Sunday, June 26, 2011

An article about baseball written by someone who obviously knows nothing about baseball

Back in the day, way back when that other FJM blog (the one that copied our name and stole our idea) was still active, they occasionally wrote posts picking on small-time sportswriters. Really small-time. Like, they'd pick on the guy who writes the sports section, entertainment section, and police blotter for the North Platte Plains Journal. I always thought that was kind of pointless; sure, those writers had really stupid things to say about sports, but it's not like anyone ever read their garbage. It kind of had the feel of a literary critic ripping apart entries from a middle school short story contest.

But you know what? Fuck that. If they can steal our ideas, we can steal theirs. Last week I stumbled into this piece by some dude from the Enid (Oklahoma) News and Eagle. And that dude, Dave Ruthenberg, has some really great and valid points to make about interleague play. So lean back in your porch swing, take a sip of homemade iced tea, and enjoy some small town sportswriting from a guy who really isn't too sure about this whole Facebook Twitter thing.

In the normal scheme of things, Tuesday’s 5-2 victory by the Florida Marlins over the Los Angeles Angels would garner nary a notice other than a mention on that ubiquitous lower-screen ESPN crawl on your television.

Well your first problem is that you're watching ESPN and expecting any kind of baseball coverage at all. TONIGHT ON SPORTSCENTER- JUST WAIT UNTIL YOU HEAR WHAT CAM NEWTON HAD TO SAY ABOUT BEING COMPARED TO MIKE VICK IN A TWEET FROM LEBRON.

Certainly, the fact the Marlins and Angels were playing an interleague game bore little or no interest to most fans.

Whereas most Marlins games get coverage like the first moon landing.

Interleague play, once an intriguing an idea before the explosion of cable and satellite TV brought nearly every team from the American League and National League into our homes, has run its tired course.

Baseball has been shown on national TV since 1965. I understand that MLB Extra Innings is a little different than a single game being broadcast nationally once a week on ABC, but it's not like the only option for following games when interleague was conceptualized was to sit around your family's vacuum tube radio and hope you could pick up the Senators/Redstockings game.

Interleague play was a new idea in 1997,

All ideas are new ideas when people first have them. That is the essence of an idea.

but has quickly grown old and needs to put out to pasture. Be honest, does anybody care that the Detroit Tigers are playing the Colorado Rockies or that the Washington Nationals are playing the Seattle Mariners?

Does anyone care when the Tigers play the Mariners and the Rockies play the Nationals? Pointing out that unpopular teams play interleague games is not a reason to can it. Although I have to agree with the author's implied premise: baseball certainly would be more interesting if the AL consisted of only the Red Sox and Yankees and the NL consisted of only the Dodgers and Phillies. Geez, that would be so exciting that it might even be worth reconsidering this whole “let's shelve interleague” thing. Yankees-Phillies! Can you imagine?

Sure, there were a couple of intriguing matchups such as St. Louis and Kansas City

Yeah, a good 40% of Missouri was riveted to that one. THAT'S the one you pick?

or the Cubs versus the Mets.

Not to mention that White Sox/Rangers interleague series from a few weeks back!

But even those games have lost their luster in the middle of a baseball season that is sorely lacking intrigue or excitement.

You know what would help baseball regain its status as America's favorite sport? If it had more football in it.

So why would a game involving the Florida Marlins, who entered Tuesday with an 11-game losing streak, matter to anyone? Jack McKeon.

Hey, one of the league's least-followed teams hired an 80 year old dude to manage. NOW we'll see some intrigue and excitement.

/waits for Jack McKeon to say something racist or pee himself during a press conference

While baseball needs to retire interleague play, it is a little ironic

I don't want to be a grammar dick, but it's ironical.

that a manager long ago thought to have been put out to pasture, became, at least for now, baseball’s most interesting story.

So ironical. I guess in Dave's world, interleague play = boring, Jack McKeon = interesting. Geez, where does the fact that the Pirates just signed a contract with a new hot dog bun provider for PNC Parkfit on this scale? Can it even fit or do we have to acknowledge that some things are so incredible that they simply can't be categorized?

The 80-year-old McKeon was brought out of retirement to take over as interim manager of the woeful Marlins after Edwin Rodriguez stepped down as their manager. Rodriguez compiled a record of 78-85 since taking over one year ago but things were heading downhill swiftly but when the Marlins named McKeon, most observers snickered.

Editorial standards at the News and Eagle aren't what they used to be.

