Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Orlando Sentinel Thinks You Are Sick and Diseased

The Orlando Sentinel's Andrea Adelson has a Bonds/steroids editorial today which, on one level makes a lot of sense in that she acknowledges how, despite the Bonds indictment and despite the Mitchell Report, baseball will continue to thrive because, at its heart, baseball is a diversion people like.

On a second, more ridiculous level, Adelson evidences her disgust at fans for continuing to enjoy the sport, opining that "it is preposterous that baseball is enjoying unprecedented cash flow given its tainted game." But rather than simply think you're crazy for continuing to enjoy baseball, she puts all of you loyal baseball fans on the psychiatrist's couch and enlists a couple of putatively unbiased and scientific sources to explain just how sick and deluded you really are:

"Life will go on," sports psychologist Richard Lustberg said. "We want to be entertained. People are willing to overlook this because they need the games for their own emotional needs. It's like smoking. You need the drug, so you overlook you're going to get cancer."

Got that? You're all addicts, and if you don't click off that Yankees-Royals game next June, you're all going to get cancer and die, OK? Anything else Dr. Adelson?

Several studies have shown how we become immune to shocking stories. Kirk L. Wakefield, a sports marketing specialist at Baylor, explains the research this way: "If you show people a terrible story about murder and mayhem and then ask them about something that is wrong but not as bad as murder, then that story is not so bad."If you compare that second story after telling them about Mother Teresa, then it is terrible. Steroids are in the news every week, so when the Mitchell report comes out and says these people have done it, people say, 'What do you expect?' "

There you have it. The only reason you silly people are continuing to enjoy baseball is because it's not as bad as murder and mayhem. Perhaps if you stopped watching the evening news you'd understand just how horrific the national pastime really is and become sufficiently alarmed.

Or you can just send Ms. Adelson an email explaining to her that, rather than being irrationally addicted or emotionally maniupulated, some baseball fans are intelligent and sophisticated enough to make the necessary distinctions between the sport they love and the occasional bad news that surrounds it in order to allow them to, you know, enjoy a ballgame every once in a damn while.


Pete Toms said...

The analogies are over the top ( cancer, murder ) and the tone is condescending and snooty but yes the fundamental argument is sound.

If we were offended by steroid use in baseball our enthusiasm for it would diminish, there is no evidence that is the case.

SBJ had an excellent feature about "athlete conduct" - or words to that effect - and concluded that so far it has having zero impact on the popularity of pro sports in the US.

Craig, fans like you and I are not at all indicative of the typical baseball fan. ( Which isn't to say we're superior, we're not ). Most of the 79 million who went to games this season don't devote any significant time to reading about baseball, especially off the field matters. Most fans attend because as you note, it's a pleasant diversion from the day to day grind.

Dave White said...

It's no surprise that the Orlando Sentinel voiced such absurd sentiments about baseball and it's fans.

My sainted mother, who resides in the Orlando area and swears by the Sentinel, told me this weekend that she is offended by the prospect of her tax money (which she hasn't had to pay in years) will help San Franciscan's clean up the Bay oil spill, because the Sentinel says that "SF deserved what it got" as a hot-bed of lust and Nancy Pelosi values, and presumably, steroids.

Also, the Sentinel claimed in March 2003 that the Bush administration had a detailed and thoroughly thought through Iraq occupation plan.

I think that says all we need to know about the Orlando Sentinel.