By Mike Steffanos
According to Lynn:
Just in at GaryKeithandRon.com comes their first t-shirt honoring baseball legend--and Mets broadcasting hero--Ralph Kiner. Pre-order this heather gray tee with its retro-style design declaring yourself in "Kiner's corner" before April 13th and save $5 off the $25 price. All proceeds go to the Mets' broadcasters favorite charities. Gary, Keith, and Ron couldn't be more excited to have Ralph Kiner join their corner!
So what are you waiting for?
Now to the rant.
I travelled around the country quite a bit in my younger years. Having grown up in a large and relatively sophisticated media market, I was often struck by the way sports are covered in other cities. The coverage in some markets had a deferential, almost cheerleader-esque quality to it. I appreciated that, even in an era that was notably less confrontational and critical than today, I was exposed to a way of thinking about sports that was more nuanced and analytic than the "us good guys vs. them bad guys" style of the hinterlands.
I guess you can carry anything good too far, however, and nowadays I find media coverage in this market has become more cynical and over the top. A case in point is the almost unrelentingly negative tone of the New York media's coverage of the Mets this season.
From day one of spring training it seems that every piece of bad news was milked for as much mileage as possible.
Remember when Santana's elbow was bothering him early on? Johan kept insisting it was normal, but we read one thing after another trying to portray every little twist and turn in that story as dark and sinister. As it turned out, we should have all just listened to Santana and saved ourselves the worry.
Then the exhibition season got underway, and each and every start by a Mets starter was picked apart and analyzed for signs of impending doom. Pelfrey, Maine, Perez and the fifth starter candidates weren't even given a couple of outings to ease into the season. Those of us who have followed this game for a long time could only shake our heads in wonder at this insanity.
Now we sit all of three games into the season, and everything is still being dissected and parsed into unrelenting negativity.
In today's New York Post, Mike Vaccaro offers up one of the most pathetically transparent examples of this sort of mindlessly hysterical coverage that Mets fans are being bombarded with. Mike won't even take a moment to consider that things might work out with this staff, he's already fanning the flames of calling for a big deal to be struck.:
... Each of the starters behind Santana has his own concerns: Pelfrey's putting serious innings on his arm for the first time; Maine's shoulder; Ollie's head; Hernandez' birth certificate. If they replicate their best, it could be a hell of a rotation. The worst? Well, we've already seen that on back-to-back days.
The more we do, the more there will be pining for Peavy, and for Halladay, the more you will hear folks at Citi Field begin to wonder aloud how much a certain pitcher named Pedro might have left in the tank. There's time for everyone to settle in, sure. Just not as much time as everyone may think.
I like Vaccaro's use of the word "we", as if he has something personal at stake here beyond a desire to have overwrought Mets fans read his column and think he's one of us. The truth is that he's just cynically yanking our chain.
Believe it or not, there are teams that are legitimate playoff contenders that have more rotation questions than ours. Yet fans of these clubs are allowed to settle into the season a little and not forced to live and die on every game.
I singled out Vaccaro today but, in fairness, he was just the most blatant example of what was out there. You just can't escape it anymore.
A baseball season is long. What is happening in games 1-3, for good or ill, isn't necessarily what will be happening five months from now. It's a sport that demands patience and a long attention span, and neither commodity seems much in supply these days. Whatever happened to being a "professional" journalist?
I'm 50 years old, and old school enough to feel sadness and loss as more and more newspapers disappear from the landscape. The truth of the matter is, however, that if the only way they can hang on is by abandoning all traces of objective, rational reporting, then maybe they're already irretrievably lost.