The Orioles did an excellent job in the off season of shedding dead weight. Now it's time to apply that philosophy to the regular season. Get Aubrey Huff out of here. Every time I see his face I want to punch my TV.

I don't care if he's a slow starter. I don't care if he had a few good years in Tampa. I just don't give a wet one. This guy makes derogatory comments about the city he plays for that revolve around how difficult it is for him to get smashed and laid at the bar scene on a weeknight. And he's a slow starter. How about that .260 BA ? Dump this joker.

I just watched the most surreal, ridiculous, demoralizing sequence of baseball that I have seen since the Mothers' Day Massacre last year. The O's are down 2-0 in the fifth inning. Huff gets a single to get on base. Adam Jones hits a great pitch, considering tonight's strike zone, and singles into right. The O's have their rally caps on. IN steps Ramon Hernandez. Silva hangs one and Ramon rips a towering line drive to left. The ball is CRUSHED. Any other situation, and it's a 2 RBI double and the game is tied....

....But no....

Audrey Huff screws up on the bases, not paying attention to the hit. Not only does he clog third by choking up the bases (Adam Jones was hustling on what should have been a run), but Huff makes a late run at home. Not only is he thrown out at home, but both runners are forced to retreat because they were halfway to second and third before Huff and Samuel decide to go home late. Instead of having Hernandez at second with no outs and the game tied, the O's have one out with men at first and second and no runs scored. Hernandez has a SINGLE on a ball that was, I repeat for those of you in the cheap seats, CRUSHED to the outfield.

Now, in fairness, I guess some of the blame can be laid on Samuel. But if Huff is busting his butt around third it isn't an issue. And while I'm typing this they have tied it in the sixth. They may win yet. But my gripe remains....


Edit:  I missed this last night during the broadcast, but apparently Juan Samuel tried to hold up Huff at third, which would have left the bases loaded with no outs.  So this has to be laid entirely at Huff's feet.
Category: MLB
Posted on: March 31, 2008 11:35 am

pet peeve of the day

This is just a minor rant.  I don't particularly like auto racing, but I don't hold anything against those who do.  This entry is more about the media coverage of the sport.   It's more of a pet peeve than anything  else.

It's time to stop calling the Daytona 500 the "Super Bowl  of NASCAR."  Here's why:

1) First and foremost, the winner of the Daytona 500 does not automatically win the NASCAR championship.  It may be weighted more than other races (I honestly do not know if this is true and don't care enough to look it up).  However, it doesn't mean you get the Winston Cup, Nextel Cup, or whatever cup there is out there.

2) It's at the start of the season, and not at the end.  If this were a true championship, like the Super Bowl, it would be at the end of the year.

Now, there is a compelling argument that it is the "Super Bowl of NASCAR" from a media coverage standpoint.  It is certainly the most hyped race of the year and draws the most media attention.  However, I think a better analogy would be to call it the "Kentucky Derby of NASCAR."  The Kentucky Derby is the first and most hyped event in the Triple Crown.  Since the Daytona 500 is also the first and most hyped event of a series of races, I think my analogy is better.

Of course, I don't work for a major newspaper, CBSSPortsline, or ESPN.  So the odds are that I'll just have to cringe and bear it whenever I hear this misnomer.
Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: March 26, 2008 7:50 pm

US Rt 1 = 1/5th Avenue

As many may know, the city of Baltimore "coined" the phrase "get in on it" in a 2006 campaign to boost tourist and small business revenue in the city. The actually spent $500000 to come up with the campaign. I know this is old news but the recent failures of the University of Maryland's Men's basketball team, and the upcoming Orioles baseball season, got me to thinking....

....Do they teach marketing at the University of Maryland? Since it is the flagship of the state university system, I have to wonder if it's own marketing failures are tied into the ridiculous product of a $500000 ad campaign. This is, after all, the university that delivered "Fear the Turtle."

Let me preface this by saying I am a proud Maryland alum with a decidedly unmarketable degree in Military History. I love the Terps, and I did enjoy my stint at College Park for the most part. I am not a marketing genius by any stretch. However, I am also a consumer and a taxpayer (not in the city though). I can spot a good ad when I see/hear it, and these slogans are ridiculous failures of the imagination.

To their credit, the UMD higher-ups (led by Clayton Mote Jr.) have done a lot to bring some real national renown to our university. The place was a giant construction yard when I was there (98-02), and thankfully not all of it was sunk into athletics. New dorms and new Computer Science and Business School buildings were being erected (at the expense of an already atrocious parking situation). The school was gaining ground nationally in research and academics in general. We're (still) catching up to the other ACC schools for overall respectability. All around good stuff.

And things aren't so bad in athletics either. We had, or course, out National title (thanks Gary). Fridge instantly turned around a flagging football team that was embarrassing to watch under Vanderlinden. Brenda Frieze (sp?) is doing great things in Women's basketball. The school is a perennial national powerhouse in both soccer and lacrosse (for those who care). They have a tremendous BBall facility and are planning on expanding Byrd Stadium. All around good stuff.

And yet, they have hung their hat on the cheesiest slogan I have ever heard: "Fear the turtle." In fairness, I don't think this is actually something the university thought up. If I remember correctly, it was a grass-roots T-shirt fad that was started by a few students and local entrepreneurs. It can undoubtedly be seen as an "in-your-face" reaction to the snobbery of the Carolina schools. And in that respect, it works. I can dig seeing the Red Army decked out in "Fear the Turtle" and "Garyland" T shirts during a Duke game. Then the powers-that -be embraced it as the official slogan of the University, and it was all she wrote.

It breaks down like this:

"Fear the Turtle"

Tongue-in-cheek joke t-shirt worn by a drunk frat boy at a basketball game = GOOD
Official slogan and advertising mantra that is played as voice-over in portentous ads for university that air on TV = BAD

How many takes do you think it took the guy in those UMD TV ads to say "Fear the Turtle" with a straight face? Ten? Three? Twenty? I think it partially explains the failure of the "Get in on it" campaign. If College Park, the crown jewel of Maryland higher education, can only come up with "Fear the Turtle," then maybe it should be no surprise that the state's largest (and most troubled) city fails at marketing as well.

I planned to bring the Orioles into this as well, but it's late, I'm off work, and I hear the Yeungling calling....
Category: General
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