Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The New York Sports Media Strikes Again

In anticipation of the MLB League Championship Series, New York Times columnist Bill Rhoden offers up this truly inane column opining that baseball needs a Yankees-Dodgers World Series matchup to take the game back to its roots and "recover a portion of the trust" that it has lost in the wake of the P.E.D. scandals of the past several years. Say what?!?!? Even for a member of the notoriously egocentric New York media, this statement boggles the mind. How, pray tell, would a matchup between teams starring Alex "A-Roid" Rodriguez and Manny "I was just trying to get pregnant" Rodriguez, two of the biggest fish yet netted in the steroids crackdown, restore trust in the integrity of the game? If anything, a series featuring two superstars who were just busted for using THIS YEAR would remind viewers of MLB's disgraceful recent history of ignoring and/or tacitly enabling steroid abuse. I'm not naive enough to believe that no player on either the Phillies or the Angels has ever used steroids, but as far as I know neither team has a player who's publicly known to have been busted, which is not the case with the Yankees or Dodgers.

Furthermore, Rhoden ought to realize that outside of New Yorkers of the Baby Boom generation or older, nobody gives a New York subway rat's you-know-what about having a World Series that hearkens back to the so-called golden era of the game, when subway matchups between New York teams were a regular event. The 2000 World Series, the one featuring the Mets and the Yankees, was one of the lowest rated on record, which certainly suggests that sports fans outside of New York don't care about New York teams nearly as much as New Yorkers seem to think they do. If the matchup ends up being Yankees vs. Dodgers, it will likely get better ratings than a Phillies-Angels series would, but only because 1.)it would involve the nation's two largest media markets, and 2.)lots of people outside New York (including me) despise the Yankees and will tune in to root against them. History will have nothing to do with it.

As a Philadelphian, of course I'd like to see the Phillies against either A.L. team over Yankees-Dodgers, but even failing that I think I'd rather watch a "Three-Hours-In-Hellish-Freeway-Traffic" Series between the Dodgers and Angels than have to suffer through the orgy of self-indulgent New York baseball nostalgia a Yankees-Dodgers tilt would engender. As for restoring my trust in the sanctity of the sport? I fear that horse has left the barn, but if it is possible, it'll take a lot more than a historically resonant World Series matchup to do it. Like, say, publicly identifying every player who has been caught using performance enhancing drugs since testing was instituted, and banning players who test positive from making All-Star teams, winning postseason awards, being eligible for the Hall of Fame, or otherwise being recognized. I'm not holding my breath.

In the meantime, I am rooting passionately against both the Yankees and the Dodgers, and, thus, I guess, against the best interests of the game, as well as purity, mom, and apple pie. Oh, well. Go Phillies!

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