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Monday, March 14, 2005

Media Idiocy, Spring Training Style

Must be spring training for announcers, too.

Yesterday on the Cincinnati Reds' broadcast from Sarasota, Reds announcer Marty Brennaman ripped a new orifice for outfielder Wily Mo Pena, questioning his commitment to the game because he let a fly ball go over his head. Meanwhile, Joe Randa--a nice white guy--threw a ball into right field, pitcher Matt Belisle didn't get anyone out, and catcher Jason Larue committed a passed ball. Brennaman said nothing critical about anyone but Pena. Maybe it isn't racism, but it's noticeable anyway. Brennaman is a cranky, "tell it like it is" guy, and that attitude doesn't always do it anymore.

Meanwhile in Lakeland, Tigers announcer Dan Dickerson--who's usually good--was all over center fielder Alex Sanchez, complaining that he wasn't swinging hard. ("That looked like a 'let's get this game over with swing.'") Dickerson should have--must have--known that the previous morning, Sanchez had returned from driving nonstop from Miami after reuniting with his mother and brother, who had just defected from Cuba. Perhaps a little bit of weariness on Sanchez' part could be excused.

Of course when announcers talk about players in an evaluative fashion, they are often simply relaying the beliefs of the front office. It's no secret that the Reds want Pena to improve his outfield play, and no secret that the Tigers think Sanchez needs to improve his on-base ability to stay in the lineup. But that doesn't excuse cynically pointing out someone's errors without pointing out the errors of others, and you can bet that if a well-liked white player had a family emergency, Dan Dickerson wouldn't have been ripping him if he looked a little tired a day or so later.


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