Media guilty of George Steinbrenner syndrome
Not even exhibition games can escape
Good morning, all. I hope your week is off to a terrific start.
Either our media has adopted George Steinbrenner syndrome or the late New York Yankees owner was ahead of his time. Major League baseball’s exhibition season is underway and the various media outlets, covering the first two games, are playing up the contests as if the entire season was on the line.
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Highly prized Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe had one good game and a website devoted to the club has the Yankees needing to make a tough decision on their next shortstop. That website could have Volpe in the Hall of Fame by next week. On Monday, the Boston Red Sox hosted the Minnesota Twins at Ft. Myers and the telecast was being advertised as “A Grapefruit League Rivalry for the Ages.” For the ages! Who knew?
One club lost its first two exhibition games and social media had its followers proclaiming the season is over. I could target other examples, especially by the media, desperate for clicks on their websites, but I am reminded of Steinbrenner. In his heyday, the owner was criticized by the media for adopting a football mentality in a sport that had a 162-game season. And forget about it, if the Yankees lost an exhibition game to the crosstown rival Mets. Heads would roll. Today, the Steinbrenner mentality infiltrates all media platforms.
A buzzer beater in basketball turns into an “epic” game. Words such as legendary and acronyms such as GOAT are tossed around like candy. It seems nothing is placed in perspective. I know I wrote somewhat about this topic in last week’s newsletter but with social media now in its prime, I am seeing more of this “coverage.” This approach, more than anything, has become amusing to me, as a media which criticized Steinbrenner’s blueprint has now adopted it hook, line and sinker.
As the San Diego Padres are about to extend Manny Machado’s contract 11 years at $350 million, I could not help but place things into perspective. On this date in 1970 the New York Mets signed ace pitcher Tom Seaver to a new contract for that season at $35,000. The number two pitcher in the rotation, Jerry Koosman, was given a new deal at $25,000. They were each awarded a $10,000 raise for pitching the Mets to the 1969 World Series title. Amazing.
You can make a case today’s players are overpaid, although they are paid what ownership is tacitly saying it can afford. But there is no doubt, examining the Seaver and Koosman salaries, that back then, players were underpaid. Seaver and Koosman are examples why the MLBPA rose to the strongest sports union in the USA and is not about to give up the power it has earned.
Much ado about nothing
MLB’s exhibition games are featuring the new rules that will highlight the 2023 season, such as pitch clock, batters staying in the batter’s box, larger bases, pickoff attempts, limited shifts, etc. After one weekend, social media and MSM websites are exploding with criticisms over the changes, designed to speed up baseball games that under the old rules moved along at the pace of watching paint dry.
Again, the Steinbrenner mindset is at play, rushing to conclusions after a very short sample. I can tell you, having broadcast minor league games, where these rules have been in place for the last two seasons, and the pitch clock, which has been around for I believe 10 years, these changes are no big deal. The batters, position players and pitchers will adjust. In fact, some of these players have played under these rules in the minors.
As for the Red Sox-Braves game that ended with a batter committing a violation by not getting in the box with eight seconds left on the pitch clock and being called for an automatic strike that turned out to be strike three, I never saw a minor league game end that way and I can assure you the baseball poobahs will examine this and never allow a major league regular season game to end this way.
Trust me. These rules changes will benefit the game and the fan experience. No need to rush to judgement.
That is it for this week’s newsletter. As always, thank you for your support and have a terrific week.