Thursday, February 24, 2011

shameless promotion (2.0): Feb. 24, 2011

Editor's note: In the ongoing effort of this blog to get its primary author firedpromote the failingcareer of its primary author, we present to you this week's column from the St. Clair Times. One note: Last week there was no column, and this segment thus took off a week. As always, feel free to provide your own thoughts here, or find us on Twitter. We thank you in advance for feigning interest.
The trouble with the pros is that they are just too professional

A number of factors make professional sports simply not likeable.

Maybe the hardest part, though: They’re professionals.

Every decision made in the world of professional sport, whether it is about schedule, rule enforcement or salaries, ultimately comes from a business standpoint — “What decision will make our organization the most money?” It’s hard a thing for a fan of sports like me to understand.

(And here’s the part where you say, “Wait, aren’t you the same guy who religiously follows college sports? What part of this isn’t a business?” And you’re right, but please allow me to delude myself for a few more minutes about the amateur nature of things and pretend that my favorite players care about my school as much as I do. OK?)

Here’s the thing: Even though I don’t really enjoy pro football or basketball — I didn’t grow up with any attachment to any particular teams aside from the Atlanta Braves — I do like sports. And I like seeing them played at the highest level, particularly for the highest stakes (the playoffs, specifically).

Trouble is, it’s hard to pay attention to the action on the field when so much attention is now paid to what’s taking place in the boardroom. For every great moment the NFL had this season — and there were many, with the Packers’ Super Bowl title a crowning moment — everything was tempered by the looming threat of a work stoppage.

“Enjoy football while you can,” said just about everyone. “Who knows if we’ll have pro football next year?”

Basketball is no better — what should be a banner year for the league, with marquee franchises, marquee players and spectacular athletic achievements, is being clouded by its own labor strife. The NBA will almost certainly have a work stoppage in 2011, and it may extend until sometime after the Mayan apocalypse of 2012.

Wait … what’s happening here?

In the Harrison Ford version of “The Fugitive,” one of the investigators asks why someone as rich as Dr. Richard Kimble would want to kill his wife.

“She (his late wife) was more rich,” is the simple reply.

And this is where the average fan disconnects. Nearly all of us who care are willing to shell out ridiculous amounts of money to watch these games, have a drink and maybe even a platter of chicken fingers. None of us really cares if the NFL owners get an extra $1 billion in revenue in a new collective bargaining agreement, or whether the NBA owners can institute a harder salary cap to create more competitive balance. Really, don’t we deal with enough business talk during our regular lives? It has to infect our sports-watching, as well?

Here’s what we will care about: On Sundays this fall and this winter, will there be games to watch? Can I see my favorite team? My favorite player?

And if the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then we’ll find other things to do. That, my friends, is not good business. For anybody.

No comments: