On Your Marc: 1/10

Too much time, too many issues

Politics and sports have more in common than you might think

By Marc Katz

So, we’re going with an extension of the presidential campaigns, all negative.

What went wrong with 2016? What didn’t, except for maybe the Cubs? Let’s face it: the Cubs win the World Series less often than Halley’s comet appears.

In real negative Dayton-area sports news, UD didn’t make it past a first-round NCAA game against what was considered a weak Syracuse team. Wright State answered by firing its coach, Billy Donlon, off a 22-13 season.

The Reds finished last, but didn’t lose 100 games. Their Class A affiliate Dayton team almost did lose 100 games (out of 140 played), but continued to entertain a record number of fans.

Hara Arena closed.

The Bengals—well, they didn’t disappoint us in the first round of the playoffs. They didn’t even make the playoffs.

Ohio State’s football team? Let’s not go there. It was just another season to me. It’s not what made 2016 bad or good.

What was wrong with 2016 are the same things that were wrong with 2015, and 2014, and 2013, and as far back as you want to go with what has become a 24-hour news cycle. It has ruined (OK, partially ruined) politics and sports.

It turns out, 24 hours is not enough time for you and me to get done what we have to get done in any given day, but it’s way too much time for anyone in the news business. How many stations does ESPN have now? I know it’s more than two, but I’m starting to use fingers and toes. Which stations give you scores? Um…they all think they’re taking the place of Johnny Carson. Remember him? He was the king of late night. Now, we have three kings of late night. Or four. Is it five or six?

And all that hollering during the election cycle? It’s a replay of any sports-related talk show, difficult to watch but not as difficult as watching humans blow themselves up along with innocent bystanders.

The world has become more violent. In the real world, terrorists behead their opponents. In sports, coaches are fired and players released.

There’s a reason for everything and no answers for the questions asked. There are two blondes on the political talk shows all the time; I click off as soon as I see their faces or hear their voices.

In sports? My gosh, baseball players strike out and football players fumble and basketball players foul out.

Who’s perfect here? Will my wife please put down her hand and stop waving.

So, this is about three years ago, and I’m listening to ESPN radio in the car and a decent sportscaster—I forget who it was—is ranting about how we expect too much of our sports heroes. And I’m thinking this is a good start to a good point.

He says some of us don’t like Peyton Manning because he didn’t win enough Super Bowls, and it shouldn’t matter because he was one of the all-time great quarterbacks.

And he says some of us don’t like Tiger Woods because of some of the stuff he did off the golf course, but he was one of the all-time all-timers, and we should honor him forever about that and not talk so much about the other stuff.

And he goes through a list of about seven athletes—including LeBron James (who never wins enough)—and says we should celebrate how good they are and not always harp on their failures.

By now, I’m screaming at the radio. I’m saying, “It’s you, you dope. You and yours (and some of my fellow columnists) rant and rave about all that’s wrong with an athlete. No matter how many touchdown passes are thrown, the first interception is the end of the world.”

No sooner do I say this to a radio that can’t hear me, than the guy who says we’re too hard on our athletes for not being perfect wants to know what’s wrong with Rick Nash, the New York Rangers’ forward acquired from Columbus to get the Rangers in the playoffs.

Feat accomplished. Only now (this is three years ago), Nash has gone about seven games in the playoffs without scoring. And the commentator wants to know what’s wrong with him.

Talking heads have ruined politics and sports. Sure, I still listen and watch some of the shows. But I also remember the day when games ended at 9:30 p.m., news was finished at 11:30 p.m., and networks shut down at midnight.

Here’s the score. Deal with it. If you need more reasoning, a good columnist or two will give it to you.

I could go for some of that again, especially in sports.

The views and opinions expressed in On Your Marc are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes.

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Columbus-born Marc Katz had a 44-year newspaper career, 41 of those years covering sports, 40 of them at the Dayton Daily News. He now blogs at KatzCopsNSports.com. Reach Dayton City Paper sports writer Marc Katz at MarcKatz@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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