Sunday, June 17, 2018

Brown's words, actions don't align in media controversy

He scolded the media for making his life difficult after a minicamp practice Tuesday. He said he skipped the last eight organized team activities to go home to Florida with his five kids and get his mind right.
It was a pretty good advertisement for eliminating OTAs, but could it be a sign Brown just wants to play football and being the best wide receiver in the NFL is enough?
You can thank social media for players developing less patience for the standard media every day. Brown can produce his own story. Why does he need a reporter to to put a negative spin on it?
When Brown did his 17-minute Facebook Live appearance after the Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in a playoff game in January 2017, he bragged that 40,000 people were watching.
The Steelers had advanced to the AFC Championship against the Patriots the following week and his head coach, Mike Tomlin, was heard giving an explicit message to the team.
It didn’t go over well.
For a while now, players in all sports have had the ability to produce their own stories about themselves. They can reach over a million followers in 10 seconds on Twitter and all they need is a cell phone.
The President of the United States has shown them you can reach all the people needed without bowing to the media.
Brown likes attention. Scoring a touchdown in an NFL game doesn’t get him quite enough so he throws in a game of hide-and-seek with his teammates.
Brown would be perfectly within his rights to politely tell the media he’s going to take a season off from doing interviews and will only do what’s absolutely required by the league.
Limit all of his postgame comments to Twitter or Facebook or keep all of his thoughts to himself. Media covering the team probably wouldn’t like it, but it’s not his job to write the stories for them.
Declare a media blackout, Antonio. You won’t last a week.
  • The idiots who run baseball are worried about attendance. Commissioner Rob Manfred said so after the owners meetings last week.
They should be.
As various media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine pointed out, attendance is down 6.6 percent from this time last year and 8.6 percent overall. This could be the first season since 2003 with an average below 30,000 fans per game.
Averaging over 30,000 per game over a 162 game season is still pretty impressive, especially when you consider the average ticket price is $31, but it’s never good when your league is threatening to set records for poor attendance.
Nobody should be surprised the attendance numbers for the Pirates plummeted 29 percent after the offseason they had.
There are lots of teams worse than the Pirates, including six that are playing below .400. As Fortune Magazine points out, there have never been more than five teams that finished below that number.
The games are boring and they are long. There are way too many strikeouts. The Cardinals recently used five pitchers in a 5-0 win over the Pirates. One-inning pitching specialists may help against the hitters, but they’re not putting anybody in the seats.
Other sources of revenue have made filling the seats a little less important, but if people aren’t interested in going to the games, the other revenue streams are eventually going to suffer.
  • Baseball was once, by far, my favorite sport. But even if I hadn’t been turned off by the economic stupidity, analytics might have chased me away by now. Going by the stat book may help a team win, but a steady diet of the numbers is enough to put an incurable insomniac to sleep. Analytics may help a team win, but making it harder for the average fan to evaluate and appreciate a player’s talent won’t get anybody to buy a ticket. The baseball media may like WAR, which stands for wins above replacement, but the average fan is much more likely to relate to home runs, runs batted in and batting average.
Do fans really need a stat for how many times a hitter has swing and miss strikes or how many ground ball outs a pitcher gets? Baseball media geeks slobber all over these stats and player personnel directors may love them but it’s way too much work for the average fan.
Fans still know a good hitter when they see one.
  • Joe DeNardo died Friday at 87 years old. Lots of young people are probably wondering why so much attention has been given to the death of a guy who did the weather on TV. You had to be there. Trust us.
John Steigerwald writes a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter.

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