Wednesday, October 17, 2007
$$$ and Sense
The Colorado Rockies have secured a spot in the 2007 World Series and the Cleveland Indians are their likely opponents (barring an incredible turnaround by the Boston Redsox). I'm not a fan of either team but I root for underdogs and so am pleased to see these two clubs experiencing success.
My pleasure is dampened, however, by the constant fretting of so many sports commentators and journalists about the "problems" with "small market teams" vying for the championship. Sure, Major League Baseball's executives (and those at the invested television networks) are more worried about "the numbers" than they are a good sports story, but those men and women are the suited vultures, the "money men," a tribe I hold in low regard. Why should the commentators echo their concerns?
I'm not usually one to romanticize sports history - nostalgia is a refuge of the deluded or the defeated - but it wasn't long ago that popular sports mythology was built around icons and iconic achievement at the individual and team level. Frustratingly, our contemporary culture celebrates the sports investors almost as much the records, players, and managers. The much caricatured, beer-gutted fan sprawled in his recliner is today as concerned with salary caps, free agency moves, and team revenue as he is batting average and stolen bases. Off season dealings are as much a subject of water cooler conversation as the break-out rookies or outstanding team efforts. Indeed, contemporary sports talk might be confused for a stock portfolio review.
These are the times we live in, and our mercenary understanding of sports just one more tell, but for a more poignant take on contemporary apathy (and what it represents or portends) link over to James Wagner to read his "Good Germans" post, a response to Frank Rich's op-ed in the October 14th Sunday New York Times.