Friday, June 12, 2009

Ibanez is right, talk radio is wrong, and what the gull happened up there in Cleveland?

Mark Harris couldn't write this latest Royal's debacle. John R. Tunis would snicker if you told him this plot. Even W. P. Kinsella (read "The Iowa Baseball Conspiracy," or "Box Socials," if you can...) would say this is too fantastic even for magic realism.

The ball hits a gull in centerfield in the 10th. The local heroes lose.

Of course, this is why we watch, listen and read about baseball. As Yogi said, "In baseball, you don't know nuthin'. Something crazy, something you've never seen before, will happen. It's a game of almost stupefying regularity -- take the same swing every time, my hitting coach impatiently moaned yesterday -- punctuated by moments of zaniness.

Johnny Damon drops an easy fly ball in Fenway. Deion Sanders and Jose Canseco (interesting pair) get bopped in the head with fly balls. A reserve infielder comes in to pitch in a blowout game and retires the side one, two, three.

One thing about the Kansas City Royals remains consistent: Losing. Now, I think this is a better team. They'll go on another winning streak soon and they'll play well again in September. I'd be surprised in they didn't finish in the middle of the pack. But right now, as a team, they stink.

If you have a baseball heart, you have to hurt for Zach Greinke.

While I'm riffing here over morning coffee, allow me to veer seamlessly into the territory of talk radio. Before I could get the radio shifted over from the baseball station to music yesterday, I caught a few moments of two radio talkers talking about, what else?, talk radio. Actually, I think they were talking about Raul Ibanez and blogging and talk radio. The argument (if you can call it such) went something like this: "You listeners over 40 grew up with newspapers so you are conditioned to believe everything you read because if you read it, it must be right. Right?"

Pause here. Wrong. Nobody believes everything they read. Even in the golden age of newspapers, the effects of news stories were quite limited. You could look it up.

I'm still paraphrasing. I wasn't taking notes because I was busy trying to maneuver between parked cars, snap on my sunglasses, manage a cup of hot coffee between my legs and fumble with the radio at the same time.

"So, do you believe what you read on blogs? Do you trust what people say on this show? (Are you kidding?) I don't think, we were just going over this and we couldn't think of anything we've said here that proved to be wrong but..."

Finally got the cruiser out into traffic and the radio to music so I don't know where they went next. No doubt more self-aggrandizement.

But, interestingly, they had stumbled on one of the major issues of our media times. Call it the death of editing. Without editing, well, we have a couple of guys at the mike shooting off their mouths ... multiply that times a factor of thousands.

I've had my run-ins with editors and I've been known as difficult to work with (DTWW) on occasion. But editors have saved my reputation a few times, to say nothing of my ass, and I've never written anything that wasn't better shorter. (Is this post an example? Probably...) However, good editors are all that stand between good information and junk. We live in an age of overwrought speculation, media hotdogging and downright lies.

And the guy in his house slippers in his mother's basement knocking out his blog (I am still wearing house slippers, by the way, but I'm upstairs at the kitchen table) can say anything he likes to get attention. Then the radio talkers riff on it and suddenly, wham-o, it's a fact. Ibanez is right. More power to him, no pun intended.

I'll never forget a classic Royal's slump a few years ago and a guy who said his name was Roy who called one of the shows. To get his accent right you have to imagine the word "fire" spelled "far."

"Far 'em all," Roy said, as if god himself had dictated the solution, "and har some new ones."

Indeed. Could anyone understand major league baseball less? Well, a thousand yahoos are out there on open mikes all over the country, all day long, right now, trying their best. Ole Roy has plenty of competition.

-- Lofflin

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