Baseball and the Media: How Fans Lose in Today's Coverage of the Game

Baseball and the Media: How Fans Lose in Today's Coverage of the Game

Baseball and the Media: How Fans Lose in Today's Coverage of the Game

Baseball and the Media: How Fans Lose in Today's Coverage of the Game

Synopsis

What sports fans read, watch, and listen to at home often isn't the real story coming out of the locker room or the front office. George Castle should know: he's covered baseball in Chicago for decades and witnessed the widening gulf between the media and the teams they're supposed to cover- and the resulting widespread misinformation about the inner workings of the game. In this book, Castle chronicles from the inside the decline of baseball reporting and shows in clear and practical terms how ill-served today's sports followers are by those they trust for the straight story.

Charting the path of a veteran sports reporter's career, Baseball and the Media traces the changes in baseball coverage from the days of the old-time players and scribes to the no-holds-barred (and no facts checked) sports-talk radio of our time. Along the way, Castle introduces readers to the politics of baseball media (does sports journalism actually have its red and blue states?), documents the transformation of athletes from role models to sports-media celebrities, including emblematic characters such as LaTroy Hawkins and Carl Everett, and illuminates the profound changes in the way sports in general- and baseball in particular- are conveyed to its avid consumers, who are the losers in the end.

Excerpt

Baseball is the eternal game, melding past, present, and future in a sport that never dies. in fact our oldest professional sport prospers after all the knocks it takes—labor disputes, greed, venality, management incompetence, and petty politics—through the decades.

No wonder we talk about baseball 24/7/52/365. the free-agent era brought the end of the off-season as traditionally perceived. But if truth be known, baseball fans never took a month or two off. We've always talked, debated, and argued baseball year-round, even if the news slowed to a trickle. We could always time-travel to some previous era to compare present achievers with those in the good old days, which often seem more glamorous in hindsight. Now the never-ending parade of player movement and related developments provide fresh fodder even during the traditional downtime between Christmas and New Year's. As a result, for sheer athletic entertainment value, the sport provides conversational grist and analogies for other parts of life like no other. Baseball terminology pervades so many facets of life, from politics to sex.

Measure its competitors—many say its superiors. the nfl is a white-hot focus of office-cooler talk when betting pools are set up on Fridays and settled on Mondays, sandwiched around the social event of sixteen Sunday games. in between, however, these amateur gamblers are not exactly talking up the merits of the slant play. Most who call themselves nfl fans probably could not name their favorite team's starting offensive linemen or top defensive reserves. “If gambling could somehow be outlawed, football would dry up,” sportswriter-pundit-turned-travel-writer Alan Solomon said around . . .

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