Sports Media Scrutiny at an All Time High

With a face like this, who needs enemies?

(Repost from 2012)

It’s funny to me. After years of watching my beloved Baltimore Orioles flounder with failed prospects (Hayden Penn, Adam Loewen, etc…) and overpriced free agent signings (Kevin Gregg…), we are finally having a good year. More importantly, we are playing meaningful baseball, and it’s almost August. While yes I have been a little frustrated at our starting pitcher carousel and our offensive ineptitude, the fact remains; we are a winning baseball team. And I’m glad that when they do play poorly, I actually care. Every September, as we chug along toward another losing season, we seem to bring up players that have lurked in the depths of minor league baseball. At that point, you might as well wave the white flag because Chris Waters isn’t going to win you many ballgames.

But as I read any kind of Orioles article, it’s all negativity. The run differential is one of the worst in the majors. We shouldn’t trade anybody because we’re going to wind up under .500 anyway. Hell yesterday, I read someone actually advocating trading Matt Wieters, who has struggled at the plate lately but still remains the best defensive catcher in baseball. Can’t people, who are being paid to write about the thing they love, be a little more positive? I can think of two more examples just this week of overblown scrutiny.

Poor Adam Scott had one of the worst finishes in a golf major and managed to “choke” his way out of The Open title. I’ll admit, I don’t watch a lot of golf, but man these guys certainly stay classy, even after losses. I thought the woman who interviewed Scott afterward was going to cry herself. And Ernie Els certainly remained humble and respectful as well. However, not even a day after the tournament concluded, we have ESPN guys (who don’t even specialize in golf) talking about how Adam Scott’s career is over. How they had never seen a chokejob that bad. I understand you need something to talk about, but Ernie Els did just win the the damn thing. How can they just jump to ridiculous conclusions based on nothing but hearsay? Why pursue the negative?

Michael Vick made some comments about the Eagles becoming a dynasty last week as well (actual quote here). Once again, sports analysts everywhere jumped all over him, telling him he hasn’t won anything, they are underachievers, and that Vick himself shouldn’t make statements that he can’t back up. I’m not the biggest Michael Vick fan, but what is he supposed to say? “I hope to make the playoffs”? “We’re gonna fight our hardest to finish at 8-8”? The same thing happened when a reporter asked if Joe Flacco was the best quarterback in the NFL. It was a stupid question to ask any quarterback, but to Joe’s credit, he responded by saying that yes, he indeed was the best QB in the NFL. Once again, do you want your QB out there saying “Well, I hope I can play better than JaMarcus Russell this season”?

I think a lot of it falls into the use of statistics in sports these days. It’s like no one is allowed to be confident in their abilities or win if the “numbers” don’t support it. Every time someone is successful when they “shouldn’t be”, the media find some way to tear them down or attribute it to how “lucky” they are. Tebow is a prime example of this. I don’t think I could watch a SportsCenter in late December without seeing a graphic like “Tim Tebow’s QBR in Quarters 1-3 of the past 4 games.”

Sports media has become a huge industry on both the local and national scale. From print to radio to TV to web to mobile, you just cannot get away from it. I just wish that we could eliminate most of the negativity. How great would it be to focus on the stories of upstart teams who have grown up together, athletes’ personal stories of they wound up where they are, and teams who win and don’t care what the stats are?

Ah who am I kidding, I’ve got a run-differential season predictor I need to go calculate.

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