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August 5, 2005 -- IT'S too easy to blame the media for everything. But that's the media's fault, too.
Look at the big stories daily slithering out of NFL training camps. They're the same old stories, the same old new-age garbage. It's the same old junk that the media first sells. Then condemns. Then sells some more.
What did Terrell Owens do and/or say today, as if anyone with even a modicum of self-esteem should, by now, care. How 'bout his agent, Drew Rosenhaus? Did he do any fresh chest pounding, or did the network have to resort to day-old footage?
Randy Moss is bragging on himself — again. He's so good, the Vikings, after years of kissing his fanny, could no longer indulge him. But all it takes is a few self-smitten words from this creep and he becomes a lead story — again. And he's got a new Hummer that costs more than most readers/viewers make in three years. Cool!
Ricky Williams seems willing to give football another shot. How nice, although hemp futures must be down. And Jeremy Shockey, always a threat to turn an 8-yard catch into a 15-yard misconduct penalty, has a new tattoo!
Aren't selfish people neat?!
Then we will ask from where these athletes got their inflated sense of entitlement. The media ensure that such folks don't live on the same planet as the rest of us, then wonder where on earth they got it from. The sports media now specialize in abandoning common sense. Then, after it's too late, the same media demand to know whatever happened to common sense.
Then it's back to work, pumping up all the worst acts while breathing inspiration into new ones.
Manny Ramirez last week said, "I'm here to win. I'm here to help this team win in 2005." That, nationally reported by the Associated Press, was that. But Ramirez's claim was preposterous. He's another star who insists he only cares about winning but isn't much for running to first base.
It's like Mayor Bloomberg and New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein decrying the epidemic of murderous young street gangs. Yet they happily pose for photos with P. Diddy, the gangsta rap impresario and gang culture promoter/profiteer whose friends, associates and competitors have a nasty habit of winding up in prison, if they're not shot dead.
But making heroes out of people who keep taking us lower would not be possible if common sense, when applied by the media, were not always applied after it's far too late.
In March, instead of Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen wasting time telling us how his kid is a big fan, he should have asked Rafael Palmeiro to explain why in 1992, at the age of 27, he hit 22 HRs in 608 at-bats, and in 2002, at the age of 37, he hit 43 HRs in 546 at-bats.
If only Suzyn Waldman spoke to us a little less as a never-in-doubt authority, her dubious moments would be easier to suffer. Sunday she asserted that Andy Phillips is a good, men-on, close-game sub because "the one thing you know is that he'll make contact." At the time, Phillips this season with the Yanks had struck out 10 times in 26 at-bats, including five times in one game.
ESPN's self-promotion has become so relentless it doesn't know when it's making a fool of itself. During "SportsCenter's" 50 states/50 days feature, Rhode Island was addressed. In a short list of historical facts about the state, ESPN noted that Rhode Island was host of the first X-Games.
John Sterling, the "Voice of the Yankees," is now heard in radio ads giving his personal stamp of approval to an on-line poker site. If Sterling plays poker the way he calls Yankees games, he often sees two pair as a full house.
According to Fran Healy's postgame report, the big story from yesterday's 12-9 Mets loss to the Brewers at Shea was Mike Piazza: "Five RBIs!"
Given that John Daly eats, smokes, gambles, drinks and marries to excess, reader Steve Palumbo writes to ask why TV's golf commentators explain Daly's popularity as being "a man of the people?"