September 01, 2015

Sports fans and what's wrong with online commenting

First, re this blog post about the "dreamy" Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and players of his buying "dreamy" T-shirts — I made a comment there that I don't pay for such things. When I got thumbed-down a lot quickly, I made a capitalism comment, which got thumbed down more.

(Update, Sept. 1: I am calling out "Historiophiliac" as that commenter, as she's now called me a "grand jury truther" on this blog post, also at Hardball Talk, about Shoeless Joe Jackson. I'm doing that even more to call out commenter "Reflex," who seems like an online bully, a black-and-white thinker, and a black-and-white psychological "projectionist," referencing the psychological issue of projection.)

I then noted it was capitalism, not just consumerism — that said, said respondent? Consumerism is part of capitalism; the more hypercapitalist a society is, generally the more hyperconsumerist it is.

I added that, even though I'm a Cardinals fan, and even though Mike Matheny was voted almost as dreamy as Ausmus, I wouldn't buy a St. Louis T-shirt like that, either.

And, in case it wasn't clear, I wouldn't buy a Nike, Apple, or Google T-shirt either. As I said, corporations (which pro sports teams are) should pay ME to wear their branded T-shirts or buy other branded tchotchkes.

At which point another commenter, whom I think was, say, 80 percent serious, called "tchotchkes" pompous. At the point a relatively common Yiddish word becomes pompous, we've entered the "30 days to expand your vocabulary" territory, at least.

Beyond that, a fair portion (don't know, won't currently guess, if it's a majority or not), illustrate well two things that are true about much of Internet commenting in general, and that are fairly related:
1. Seeing things in black-white terms;
2. Forming, and forming relatively quickly, "narratives" about people and issues.

Related to that, admitting you're wrong online never leads people like this to question their own degree of doing No. 1 and/or No. 2.

(Update 2, Sept. 1: A "sign of the apocalypse" related to all of this may be the fact that, while journalism in general seems to be dying, sports journalism is growing to the degree that universities now offer degrees in just that. [Per the story, instructors at such sites try to get would-be graduates to realize that actual sports journalism is about much more than fandom blogsites. We'll see how well that sticks.])

Related to that, on the narratives part, a "hater" there will do deliberately out of his way to misinterpret what I said on a post about Ichiro, described further in this blog post, to claim I was wrong in saying WAA is a more difficult stat than WAR, when that is rather perfectly true in the sense of WAA being more difficult to achieve points because it's comparison to a league-average "real" player, not a AAAA-level hypothetical replacement.

He went on to say:
At age 41 Clemente had already been out of the game for four years while Ichiro is still going.

This of course ignores that Clemente would have been dead four years before reaching a hypothetical age 41. He later claims that had Ichiro been in the US earlier, he would have played a full seven years, and easily passed Pete Rose on WAR.

Yeah, right. First, he would have played his first two US years in the high minors. Second, he would have probably averaged 4 WAR per year for the five additional majors years he would then have played (he averaged 6 WAR his first four US years at peak age of 27-30), which would have about exactly tied Rose, not massively surpassed him.

And, same commenter said Ichiro would have been as valuable as Ty Cobb.

Bullshit. Even with 20 added WAR points, he'd still have been 70 behind. I mean, playing in the dead ball era, Cobb has more career homers than Ichiro. What can you do with such entrenched baseball "brilliance" like that?

So, snark and even, occasionally, heavier sarcasm, is my way of dealing with such people without directly uttering online obscenities to them.  Beyond that, they're generally not worth more physical or mental effort.

The "tchotchkes" part ... especially griping about looking it up, rather than saying something like, "that was interesting looking it up," is a quasi-stereotyping hot take on many sports fans' broader intellect.

If you don't find the word useful, can't appreciate its je ne sais quoi (and won't look that up either) and are serious about pompousness, well, I can't help but see you as an anti-intellectual.

Beyond what I said above on consumerism and capitalism? The willingness to buy sports tchotchkes, or pay ever-accelerating ticket prices, cable TV prices, etc., illustrate both capitalism and tribalism.

I believe Juvenal called it bread and circuses, referencing the late Republic's Roman Senators' habit of buying off the populace. I'll bet they regret not living in a fully capitalistic world; they never knew that private corporations could have run the circuses, and jacked prices all they wanted.

I have my loyalty to particular sports teams, but when a reasonable profit becomes ever more hypercapitalistic, I ain't paying that piper.

Beyond that, the US has more than twice as much retail space per capita as even the UK.

That "bubble"? It's not subprime loans, subprime auto loans or similar. Rather, it's the whole US house of cards of hypercapitalism.

Of course, head blogmeister Craig, in wasting three blog posts in talking about the alleged silliness of MLB Rule 8.02 and the suspension of Will Smith (all while missing that Commissioner Corleone isn't following the rules himself with an eight-game suspension even though 8.02 stipulates 10) sometimes adds to the fun.


runrunkak said...

You assume, incorrectly I might add, that Ichiro would have played his first two U.S. years in the high minors. IMO, Ichiro would have broken in, ala Trout/Harper, in his age 20 season here in America, and probably would have gotten a cup of coffee in his age 19 season here in America. Ichiro played NINE years in NPB (not seven), already had two solid years in what is deemed NBP triple A in his age 18 and 19 seasons, hitting well over .300 both those years at that level, and got a cup of coffee both those years in the NBP. In his first full season in NPB, at age 20, he freakin' hit .385! .... 385!!! NPB is a hell of a lot tougher than AAA ball here in America, so if you don't think Ichiro would have been called up early in his age 20 season here in America upon hitting .385+ at AAA in first month of season, or would have began his age 20 season in MLB, you don't know baseball. You fail to make the assumption that scouts would have seen that Ichiro was an anomaly, with incredible bat control and blinding speed, and he would have flown through the minors like individuals named Trout, Harper and Pujols. Believe it or not, Ichiro had already probably lost a half a step by the time he arrived here in America at 27 1/2 years old, and he didn't become a true slap hitter until well into his mid 30's, playing in the most pitcher friendly park in MLB. If he played at Yankee stadium from the time he was 20 until now, he'd probably have 200+ homers and close to 4500 hits.

runrunkak said...

You incorrectly state that Cobb hit more homers in the dead ball era than Ichiro hit (113) in MLB. Cobb actually hit 50 of his 117 homers in the live ball era (1920 and beyond), and Ichiro probably would have hit over 150-200 homers had he played in a hitter friendly park for his entire MLB career (and perhaps 200-250 homers if he played in Yankee stadium from the time he was 20 years old). Additionally, IMO, Ichiro would have over 500 doubles, 100 triples, and 700+ stolen bases had he started playing 162 game schedules stateside at 20 years old.