Searching For The Truth – III. Media Moguls and Mongrels

Published May 31, 2001 – Cameron Citizen-Observer

Shaq and Kobe 2001
Shaq and Kobe 2001

THIS JUST IN: Growing up, I watched Patrick Ewing battle Chris Mullin in college. I became a Hoya fan when Alonzo Morning and Dikembe Mutombo were the Twin Towers. Allen Iverson was the first Hoya that I followed into the NBA. I’ve been rooting for the 76ers all season long, predicting an NBA Finals appearance.

I’m here to officially announce that I’m off the bandwagon. For this year.

The Los Angeles Lakers are going to destroy whoever has the misfortune to join them on the court. The Sixers would give it a valiant effort, but with all their injuries and lack of another offensive threat, they might not come within 20 points.

The Milwaukee Bucks, on the other hand, have a winning record against the Lakers this year and they have the shooters to put up a good fight. Iverson will have other chances for his ring, like next year. The Bucks will not. I hope they get one shining moment this year, before reality sets in with Scott Williams, Ervin Johnson and Jason Caffey.

Baseball has numbers that act like nouns. 4,192. 61. 714. They have names, dates, places and history attached to them. Fumbling through old VHS tapes last week, I stumbled onto an old Sportscenter featuring one of those numbers.

Robin Yount was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame a couple of years back because he was a consistent All-Star for years. On this edition of Sportscenter, Yount joined 16 other men in baseball history with 3,000 hits. He was the third youngest player to reach the mythical number, a guaranteed ticket to Cooperstown.

Robin Yount celebrates his 3,000th hit
Robin Yount celebrates his 3,000th hit

But the shocking thing was the treatment by my favorite channel. Yeah, it started the show, but they teased a US Open upset before getting to it. They showed Yount’s first three at bats against Jose Mesa of the Cleveland Indians, then added Bob Uecker’s radio call for the historic hit.

After flashing the final score, they returned to show two quotes from Yount’s press conference. The whole piece was two minutes thirty seconds, which comes out to about 11 percent of the show.

So what’s shocking? First off, the video feed was from BrewerVision, meaning there was no local television coverage. In fact, that means the nation watched the same high angle shot. No close ups on tearful family and cheering teammates.

Also, they spent 11 percent of 30 minutes. On today’s hour long Sportscenter, they would have came back to the top story at least twice. There wasn’t even a reporter at Milwaukee County Stadium to cover it live and this was only 1992!

The increase in media coverage has jumped leaps and bounds. Remember McGuire and Sosa a couple of summers back? We knew what Sosa was eating for breakfast and what color underwear McGuire’s son was wearing. Unfortunately, it’s not just sports. If Elian Gonzalez were from Haiti, we never would have known his name.

School shooting are horrible events, but they were going on for years in New York City and Detroit without CNN and MSNBC stopping their regularly scheduled babble to bring you the latest helicopter shot of kids running for their lives. We have come to a point where technology allows you access to more than ever. In less than a decade, we have jumped some line drawn in the sands on sanity. We pay too much attention to items and events that don’t deserve the consideration.

There are Japanese ‘media organizations’ that will pay one million dollars for a naked picture of Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. National sports reporters admit that because Barry Bonds is surly with the media, he won’t go down in history as one of the greatest ever; regardless of his 500 home runs and three MVP awards. Ken Griffey Jr. says he’s actually terrified of the media.

I don’t have any answers, especially since I haven’t asked any questions. Tomorrow, I’ll turn on ESPN again and continue to watch trivial stories like a broken seatbelt or the latest Anna Kournikova sighting take precedent.

I’ll still go to sleep, dreaming of a day when people care enough to give their very best in everything they do. But I‘ll wake up knowing that day is long away. And that’s the truth.

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