GOOD NEWS STARTS WITH A BALL AND A BAT

Where have all “the positive” stories gone? Didn’t there used to be “positive stories” on the news?

Actually, the answer to that is “not really.” Even in the better-than-now old days, when the world was a little bit less insane, and calamities weren’t a daily (hourly?) event, news media focused their efforts on evil-doers.

Drugs. Murder. Fire. Car crashes. Plane crashes. Derailment. Financial disasters. Trials. Protests. Scandal. More scandal.

Garry worked in the news from 1962 until he retired in 2001. He didn’t do a lot of “positive” stories. He did a lot of murders, trials, drugs, fires, and blizzards. The theory of news stations is that death and destruction sells best. If you don’t have death and destruction, scandal and political protests can take up the slack. If, by some miracle, you run out of scandal … well … maybe you can add a feature about glorious autumn leaves or the new, improved zoo. Maybe there’s a hero somewhere getting an award.

That’s not just the way it is. That is the way it was and has been, as long as there has been “news.”


News isn’t good. It should be called “bad news” since it pretty much always is. Bad, that is.

They used to say “if it bleeds, it leads.” Carnage makes news sell better. If you can scare people to death, your ratings are sure to go up. We complain about the awful things going on politically and climatically, but news ratings are way up. The worse things get, the higher ratings go. Even people — like us — who used to avoid watching news find we watch at least a piece of it every night because we have to at least keep up with change.

The only other thing that sells news as well as murder is extremely bad weather. If, by some extraordinary luck, you get terrible weather that also results in deaths, bet your ass every news channel will be on it like ticks on a dog.

It is interesting to me that the same people who complain about how we don’t have any “good news” on the news, also complain that sports are a waste of time. Because essentially, sports are the good news portion of the news.

The point of sports is to have something entertaining and involving which doesn’t include politics, ranting commentaries, and piles of bodies. For example, you can get fully engrossed in baseball for decades or your whole life. The most tragedy you are likely to experience is a bad shoulder injury by a winning pitcher, a losing home team, or maybe a scandal. Even the scandals rarely involve death or destruction.

I have learned to enjoy sports. I don’t come from a sporting family, though I know back in the very old days, we listened to the Dodgers on the radio and rooted for them. We weren’t fanatics, but we were interested. For the past couple of years, the Red Sox and the Patriots have brought smiles to our faces even when the rest of the world was in a state of siege.

Say what you want about “overpaid athletes.” You try throwing a fastball 90 feet to get the batter out at the plate. It may be a game, but it isn’t an easy game. I bet you couldn’t play it no matter how much money they offered you. They pay these guys a lot of money the same way and for the same reasons we pay actors, singers, dancers, and other performers a lot of money. Entertainment matters. Why do you feel a great pitcher is less deserving of being well-paid than a movie or television star? You mean … pretending to be a detective on TV is so much more validating than playing quarterback on a football team? Because being a fake detective is inherently more enriching than throwing a ball?

We pay entertainers — including athletes — a lot of money because they do things we can’t do and which we enjoy seeing. Because we need something in our world that is interesting, involving, and fun. A place in our universe where we can go and just enjoy it. Whatever it is.

This doesn’t mean that we aren’t interested in the arts. Or books, movies, music, television and other events humans enjoy when they aren’t fully absorbed in horrors of politics and war. But sports is more than just entertainment. It gives us something to root for. These days, we need that. I need that. I absolutely need something I can be “for” which isn’t life and death.

Sports has been our saving grace of the past few years as what used to be reality turned surreal — and sometimes became meaningless.

The next time you watch the news, consider that there is good news. It’s sports.

26 thoughts on “GOOD NEWS STARTS WITH A BALL AND A BAT

  1. The only newspaper I bother with is the local one, Swiss news is local with borrowed international news. I read it online. We have It delivered in subscription so also have access on the computer. I must admit I only read the obits. International stuff I get from the bbc news, also online. Good news no longer sells today it seems.

    Like

    • I don’t think good news EVER sold. Not as long as I can remember. And I’ve been living with people in the news business my entire adult life. Good news is stuff you tell your friends — email or Facebook or your blog or something. It isn’t something that makes News Directors percolate. They want murder — the more the merrier.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. While I am not a huge sports fan the two sports I do follow seriously, cricket and Formula One motor racing I enjoy largely because I get a kick out of rooting for my team or favourite driver. Of course there are times when my teams play badly and lose or my driver has bad luck and I happily yell at the TV or I go to a cricket match in Hobart with friends and we all wear purple and yell “Let’s Go Hobart, Let’s Go ” as loud as we can while doing a Mexican Wave. It does make you feel good inside and it doesn’t hurt anyone else. We all need that. I do also admire the skills of the players because I am totally uncoordinated and can barely catch a ball and I can’t drive a car to the shops let alone at 300 kilometres an hour.

