Friday, October 25, 2013

Considering a no-watch policy

     This might be un-American, or un-Dominican, or un-Puerto Rican: I am boycotting the World Series. Again.
     The fact that the Boston Red Sox are in it could be a reason. Sure, I'm envious or -- as some of my friends suggest -- bitter. I didn't watch the Series in 2004 or 2007, but then I didn't watch it in '05 or '06 or '08 or last year, either.
     Those were all years when -- you might've guessed -- the New York Yankees weren't in the Series. I did make an exception in 2010 and 2011 because watching the Texas Rangers, our home-area team, in the Series was such a novelty.
     Truthfully, I didn't even watch much in '09 when the Yankees gloriously won the Series. Too nervous to watch, I followed -- closely -- by Gameday on Internet, then turned it on live when I knew the Yankees would win. Yeah, it's chicken.
     Fact is, I watch very little baseball on TV these days. Bet I didn't watch a dozen times this whole season, watched only a couple of games start to finish.
     Not that I don't care. I follow almost every Yankees game on Internet, check scores frequently, read a half-dozen stories every day. Heck, yeah, I care about winning -- and there wasn't enough of that this season.
     But my days of watching sports on television are diminishing. Used to be I almost never missed a championship event, in a number of sports.
      Now I miss more than I watch. I don't see many NBA and NFL games, and I'm selective about college sports, although I've probably watched more college football this season than in many, many years. Still enjoy watching golf, but not as much as I once did.
     And here is the reason I am watching team sports less and less, here is what I would tell the athletes: "I cannot even stand to look at you."
     (OK, so I borrowed this from -- to hear it told -- a Republican House member from Texas.)
     No, really, I cannot stand to watch how the players these days prance and preen and pose and -- biggest reason -- how they celebrate ... anything and everything positive.
     Seems as if it gets worse, more out of control, every year. It is very much a "see-me" world.
     High-fives and hugs are OK. Handshakes? Does anybody do handshakes anymore? These increasingly popular chest bumps are marginal. The "curtain calls" out of the dugout have become routine.
     Can't stand how batters pose at home plate when they obviously just hit a ball that is going to leave the premises of the playing field. Can't stand pitchers screaming after a strikeout or a big out. Really can't stand how the whole team gathers at home plate after a walkoff home run (or any walkoff win) and starts hopping around in a scrum. Then there are the pies-in-the-face routines, the tearing-off-the-jersey nonsense.
     And it doesn't matter when it is -- mid-April, late July, whenever, whatever -- these teams act like they've already won the World Series, rather than one regular-season game.
     Plus, now when the victories really do count -- division clinchers, wild-card clinchers, playoff clinchers -- the celebrations are totally out of sight, everyone wearing goggles and beer, champagne, whatever, being poured on everyone. They used to save the champagne for only pennant- and Series-clinching games.
The bearded Red Sox: Not everyone thinks it's so cool.
(Brad Penner/USA Today photo)
       I can extend my complaints to the fans. The rhythmic clapping on two-strike counts gets old, just like "the wave" has gotten old. Watching the towel-waving home crowds have become boring to me. Don't like looking at them.
       (I also cannot stand to look at the Red Sox's out-of-control bearded wonders, how classless they look, and I've been told by a friend, how classless they act in the dugout, starting with their beard-pulling shenanigans.)
       Do not mistake what I'm saying here. From a pure baseball standpoint, the Red Sox belong in this World Series because they had the best team in the American League all year. Bragging here, but I told my Yankees fans' group after Opening Day (when Boston won at Yankee Stadium) that they were a team that would be formidable.
       I'm talking about how the players look and act. Yes, I prefer the Yankees' "clean" look and I prefer athletes without bunches of tattoos ... and you can say that's an "old fart" attitude, and I will agree. Guess I need to take my "old fart" medicine.
       The Yankees, too, have had their tattoo guys and their guys who pull their jerseys out of their pants and who act goofy. We have A-Rod; everything he does has "self-involved" all over it. And the Yankees, too, do their team-hopping and pie-throwing after walkoff wins. Not many players act as civilized after victories as Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter did for years and years.
       Just like the Red Sox, the St. Louis Cardinals belong in this World Series. As in Boston, St. Louis is a baseball town and the Cardinals have a great following. They have become the model franchise of the past decade and they remind me of the better Yankees days.          
       In football, I can't stand the touchdown dances and the sack dances and the gyrations after any tackle-for-loss plays and defensive backs signaling "incomplete" after pass breakups and -- thank you, New York Giants of the mid-1980s -- the Gatorade/water bucket over the coach's head.
       I do watch selected NFL games, such as Broncos-Colts last Sunday night (because I like to watch Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck). But I have to stop watching the Dallas Cowboys and here's why: I am 0-3 watching them live this season; they are 4-0 when I tape the games and watch later.
       In basketball, it's the poses after a thunderous dunk or a spectacular blocked shot or a long-range "3" that really makes a difference. Even our man Dirk has his double "3" signal, and there was "Jet" Terry taking off on the runway, and Vince Carter revs up his motorcycle.
       (Although I don't watch much NBA, I do watch the Mavericks some because Beatrice loves them, watches as many games as she can, and so I need to familiarize myself with the team to be able to answer the 15 minutes of analysis I receive each morning after games.)
       Now ... college football. It bothers me that so many of the college kids act just like the NFL players after key plays -- or even routine ones. There are penalties, of course, for taunting (and that's OK with me), but I've seen LSU players get away with trash-talking several times this season.
       I'm using LSU here because that's the team I watch most.
       What's left me irritated most is to see an LSU defensive back break up a pass, wave his arms as if he's done something noteworthy, then give up a long pass play -- sometimes on the very next play. If you've watched the Tigers all season, you know they've given up a bunch of long pass plays or runs.
       Leaves me wondering if the LSU coaches talk to their players about these "see-me" moments.
       There is one college team that does very little showing off. Yes, Alabama. The head coach doesn't put up with it; you can see him talking to players when he feels they've crossed his line; sometimes he talks to them sternly, or beyond stern.  A few weeks ago, he sat out his best running back for the first quarter after a post-touchdown throat-slashing gesture the previous game.
       Alabama is about winning and behaving the "right" way as you do it, and you have to respect that.
       On the other hand, Alabama is not a team I want to watch win. If I watch at all.
       As for the Series, good luck watching. I'll read about it.
       Now about those "old fart" pills ...    


