Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ray Chapman's Ghost Doesn't Need this Crap

History teaches that when an advanced society begins to turn away from science, empiricism, and enlightenment in favor of folkways, superstition and hoodoo, that society has passed its peak and has begun its descent into a dark age. It may take decades or even centuries to truly reach that dark age, but it will inevitably get there because at heart people are nothing more than grubby apes who prefer the false comfort of supernatural explanations to the sometimes cold and impersonal light of reason.

That's pretty much where we're heading now, I fear. How else to explain the increasing insistence of people to attribute the fortunes of baseball teams to curses and spirits:

Ray Chapman’s spirit could be floating the Cleveland Indians through a season unlike any other in their history. Strange, unexplainable, head-scratching events have surrounded this team for months, beginning almost from the moment the Indians rediscovered a lost piece of Chapman’s legacy.

The piece goes on to cite several "strange and unexplainable" events which have befallen the Tribe since some workers found a plaque honoring poor Ray Chapman that had been stashed in a storeroom for thirteen years. An early April snowstorm. Winning a game with only one hit. Their current catcher hitting a home run in an all star game ten years after their old catcher hit one. The unexpected emergence of Fausto Carmona and Asdrúbal Cabrera, the latter of which the writer makes some attempt to compare to Joe Sewell, who replaced the dearly departed Chapman prior to the Indians run in 1920.

Maybe I'd be more taken with this article if early April snow was truly unprecedented in Cleveland, catchers hitting home runs ten years apart was shocking, and if Josh Barfield was, you know, killed on the field as opposed to merely sucking. Short of that stuff, however, the use of the word "oddities" to explain it seems, I don't know, crazy.

Here's a suggestion: how about attributing the Indians nice season to really strong starting pitching, a mostly great bullpen, and a lineup of patient hitters with pop?

Another suggestion: When off-days come around during the playoffs, assign your reporters to do a profile of a little-known star or an analysis of the upcoming series rather than knock around a stadium getting quotes to try and make an extremely lame story like this one hold together.


64cardinals said...

Doesn't this directly relate to your blog yesterday about blogs?

Writers don't have anything intelligent to write, so they pick any ridiculous topic in order to meet a deadline?

Writing for the newspaper should follow the same guidelines you mentioned for blogs. Namely, have something to say, and back up what you are saying.

This is what kept the "Curse of the Bambino" alive in Boston for 88 years, and will extend the stupidity of "the goat" in Chicago.

Its playoff time, and everyone has to fill space. Seems to me this falls under the old axiom of "do something, anything, I don't care what it is!"

Shyster said...

Pretty much. Of course, we can't have everyone ignore these silly topics or else writers like me would lose something to get worked up about. ;-)