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.