As the House Republicans roll out their budget cuts there has been some consternation over the Corporation for Public Broadcasting being on that list. While this cut would be essentially meaningless in a budgetary sense, it is a great sacrificial lamb for their bloodthirsty supporters. Most of the vitriol comes from the notion that Public Broadcasting is biased against the Right. Anyone who has actually listened to the news programs will find this far from true.
Unlike broadcast and cable networks, I find that PBS and NPR offer the most balanced view of issues and discuss these issues with THOUGHTFUL people on either side of an issue. No you don’t get the Anthony Wieners of the world, or a Beckian nut-fest, but you do get an actual adult conversation and exchange of thoughts during most programming. I’m sure most of the people who work in Public Broadcasting lean left, but they do a commendable job of balancing their news and interview shows.
Another concern of those on the Right is the inclusionary children’s programming. How dare anyone teach children to accept people for who they are? What kind of sick people would do that? We all know how dangerous Snuffaluffagus is and that damn Sid the Science kid teaching kids how to think logically, this dangerous indoctrination must be stopped.
All that said, I really do not think the government should be funding public broadcasting. From what I understand, only a small portion of Public Broadcasting money comes from the government. If this is the case then it should be relatively easy to find other sources of funding, especially with the popularity of the children’s and documentary programming.
For many years the belligerent drunks of the world dominated live sporting events. While they were a minority of the crowd they certainly made the experience of going to the game completely unbearable. Over the past decade or so, since the stadium boom, teams have slowly pushed the vociferous losers who start fights and berate normal people.
I used to go to quite a few games in my teens and early twenties but quickly grew tired of scumbags wanting to fight and running off a constant stream of expletives while annoying most of the people around them. Recently the games I’ve attended there has been a drastic reduction in the crazy behavior and it is much more family and sane human being friendly. My assumption is that the investment teams and cities (mostly cities) have made into new facilities has forced them to charge more and cater to a better client base. By better I do not mean wealthier, I simply mean families and businesses.
Corporate clients are not going to give away tickets to a customer only to risk them being berated and assaulted. There is no room for that in the current sports world. As and example, I was at a Phillies game a couple weeks ago (Jamie Moyer’s 2 hitter) and was sitting behind the visitor dugout. about two rows in front of me was a “gentleman” who from the second he sat down was yelling borderline material at the Braves. In his mind he was funny and entertaining, I assure you he was not. Eventual he figured out that a woman a few more rows up was the sister of the braves pitcher, so of course he begins to harass and bother her. This lasted about an inning before she contacted security. He was rightfully moved not kicked out and the incident was done. If this was ten years ago he would have been held up as a hero and cheered but mostly people just looked away from him as he left and there was a security presence the rest of the game to make sure none of his boys pulled the same thing.
The crackdown on idiocy is a great thing in my eyes. I now look forward to going to games and will be looking at plans for two teams next year. The pro sports leagues have gained a new customer in me by creating a much safer and cleaner atmosphere to enjoy the game I hope the trend continues well into the future.
So the evil Yankees are back in the World Series and the debate about large market dominance in baseball has fired up again. Living between NY and Philly I have seen both sides of the issue. Until the last 5 – 7 years, the Phillies pretended to be a small market franchise and of course the Yankees are the bully many people love to hate. Personally, I think this is one of the best, most competetive eras of baseball and that a salary cap would ruin the game like it has ruined the NBA and NHL. I would also argue that the NFL is not better because of the cap but the popularity of the sport itself overruns any detriment the cap may cause. In the NFL the only players that really matter are the QB’s, everyone else is expendable. Baseball is much more player driven and thrives on the accomplishments of superstar teams and superstars.
MLB has a revenue sharing agreement and while it is not as extensive as the NFL it does help to balance the playing field. Now, what small market teams decide to do with the money they receive from the teams that generate massive revenues is truly the problem. Some teams, like the Pirates this year, chose to dump payroll and just collect that fat check from MLB. Others like the Rockies and Twins have invested in their farm systems and a few key midrange free agents. Plenty of small and medium sized markets have won over the years, it’s the team that don’t compete on a consitent basis that cause any percieved disparity. MLB is far more competitively balanced than the NFL or NBA right now.
There are a few MLB teams that just need to be moved or folded. The towns they are in do not support them, even when they win. Also just because a market was viable 90 years ago does not mean it is now. The Pirates, for example, even with a new stadium do not draw enough fans to support a higher payroll. Even in the early 1990′s when they were a playoff team, the Pirates were only in the middle of the pack attendance wise. Why should any larger revenue teams continue to support a franchise that had a stadium half paid for by the public, still draws very small crowds and hasn’t had a winning season since 1992? The Rays are another example of a team to be contracted. They were in the World Series last year and couldn’t draw then or now. They have built a solid team that had a down year. If the city were going to support them they would’ve shown up last year or the beginning of this season, but that didn’t happen.
As far as competitive balance, the NFL is more imbalanced than ever. Half the games each week are match-ups between the hapless and the excellent. The bad teams may pop up and have a good year here and there but generally the same teams are at the top year after year. In the NBA it is almost impossible to get good unless you gut your team and hope for a great draft pick or dump salaries and sign one huge free agent. In baseball, however, even a team that dumps a salary at midseason can benefit with minor league talent. Also an MLB team can take a risk on a free agent without it hurting them five years down the road because of the cap. Is the MLB system perfect, no, but it is the best system for baseball.
There have been 10 different World Series Champions since 1995, 11 different Super Bowl champs in that time and only 7 different NBA champions. Clearly a cap is not all it is cracked up to be. Helping smaller teams through revenue sharing is important to keep leagues viable but a cap does nothing to increase competitive balance and possibly even hurts it. So stop crying about the Yanks and Sox and just be thankful that they support your teams by generating revenue and interest, because without them there would be no Pirates, Rays or Padres.
The MLB playoffs began last night and things pretty much went as expected. The Phillies acquisition of Cliff Lee may have been the best in season move this year. His complete game saved Manuel from having to roll the dice with his bullpen. There is no way you can trust Brad Lidge this post season, the man has lost it. I don’t know how they can win it all without a viable closer. You can’t have Lee and Hamels go nine every time out, it’s just not likely.
As for the Yankees Twins series, I have heard some complaining about the Twins being unfairly punished by having to play less than 24 hours later. Too friggin bad, don’t put yourself in a position to extend the regular season and/or win the game in regulation and this would be a lot less of a concern. The best record should be rewarded with some advantage, and if I’m not mistaken the Rockies went 15 innings in game 163 two years ago and went on to sweep the Phillies. There are no excuses in the playoffs get over it.