Tuesday, October 6, 2015


My view of professional sports has changed completely since I was a kid. Back in the day, how I loved to follow my favorite teams. I would live and die on every play, keeping score in my various notebooks. I would scream myself hoarse during the course of the games as I followed that group of players who I had come to know over the years. I would use the terms "we" and "us" as if I really were an innate part of it all. Today, it is all about money. The players and the owners don't even try to hide the fact that this is business. They no longer feel even the slightest tendency to hide what they are all about. No matter how much of the dirty laundry of professional sports is aired publically, the ratings keep going up and up and up. Endless scandals only seem to grease the wallets of the advertisers and the broadcast networks. More money, more money, more money.

How many times have we heard from some loud-mouth athlete jawing it up in front of the camera that the latest 100 million contract offer from their team is a disrespectful insult? How many ways can teams sell themselves? Trying to watch sports on television, one only sees a screen plastered with advertisements from one corner to the next. It is all so frustrating. So cloying. So disheartening that what should be a relaxing spectator sport has become something so cut-throat, and that is even before the teams take the playing field. Team rosters made over before, during, and after the seasons make it so that fans don't root for teams, they root for uniforms of a particular color scheme.

The other day I turned on sports radio just as the program went into commercial. Three consecutive ads ran for fantasy football leagues from different outfits. Complete saturation of the airwaves. When the program returned after the commericials, they were broadcasting a minor league baseball game. When the announcer indicated that the stadium was near to capacity, my first thought was to wonder who want to see a bunch of nobodies who will likely never see even a shadow of the limelight? My second thought was an answer to my first. Maybe it is folks who still just want to see athletes play the game.