  1. From John Sturbin: Enjoyed this post, as I've watched the first two games of the World Series while cruising through other programs. Hell, if you're not a Red Sox or Cardinals fan, all you've got to do is tune into MLB Network and watch the postgame recap for anything of significance ... and save three-plus hours out of your life.
    As you might expect, I especially agree with the item about Red Sox and their beards. To me, they're simply saying we're the exact opposite of the Yankees.
    And I'm also tired of watching NFL players celebrating the fact they've made a tackle or broken up a pass ... although that hasn't been the case too often this season with my "struggling" New York Football Giants. And yes, the G-Men of the Bill Parcells Era did start the whole Gatorade bath ritual, with Harry Carson and Jim Burt the perpetrators on Tuna. Can you imagine the response if that had happened to George Halas or Paul Brown or Vince Lombardi or -- have mercy -- Tom Landry? Geez, the latter guy was dressed for church for just about every game (maybe with exception of the Ice Bowl).
    You didn't mention if you approve of Carl Edwards' signature back-flip off the door of his No. 99 Ford Fusion whenever he wins a NASCAR race. If you can do that without getting hurt, it ain't bragging.

    1. Gosh, I didn't mention NASCAR because I rarely watch. But if a guy races for three hours-plus at those speeds and wins a race, and can still do a backflip, more power to him. At least it's unique. ... However, I can do without the extensive "burnout" from the race winners. Season champion, well, maybe.

  2. From Tim Looney: I will not watch the classless Red Sox jerks. But I will be silently pulling for the Cardinals. ... From one old fart to another -- I agree 100 percent.

  3. From Lee Hiller: I agree 100 percent as well. You make a good play, that is what you are playing for. Go back up the floor or the huddle or whatever and continue doing what you are supposed to be doing, playing the game, not dancing around and looking up in the stands to see who is watching you.