Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thoughts while meandering

through a room which had the 9:30 AM ESPN Sportscenter on the television:

I. If you're an Orioles pitcher like Rob Bell, it's frustrating to have given up 9ish runs in only 2ish innings of work.

II. If you're an Orioles pitcher like Rob Bell, it's doubly frustrating to have given it up to a Texas Rangers(!?) line-up in which 7 of the 9 in the batting order could easily be playing in AAA Oklahoma City (and mostly were playing in OKC only a month ago). Consider these seven non-battle-tested line-up stalwarts:

  1. Marlon Byrd
  2. Jason Botts
  3. Nelson Cruz
  4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
  5. David Murphy
  6. Ramon Vasquez
  7. Travis Metcalf.
Excepting Saltalamaccia, every one of those guys has been in OKC for some part of this season, and every one is wet-his-pants thrilled to be in the majors now. Not only do they have damp pants, they still have Triple A grit behind their ears. This seven, together with Catalanotto and Ian Kinsler, ran off 30 runs. It was a riot led by OKC escapees. Even Murphy was in OKC about a week ago. Michael Young sat for a rest when the Rangers had about a 10 run lead, and Travis Metcalf replaced him for the final 20ish runs - including a grand slam on his first swing. Metcalf started that day on the OKC roster, and in a hotel in New Orleans. He caught an early flight for Baltimore, so he could join the Rangers.

III. If you're Rob Bell, it's triple frustrating because ESPN is so infatuated with the game. It's a slow sports week, and you can't get through an ESPN show without some lackey throwing gasoline on the hype, as the full highlight package runs in the background. The entire nation is now intimately familiar with Ramon Vasquez' patented home run stroke. It sucks to be an Orioles pitcher. Even after football season gets going good, ESPN will still have Rangers rounding the Baltimore bases in the Sportscenter lead-in montage. Cue the music.

IV. With Michael Vick departed, ESPN will raise Vince Young to Babe Ruth legendary status. I love Vince - but he's not good enough, yet, to justify this hype. It can only hurt him. He's too young and too ... um ... he's just too young to understand how meaningless and unimportant it is. The massive hype could ruin him. Or, it could cause him to never reach his full potential.

It's hard to allow Norm Chow to tweak you and tune you when you cannot get a hamburger without seeing yourself aggrandized on a restaurant telecast of Sportscenter. You think to yourself:

Norm Chow is paranoid. I'm Vince Young! Look - I'm on TV again - coast to coast - for the 30th time today, the 100th time this week, and the 10,000th time this season. Norm worries too much. I'm fine. I'm ready. I'm Vince Young!
Soon enough, you get sloppy in your conversations and your interviews, and teammates notice it and roll their eyes. Next, because you are VINCE YOUNG, and therefore your team's losses must be your teammate's faults, you kinda sorta definitely interview-blame your teammates for a loss. It seems like nothing to you - but such a thing is actually a HUGE faux pas. Suddenly your career success is a bad bet - instead of the good bet it once was - and you don't even know it, because your image is still dominating most episodes of Sportscenter, and television idiots are still hyping the bejesus out of you in order to increase their ratings amongst the tricky Males 17-24 demographic. Yet: you think it's because you are the reincarnated - no, wait: BETTER than the reincarnated football Michael Jordan. You are 23 years old. How could you think anything else?

And it's all b/c that danged Michael Vick started dogfighting, and b/c ESPN is infatuated with QBs who can run like the wind, and they don't have Michael Vick highlights to hype anymore, and they need to sell advertising to companies with the hots for Males 17-24. You are a marketing asset for ESPN and the NFL, and you've no idea that - while IT IS about about your talent - it IS NOT about your being a championship quality QB. You've still got a ways to go in that area, yet you cannot see through the hype to the truth. For you: the hype is more dangerous than free safeties and zone blitzes. Your career could begin heading towards the trash can - slowly at first, then all at once. Look at Michael Vick: his QB career was completely stunted - stopped dead at "mediocre" - yet not one Male 17-24 ever knew it - including Michael Vick. Bad luck for you, Vince Young. Rotten luck. Like being an Orioles pitcher.

Hype sucks. And so does ESPN.

link to: Arlington vs. OKC

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