“Spring Training started!” I yelled out the window at the snow. ”Winter is over!”
But the snow was snow, and didn’t care at all. So, even though winter continues up north, down in Clearwater, the pitchers and catchers have reported.
What they have reported to is 52 degrees of pristine sunshine. While this isn’t the standard Florida paradise temperatures you’d expect, it’s a sip of divine ambrosia compared to whatever backwashed precipitation the heavens plan to drool on us next. But I crammed my bitterness into a filthy black snow ball and hurled it at you yesterday, so today will be a “Hal-Bodley-and-dogs-with-irritable-bowel-movments” free zone.
Let’s start with some journalism! Here is a news story. And here is a news story. Both are about the Phillies. Both appear in columns for major news outlets in Philly (the first is the Inquirer, the second is the Daily News).
STORY # 1: “Phillies Notes: Progress for John Mayberry Jr.”
This is news. This is helpful. This gives us information, data, and updates on a young player in the Phillies organization who is not only skilled enough to have already gotten a roster spot and seen playing time last year, but will no doubt be a part of the future somewhere along the line. Great. Let’s read this article, because as Phillies fans, we will appreciate the window into information that we otherwise may not have become privy to.
STORY # 2: “Paul Hagen: How Romero’s Injury, Martinez’ Arrival Impacted Phillies’ Season”
First of all, the first part of the headline is the writer’s name. That’s idiotic. He is not the news story. He is the writer of the news story. For all intents and purposes, his name is unimportant to the rest of the article, and should appear underneath, like any journalist who doesn’t have a giant poster of himself naked and giving a thumbs up over his bed. Not that Paul Hagen has that. I mean, maybe he does. I don’t know him.
But that’s really unimportant. What’s just spectacular about this article is that it takes the time to address it’s own pointlessness, right in the middle:
“While second-guesses and what-ifs some 3 1/2 months after the fact will do nothing to alter the reality that the New York Yankees took the Phillies out in six games of the World Series last fall, it’s grimly intriguing to wonder how the result might have differed if just those two situations had been reversed.”
No. No, it’s not “grimly intriguing.” Being “grimly intrigued” is why people slow down to gawk at car accidents.
Paul Hagen, if you don’t mind (and I’m sure you do, because I would), I’m going to do an uncredited rewrite of your introduction to this article.
“As a new season of Spring Training begins, and baseball journalists the world over recall memories of typewriters and trains, a newer, slightly altered Phillies team gears up for what will in all likelihood be the next exciting World Series run, let’s take a look back at the heart-shattering loss we suffered at the hands of the worst team to lose to in baseball. Because, ladies and gentlemen, nothing gets you back on the horse like re-living, with careful analysis, the very trauma that knocked you off in the first place. Again.”
It’s not that I’m against learning from the past, I just think this is probably the dumbest possible time to bring up the topic of a World Series loss… right at the beginning of our next chance to win. ”I know you’d like to win this year, guys, but remember last year, when you didn’t ? Ha, ha. Ha.”
Whatever. I ain’t got no journalism degree so maybe I’ve been doing this all wrong from the get-go. I did spend a paragraph yesterday talking about dog poop. That’s a tough sell on a Phillies website.
Tickets went on sail! The temperature this afternoon shot up a bit after the sun came out! Water was pouring off the roofs as the snow melted! The Phanatic’s hugging people again! The Mets… ha ha ha… sorry, I actually laughed at my computer screen as I typed this… The Mets are being devoured by their own fanbase! The first Spring Training game is March 4!
There we go. Nice and positive.