Sunday, February 20, 2011

Attention Globe Sports!! The Root Word of "News" is "New"

In a series of questionable decisions, Dan Shaughnessy decided to write and the Globe decided to publish a column in which the Red Sox, media, and fans were mocked for expressing optimism in spring training. This is like making fun of water for its wetness, heavy metal music for being loud or ice cream for tasting good. Scorning the obvious is about as pointless as it gets.

Of course everybody's optimistic in Fort Myers. For one thing, the team is loaded. It may be boring to write "hey, Sox roster full of good ballplayers" every day, but it is accurate.

On the meta-level, optimism is what spring training is FOR. I covered a lot of spring trainings, and went to the camps of a lot of ballclubs that every sentient being knew were going to be terrible in the season to come (second-year Devil Rays, anyone?) and everyone there was optimistic, too. They had to be. Spring training exists to build optimism. It's the emotional equivalent of those NFL offseason weight-training programs.

Since there's so much failure in baseball, so many losses, so many outs, optimism is the game's primary survival mechanism. Players couldn't function without it. Managers would turn to drink even faster than the historical norm without it. Most important of all, spring training optimism is an economic survival mechanism, or at least an attempt at one. If a franchise doesn't act like things look good in February, advanced ticket sales for July will look very poor indeed.

It's no secret how I feel about spring training. It's a pleasant ritual I found very hard to write about because every day is the same and every spring training is the same, now and forevermore. Once I figured this out, and also figured out that baseball fans like it way, and would be distraught if spring training ever changed in any meaningful way, I began lobbying to cover other things. It's not like other sports stop in February and March.

May I suggest that if Dan finds the most fundamental purpose of spring training to worthy of ridicule, he may have run his course with this particular news (non) event? Nothing wrong with that. Being snide about a (non) event a columnist would consider quitting if ordered to miss? Plenty wrong.


At 11:01 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I dunno. Complaining about an idiotic CHB (Curly Headed Boy) column is like complaining about an optimistic spring training. Like shooting fish in a bottle. I stopped reading his columns years ago, as products of a lazy intellect and bitter personality. Ugh.


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