Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fetishizing the Past

Over the years, I have become increasingly frustrated with the mainstream media's sports coverage. Among other offenses, they constantly try to convince us that the players from the days of yore are vastly superior to the stars of today. "Sure Roy Jones was great, but if he had to fight in Sugar Ray Robinson's era...". "Yeah he has 500 HRs, but nowadays the pitching today is so thin". "Shaq didn't have to play the great centers; Russell, Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar." If the NHL still existed, they would probably be telling you that the modern hockey player could not have played with Gordie Howe.

Please do not believe them. They are mainly middle-aged gentlemen (and older) romanticizing the heroes of their youth and by extension their own histories. We all go through this universal phenomenon. As doting little fanboys, we were so awestruck by professional athletes that they appeared immortal. We ignored their shortcomings and celebrated their achievements, as if they were our own. Conversely, as we become more jaded and our capacity for critical analysis develops, we focus more on the negative aspects of sports and the athletes that play them.

Ten year old Tremont still thinks Don Mattingly is the greatest first baseman in the history of baseball. Fortunately, 27 year old Tremont realizes that 10 year old Tremont was a semi-regular bed wetter and thought that Jones from the Police Academy films represented the absolute zenith of comedic performances. In short, I recognize that 10 year Tremont was a ninny, whose opinion should be ignored as if it were the NHL (Two shots at NHL in one column!).

Unfortunately most people, sports reporters included, are incapable of reevaluating strongly-held lifelong beliefs. If they could, the Twin Towers would still be standing and statements like this would prevent one from becoming the POTUS. I'm not going to be able to change that. However, I will use this little forum to make sure irrational arguments do not go unchallenged. Periodically, I will highlight a particularly egregious column fetishizing the past and do my best to convince you of its absurdity. Expect the first such post by the end of the week. And I promise Vol. III of the A-Rod Apologete this weekend. For real this time.

11 comments:

Pablo said...

Hey, maybe you could start the analysis of irrationality with a look at guys on sports blogs who compare wistfulness for old athletes with the impetus for acts of terrorism that kill 3000 people.

(Or was that attempt at symmetry just the ten-year-old Tremont writing?)

Greg Ostertag Body Spray said...

How did our blog suddenly turn into the Daily Kos? You are about 20 years late with the Bush Sr. bashing. CLAM CHOWDAH!!!

Mookie said...

Brilliant column Tremont. Keep them coming. Chilax Pablo

Mookie said...

Pablo, he was just showing an extreme example of what happens when you are unable to re-evaluate your belief system throughout life. I think you should take some reading comprehension courses.

Greg Ostertag Body Spray said...

I fail to see any correlation between Bush Sr. lashing out against Athiests and Bob Ryan thinking Bill Russell was the best center of all time. It is the most absurd analogy I have ever read. Furthermore, are we really prepared to start attacking religion and politics on this blog. Last I checked it was supposed to be about the "irreverent and irrelevant".

Also, I think it is pretty irresponsible to attack Pablo's reading skills just because he is a Mexican.

Mookie said...

Though not the focus of the blog or the original post, attacking religion and politics falls under irreverent. Secondly, the Bush Sr. example is designed to show what happens when people hold too rigid on their beliefs. Though it is deemed a dirty phrase there is really nothing wrong with "flip flopping" if you see the error in your ways.

Greg Ostertag Body Spray said...

I spelled Atheist wrong.

Tremont said...

GOBS,
Although I would like to bury this issue, your reaction to one sentence that I wrote did infinitely more to turn this into a religious/political blog than all of my SYHD posts combined.

Greg Ostertag Body Spray said...

Fair enough. You are probably right. As I went back through and read all of our posts, I am realizing the absurdity of debating about this under the moniker "greg ostertag body spray". Somehow I don't think anyone will confuse me with Lincoln and/or Douglas.

Anonymous said...

Can you give an analysis of delusional Yankee fans that fetishize the PRESENT?? I would love to read your take. Thanks in advance!!

http://crosstownrivals.blogspot.com/2006/04/2-goat.html

There has never been a question about the greatest ballplayer of all time. Some would argue hit machine Pete Rose. Some would say old greats like Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays fit in the argument too. Revisionists might throw in Barry Bonds or, if you're Peter Gammons, Nick Swisher or Scott Hatteberg. But in my mind there exists no doubt that the greatest player ever rests in a Manhattan townhouse that once also housed Jordanna Brewster, Mariah Carey and whoever else he dated. My eighth grade history teacher, a Red Sox fan, even described him as a "quality interracial ballplayer." The greatest player ever slots in between second base and third base every night for the Bronx Bombers. His name be Derek Jeter and there exists not enough server space on Blogger.com to do him justice in words. Let me begin: he has a .314 career BA. Beauteous, and, add that to a .389 OBP, the man is a god. Not to mention, he plays defense. He made that catch where he had to go headfirst into the stands, throwing cautions to the wind, the fearless leader did what he does best. And for all you naysayers, he could not have stopped nor could he have braced himself. Have you forgotten that relay he made to nail the fat and lazy Jeremy Giambi at the plate in Oakland? I can see it all coming back to me. Spencer's throw is off the mark, it will miss the cutoff man. OH MY GOD, here comes Jeter, with the backhand relay to Posada. Giambi is duck meat at the dish. What a beautiful play. I've never seen a better relay in my life. Jeter, also, in case you lived in a cave during the late 1990s, led the Yankees to four World Championships. How many did A-Rod win? Miguel Tejada? Ozzie Smith? Edgar Renteria? Cristian Guzman? Rey OrdoƱez? Cal Ripken? Bobby Crosby? That's what I thought. And who else has 142 postseason hits? No one, that's who. This guy is worth the price of admission himself. The one time I was fortunate enough to get great seats for a Yankee game, I was four rows behind home plate, and I called out to DJ. He turned around (so did Johnny Damon when I called to him, but that's another story for another time). The guy has charisma. All of these things combined don't even make him the greatest player ever. The beast is the total package: a 118 VORP in 1999 with a 180 million dollar smile.

Tremont said...

I can not argue that the article posted above is asinine. If you thought I would defend such foolishness, you are barking up the wrong tree.