I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we kind of suck.
No, I don’t mean us here at Midway Madness. I like to think we’re a level above – but maybe I’m just biased. What I’m talking about is the sports media as a whole – in that sense, we really suck recently.
We all know that sports, and therefore sports fans, are prone to hero-worship. It’s just part of the game. Many of us have a favorite player who we love unconditionally, even though they might not be all that great, or important, on the field.
So, for a fan to be obsessed with, say, Ryan Theriot or Tim Tebow, it’s understandable. Something about that player connects with you as a fan, and you follow and root for them with ferocity. That’s cool.
But in the media, we’re supposed to be above that. At least a little. We’re supposed to be about facts, not fandom. We’re supposed to be about news, not what’s new with our favorite player.
Unfortunately, if you turned on the TV last Tuesday, that’s not at all what you saw. Because, on that day, one of the top sports stories in this country – if you listened to the sports media at large – was that it was a certain back-up quarterback’s 25th birthday.
Because, you know, that’s big news.
As someone who paid more money than I’d like to think about to put myself through four years of journalism school, it’s offensive to turn on the TV and see crap like that being chucked full-force at my face. It’s not news – it’s TMZ-style celebrity-sensationalism.
Let me remind you that we’re talking about a backup quarterback with a 75.1 career QB rating, playing for a team that was 8-8 last year, with a middle-of-the-road 8-6 career record as a starter and a 17/9 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 23 career games.
And let’s not forget he’s playing behind a guy who just signed a three-year extension, making him worth about $60 million over the next five years.
Tell me why we care about this guy again?
But a back-up quarterback for a mediocre team in New York isn’t the only place where the media is going awry. We have problems of our own right here in Chicago.
For example, did you know the Cubs have been embarrassingly bad this year? And did you know they can’t get their offense started, and it’s costing them victories? Did you know that their pitching is costing them victories?
Better yet, did you know that victories don’t mean a damn thing this season? Because, apparently, much of the Chicago media doesn’t. And that’s why you haven’t heard me, or many of our Cubs writers on this site, dwell on their abysmal record.
It’s not because we don’t want to think about it or it’s too embarrassing to report. It’s because that’s not news. At least, it’s not important news. The story of the Cubs this season isn’t about wins and losses. It’s about additions, subtractions, call ups, rookie performances and trades. It’s about retooling the front office.
Simply put, it’s about the future. But based on what we’ve seen in much of the Chicago media, you’d never know that.
Sure, many of them touch on these topics – some of them even do an admirable job of it. But if you read, listen or watch news from enough outlets, you’ll start to see way more talk about wins and losses than is healthy.
It’s as if that’s the only way that some media can understand to report on a ball team. And, honestly, that’s kind of sad. There are a ton of important, interesting Cubs stories out there this season, and we’ve tried our best to bring them to you here at Midway Madness.
Unfortunately, sometimes I can’t help but feel like we’re a lone wolf in that endeavor – or at least part of a really small pack.
Follow me on Twitter @MidwayJME