    Like

    • Exactly how I feel. I’m no kind of born-again athlete, but I admire the skills and enjoy a bit of team spirit. It is a relief to be able to root for your team. It’s FUN. I know life is serious. Hard to miss it. But there are fun things left to do and I think we need to do them. Whether it’s team sports or 3-D video gaming, I don’t care. But we all need something that gets us out of that pocket of fear and worry to let us laugh and play.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the world changed for the worse with the introduction of the 24×7 “bad news” channels. Suddenly crime multiplied by almost 100, even though in reality, violent crime decreased as 24 x 7 coverage came in. The way people look at the world is very different. And then some channels used this “bad news” from around the world constantly being pushed into people’s living rooms as vast propaganda mills to push political viewpoints. The vast polarization of the country stems, in part, to this. And now, even sports has been polarized by that propaganda mill.

    A totally different way to look at the high salaries of sports stars is that if they didn’t get the money, the ultra-rich owners would be that much richer. And a third way is that sports stars have very short careers, maybe 10 years for football, and have to live their entire lives on what they make those short few years.

    Like

    • I think the change was well underway by then and the availability of 24 hour news stations raised the din of it. There had been 24 hour news on in Boston (radio) and NY (radio) for a long time before that and it was popular, especially for commuters like me. But it was in the wind. Have you ever watched the movie “Network?” William Holden et al? It was crazed fantasy when they wrote it and it’s just another day at the office today. Since the 1970s when news became programming and stopped being “news.” When the news had to get ratings, the good old days — the BRIEF good old days — ended. They were trying to close them down even when Murrow was still on the air. The networks didn’t like anything that took up air time without making money and bringing in new viewers.

      So yes, the 24/7 cycle hasn’t improved it, but I don’t think it has changed it as much as you may think. Garry lived in this market a long time and it wasn’t what people thought it was. It was NEVER really like that, EVEN in the best of times.

      What has made it worse is less the cycle, than the pathetic quality of many of its reporters and directors who have lost touch with the whole concept of accuracy, honesty, truth, and keeping the story focused on itself and not on the star news-guy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The bigger and badder the bad news is, the less inclined I am to check it out. I guess I am different. The world to me is what I see and experience around me… not the trumped up (no pun intended) chamber of horrors the TV would like me to believe the world actually is. Oddly enough, I also don’t follow sports like I used to. This was the first year since I was in grade school that I didn’t attend a baseball game. And I’m kicking butt in the football picks pool now that I have absolutely zero idea what’s going on in the NFL (There are two teams in LA now? Didn’t they just have zero?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’d have to ask Garry. I do watch football when it is on, but I don’t really follow it … not like baseball. I used to follow tennis, but somewhere I lost track of who was who and while if it’s on, I enjoy it, I have no idea who the new great ones are. Football got more interesting because of this crazy run with the Patriots. Quarterbacks like Brady are pretty rare in football. Hell, players like him are just plain RARE.

      And we are both (and so is everyone else ) really hating this one-game all-or-nothing wild card game. That is NOT baseball! I say cut the game back to maybe 158 games and leave a little breathing room for the play-offs.

      We used to go to Fenway a lot when we lived it Boston proper. When we moved to Roxbury, it got harder. It also got very expensive. Parking is a massive issue — there ARE no garages for the stadium in being built in the middle of town and all. If you live where there’s a train or trolley or even a bus, no problem, but we have never lived anywhere where public transport would get us there. Not even when we were just a few miles away. Trains in Boston all run east-west and we were due south of the park. VERY long walk, taxi, or … horse?

      Like

      • A lot of baseball fans would assume not even have wild card teams (Though they’re necessary with the current divisional setup), so forcing the two outsiders to play a sudden death game is just punishment for not winning their division. When baseball eventually expands to 32 teams, I foresee a four division alignment in each league, and wildcards would not only be unnecessary, but burdensome to the playoffs….

        Like

  5. I think we can easily say that where we place our attention in life determines what we get. After I studied Journalism for 2 years, I stopped watching the News – of any kind – for a long time. That stuff was really dragging me down. And I didn’t really feel bad at all about not ‘being informed’ at all. I’m back to watching again – but selective in how much – and what – I expose myself too. I don’t feel it to be the necessity I once did.
    And It isn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are the same. We watch enough to at least know what’s happening, then we turn it off and watch something else. Garry also carries the weight of all those years of this stuff in his head. He doesn’t watch news like civilians. At this point, I suppose neither do I.