But really, an 80-year-old manager? McKeon is old-school and offers no apologies.

Unlike Manny Acta, who simply will not stop fucking apologizing for his age. It's really awkward, actually.

“Why should experience get penalized?” McKeon said after he took on the job.

Because as humans get older they tend to get shittier at everything?

“Maybe I’m not hip with the Twitter or Facebook or stuff like that,

Is there a more predictable way for an 80 year old in a young persons' industry to respond to a question about their age? I'm certain that there isn't. Eat your heart out, Ted Stevens. WELL I TELL YOU WHAT I DON'T KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT THE INTERNET ROBOT MACHINES BUT I KNOW A LITTLE BIT ABOUT DOUBLE SWITCHES

but outside of that I don’t have any problem disciplining my kids – or these players.”

So McKeon will not be telling Hanley Ramirez to get his lazy fucking ass in gear via tweet or status message. Gotcha.

You have to admire straight-forward talk like that.

No you don't. You have to either 1) shrug it off as a stupid cliché or 2) nod along cautiously because you're also 80 and have no idea what Facebook and Twitter are.

Not being familiar with today’s so-called social media may be an advantage. How many games have been won via Twitter or Facebook?

Exactly 273, but who's counting? Yeah, I have to admit that the other FJM was onto something w/r/t these small time sportswriters. I might have to start checking in with Dave from Enid regularly. This guy rules.


Adam said...

Ol' Dave used "put out to pasture" twice within three paragraphs.

Ah, Oklahoma.

JimA said...

You average 2 articles a week and you waste time going after a guy in Enid, Oklahoma? We have a world full of Peter King, Rick Reilly, Bill Simmonds and other assholes, and you can't raise yourself to go after anyone more deserving than this guy? Seems pretty lazy to me.

Larry B said...

I usually write about the first funny/terrible thing I see when I go looking for something. I also respond to links left in the comments of the most recent post. You don't have to link Simmons, I glance at all his stuff anyways since he's my least favorite (but I'm not going to go after him for every single post). Reilly, meh. He sucks but he never writes anything substantive. And King is covered so much better by BDD at Kissing Suzy Kolber that I don't bother trying. If you have other suggestions, leave a link and I'll check them out.

Chris W said...

I can see the general complaint, but i'm not sure whee laziness comes into play

pnoles said...

Bwahahahahah Cubs/Mets? Did he really not notice that? Wow.

Boston Sports Fan said...


It's been 20 days since Grantland launched yet Larry B got nothing on it. Why is Larry B hiding behind skid sportswriters in hicksville?

Don't make me post this post every day.

JimA said...

Although I have to agree with the author's implied premise: baseball certainly would be more interesting if the AL consisted of only the Red Sox and Yankees and the NL consisted of only the Dodgers and Phillies.

He doesn't imply anything of the sort. Nice strawman.

Because as humans get older they tend to get shittier at everything?

That's why we need 25 year old presidents. All the experience and wisdom earned over the years means nothing. Or do you just have a problem with older people?

I can see the general complaint, but i'm not sure whee laziness comes into play

Laziness is just taking the easiest target, or the first one you stumble upon. Lazy is making up stuff to nail a guy on when he's simply inept, not pushing an agenda.

I come here because I enjoy Larry B's writing, even if I sometimes disagree with what he writes. This was not his finest hour.

Biggus Rickus said...

Yeesh. Everyone's a critic.

Larry B said...

Cut me some slack, Jim. This isn't the glory days of 2007-2008 for the blog. I think we all know that. I've got a few more obligations now than I did then, and writing for FireJay doesn't pay the bills.

If he's saying that Marlins/Angels, Rockies/Tigers, and Nationals/Mariners are boring series, what is he implying? I think it's fair to assume he prefers the big name teams. It's certainly not a straw man. He mentions Cubs/Mets, which would be a big name interleague series if it were actually an interleague matchup. He also mentions Cardinals/Royals, which isn't a marquee showdown, probably because Kansas City is the MLB city closest to Enid (edging out Arlington).

When I said that as people get older they tend to get shittier at everything, I meant people past retirement age. Which is why we don't need 80 year old presidents. An 80 year old manager might work. The guy won a WS when he was 72. But the job requires a lot of travel and days in the heat for a dude that's 5 years past the average life expectancy for males in the US. (Thanks, Wikipedia)

Like I said, Jim, you find something shitty, link it here and I'll take a look at it.

Adam said...

Who's Bill Simmonds?