Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The MSM Isn't All Bad

It's no secret that some of what we write here is trying to fill the void in a post-FJM world. We're not as clever as they are, but it still makes the wound of their disappearance a little less painful (at least for us) if we apply our own distaste for the awful sports journalism out there to snarky rips of their pieces.

That said, it's not like the media is always awful, and sometimes I feel the desire to point out when it's not. This almost came true the other day when I thought of breaking down an article from quite possibly the worst writer of the bunch admitting to becoming an amateur sabermetrician. I'm not about to admit I like his stuff, but proof of an open mind is none-the-less appealing (as is a step towards getting the casual fan to understand the value of some of the simpler metrics out there).

In that same vein, I'd like to post this statement from Rangers TV play-by-play man Josh Lewin. I actually like Lewin as an announcer because he seems to know his stuff better than most, and he just plane makes exciting moments more exciting (I'm part of the Gus Johnson Apologists Club, by the way). Still, he has a habit -- which is probably dictated from above -- of going on tangents that often ignore the play on the field and are of little interest to serious baseball fans. He spends quite a bit of time talking about boring, fluffy stories, and repeating things like "Michael Young and Vernon Wells are best friends" every inning. That stuff isn't wrong, and, as Lewin points out below, probably called for and not directed at the audience I belong to, but it is still annoying at times. In a discussion thread at Lone Star Ball, Rangers fans decided to unleash some of their anger at being no-hit by Shaun Marcum for six innings on Lewin and his tangents and fluff trivia.

Lewin then signed on to Lone Star Ball today and posted this response, quoted below. I link to it without further commentary because I think it speaks volumes by itself. It explains, in a way, what we hard core baseball fans probably need to hear about broadcasts, and also shows how honest, human and stand-up some of these media men we criticize can be. It's also just plain cool to see a minor celebrity has the time and impetus to go out of his way to address fans.

Hey Gang...

Just thought I'd check in and express a couple thoughts to you.

As a big fan of this site, one of the simple pleasures after a Ranger game for me is to pop a beverage, turn on MLB TV and scroll through to see what true blue (or red) Ranger fans are thinking... it's something my kids do with me on occasion as well (sans the beverage), which is what prompted me to write this post...

PLEASE PLEASE understand that the broadcast has to serve a wide cross-section of viewers. For now there are way, way, way more casual baseball fans than die-hards, and we have to do our best to throw everyone a little morsel of what it is they want. Believe me, I'm aware that the die-hards don't need all the frivolity and BS to keep 'em eyeballed in for three hours... there are probably a good thousand of you who live and die with every pitch, and no doubt, y'all are the most important fans the Rangers have. But for the 7,999,000 other people in the DFW area, I have to be mindful that they aren't as keyed up or clued in as you guys... we are casting a wide net trying to get as many Texans as possible to start giving a darn and learning the game.

Anyway, that's my cross to bear and I understand those of you who hate that dynamic and want to rail against the injustice of it all... the only thing I ask-- gently and nicely -- is to keep in mind that indeed, there are kids reading your posts as well as adults. My kiddos and I both know that public figures (and kids of public figures) need to have thick skin, but still, words like "douchebag" kind of cut to the core. I'm not here to lecture or censor, but I just wanted to put that out there.

Meantime, I humbly promise I will do my level-best not to be douche-baggy to the best of my abilities... I take my assignment as Rangers TV Voice very seriously, and want to give an A-plus performance every night. But please know that there will be some times that I will, indeed, cater to the casual fans for a half an inning, and/or say something pretty freaking stupid that makes you want to throw something at your TV. I apologize in advance for those times, but I also promise that when the game's 4-4 in the 9th (as it gloriously was yesterday) you will get a spot-on call of all that's going on. Even casual fans don't need any whoop-de-doo when it's 4-4 in the 9th!

Ok, I'm out... back to enjoying the posts and the growing fever for Ranger baseball... but I just wanted y'all, the diehards, to know what's in my heart.

Best wishes and Go Rangers--


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