Notes from the Sporting Doldrums

– With the Super Bowl just concluded, I’m compelled for whatever reason to reflect on the NFL’s championship extravaganza, and a little bit then on baseball’s. These comparisons could probably extend to the sports as a whole, but I’ll let you parse that out. My thoughts:

  1. Super Bowl ads. Lame, misogynistic attempts to send their brand viral, a huge audience handed over to marketeers rather than entertainers. Andy Samberg’s Digital Shorts these were not.
  2. The Who. Has any recent decision felt less connected with the times that we live in? I like The Who as much as the next guy, but it should’ve been Beyonce. Or these guys.
  3. Blowouts are over quickly.
  4. The Super Bowl embodies immediate gratification as an event; a complete culmination focused on a single point. Of late, it has proven worthy as the games have been compelling and exciting.

What is gained or lost in the baseball version, ie. the wide lens that is the World Series?:

  1. Extended gratification. It’s not an event, but a period of time–an epoch–that can unfold like a fat novel or dine and dash like a novella. The Super Bowl on the other hand is an episode of CSI. If your team happens to be in the World Series, you face up to seven games of excrutiating pain.
  2. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver blow. Up to seven games of that, no matter what you do.
  3. Blowouts drag along for days.
  4. The World Series embodies old timey values like delayed gratification, depth, and endurance.

– I realized yesterday evening that the MLB Network is a little over one year old. The immediately high quality of the channel has created the sense that it’s been here all the time, right alongside ESPN. And yet simultaneously I can’t believe it’s already been a year since its birth. Already I don’t know what I would do without it.

– Is there a baseball equivalent of The Catcher in the Rye? I perhaps predictably went back to the book after the death of its author. The pressure within those pages presses the setting into a frieze; melancholy and timeless. Is this how we feel about Joe Dimaggio? (The book was published the year The Yankee Clipper retired) Is this how we will feel about Joe Mauer?

– Non-baseball related recommendation: Uhh Yeah Dude, a podcast which features a couple of guys shooting the bull. (Don’t rely on just the videos on their homepage: listen to the podcast all the way.)

4 Responses to “Notes from the Sporting Doldrums”

  • There’s always the mute button to handle the playoffs…

  • Great call on the Hold Steady. Would love to see them as the halftime show. I mean, I was just happy Roger Daltry didn’t break a hip.

    And hope Tim McCarver gets a kidney stone. On the air.

  • A lotta vitriol today, Paul. In a way I kinda feel bad for The Who — they meant well, I think. And as far as McCarver, well, he’s a terrible baseball commentator. But he seems like a nice guy.

  • Pretty digestable stuff. I was uncomfortable with my near complete agreement:

    -The Who should have been in bed before half time check
    -Tim McCarver should be covering rythmic gymnastics check
    -MLB network does it right and is not afraid to
    remind us that Shea Stadium hosted The Beatles in
    1965 drawing 55,000 with a gate of $300K (thanks to
    ticket prices of $4.50, $5.00 & $5.75) check

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