      Like

  6. Sports is very much on my mind right now. I am an avid St. Louis Cardinal fan…and yeah, for the first time in ten years, our season is over. But worse, it has been for years my escape. Every October, I begin to wonder what will I do for the next six months to distract me from the bad news that never takes a break in season. I always manage to find something…working on my scrapbooks, actually cleaning out the closet I know has needed it for a long time, more hikes, more nature journaling, more books read,a lot of cookies to be eaten or sent to the kids. But in the back of my mind I am always waiting for April and…baseball.

    Like

    • My husband is the same. The Red Sox are often “not in it,” so we watch other sports … which are okay, but not like baseball. We got a terrific run with the Patriots, though we both think it’s all over but the shouting. It was going to happen. No one can play forever especially not football. Brady should have let it go after last year’s Superbowl.

      The Sox just barely “in it” this year. We are cautiously optimistic because they have gotten here and they have beaten teams that are obviously better, yet they have somehow scraped a win together. We aren’t a power team and our first run against Houston … well … who knows? It’s Post season and anything can happen. It was a pretty good season.

      Streaming TV and sports keep us sane. Books. Writing. Photography.

      It’s a lot easier if it’s baseball season, though. Even when we aren’t winning, they are our team and we can root for them. Groan with their losses, cheer with their wins.Watch other games too because Garry isn’t only a fan of HIS team. He LOVES baseball and has for his entire life, so last year, we were both rooting for Chicago because it was their turn.

      Everyone should get their turn!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chicago…St. Louis, now there are terms that don’t go together well! Glad to know I am not the only one who finds sports the greatest of diversions . I am originally from Detroit, so…the Lions, 3-1, well. maybe the winter won’t be quite so long after all!

        Like

        • It wouldn’t be nearly as popular as it is if many people, including people you might never suspect of being fans, didn’t love it. And I think we love it because it is SPORTS. It isn’t politics. It isn’t war. No murders here, thank you. We can just enjoy it. We can even enjoy it when our team loses because it’s entirely possible to like a game because it’s a really good game. Take that, crappy movies!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Good news has never ever sold. It’s been tried many times. The Huffington Post tried it a while back.They had a “Good News” page. But all the stories were about dogs, cats, kittens and puppys that suffered horrific abuse, got burned in fires or were trapped for days in a well, but all recovered. I would read them in horror screaming ‘THIS IS YOUR IDEA OF GOOD NEWS??? The page is gone.

    Like

    • I know. People don’t get it. It is NEVER good news. It wasn’t “back in the day” and it isn’t now. There is MORE bad news now than before, or at least, more sources of the SAME bad news … but really, it’s the same amount. I think there is a maximum amount of bad news that can fit into any newscast, so if there is more bad news than that, oh well. Next time.

      Unless you make the report longer and make it all up as you go along. But that’s a horse of a different color.

      Like

  8. A hundred years ago, before television and radio news a News Paper was a Broadsheet and largely the domain of the wealthier folk who had the spare time to read the paper.

    Nowadays many papers (the competition) are cut down scandal rags with very broad readership. It seems the wider your customer base the lower your standards become (or need to be to maintain interest).

    It’s a human thing, not that any of us humans who enjoy Serendipity would identify with, of course. 😉

    love

    Like

      • You are wise, master. 😉 it never fails to amaze me when i try to read my weekend paper that i have to pay money to buy what is basically already paid for advertising sparsely dotted with sports stories and what, in current parlance, is termed ‘clickbait’ – and rightfully so.

        They should pay me to be subjected to such a bombardment of attempts to deprive me of some hard earned ( actually not-all-that-hard-earned! 😉 ) The classifieds are now basically non-existant but their income stream has been boosted by the ‘info-torial’ or ads for travel/holidays disguised as news/travel items. (Bright shiny things to spend all your money on).

        The last ‘good news’ headline i can recall was the Moon Landing! Just to make you feel your age the 50th anniversary of which is coming up in a little under 2 years! 🙂

        love

        Like

  9. I can definitely understand why good news never sells. How else to explain my fascination with current news events ever since 45 became 45? I just can’t get enough of the idiocy being treated as normalcy lately. It just never ends. Can one man really be opposed to everything in life? I woke up to this headline this morning: “Trump administration denies endangered species protection for 25 species”! Including humankind, I would suspect.

    Like

Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s