What Ruben Amaro Jr. Said That Really Bothers Me…

Yeah, he said some stuff about fans. He said some stuff about a plan. He said some stuff about player development.

I agree with him, at least on those points. For every super-prospect rushed to the Majors with success ala Ken Griffey Jr. there are dozens of prospects who came up too soon, didn’t perform and were sent back down to the minors destroying that youthful confidence. With that said…

What really bothers me is when he added this brief sentence,

“This is an entertainment business”

Picture this. Feb 5th, 1988. There’s a special Friday Night WWF Main Event on primetime TV. My cousins and I watched intently as Hulk Hogan defended the WWF championship against his former best friend, and then current nemesis, Andre the Giant. The match itself didn’t last long but the impact of the bout lasts to this day. For those who didn’t see this… Andre and his cohorts bribed an impostor referee into handing him the win along with the championship. I remember us all screaming at the TV, demanding an official review. We were pissed.

Later that night I realized what the 1980’s had so earnestly tried to keep from me… pro wrestling was staged. It was fake. It went by what the marketers decided would draw more viewers.

A few years after that pro wrestling was hit with drug abuse allegations… steroids, etc. etc. They decided to rebrand themselves as Sports Entertainment, completely shedding themselves of any speck of legitimacy. I seldom watch wrestling anymore. It’s still on a lot. What I have seen is much much more soap opera than sports.

This afternoon while driving to the grocery store I tuned into ESPN sports radio and heard those words… “This is an entertainment business.”

I damn near drove off the road. Baseball is no stranger to performing enhancing drug abuses. Is it becoming “Sports Entertainment?”

Could our beloved past time baseball, fall into the ranks of players standing on the field staring each other down… could they call each other out in interviews…. could they become scripted?

On Feb 6th, 1988 I lost interest in pro wrestling. Is baseball next?

Categories: Absolute Nonsense

8 replies

  1. But, Dan, it IS entertainment:

    Dictionary.com: “something affording pleasure, diversion, or amusement, especially a performance of some kind:”

    Personally, I derive pleasure and diversion from the competition on the field–the winning and losing, and the fact that it is NOT scripted–anything can happen. Also, I enjoy the feats of athleticism. The players are there to “perform” for our entertainment–that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s been scripted. A play might be scripted–but go to the Improv, and not necessarily. Both are entertainment.

    For our local teams–IronPigs, Phantoms, SteelHawks–some of the game is competition and some is fluff. But, it’s all entertainment. It’s something my new hockey friends are dealing with: Some of the crowd comes to be entertained by the spectacle and the Bow-Tie Ben–others want the hockey part. Both are entertainment.

    To Ruben’s point: if his team is not competitive, and the “performance” is poor–folks won’t go to the games, won’t buy the hats, won’t show up for Spring Training, and won’t watch the advertising that Comcast sells during the televised broadcast. Sports are indeed entertainment, despite the fact that they’re not scripted. Professional wrestling co-opted the term “entertainment” to distract from the fact that the “athletic performance” (it is) is NOT a competition. Competition can be entertainment, but entertainment is not necessarily competition. Right?

    One more thing: Next time you look at a player who’s making $100 Million to “play a game,” please also think of the entertainment factor. How much does Tom Cruise get for each movie? How many movies per year? How many years in his career? Yup. Entertainment. As entertainers with limited shelf life, professional athletes salaries aren’t quite as ridiculous. (It’s still a sh!t-ton of money, though…)

  2. Professional sports become less and less about the actual competition and more and more about the entertainment crapola with every passing day … Part of the reason why the Lehigh Valley Phantoms stink out loud is it is clear the players don’t really care about results. They pay lip service to results all the time, of course. But they know it’s really all about the entertainment — in other words, all they really have to do is show up at local elementary schools and hospitals every now once in a while and snap some public relations shots, then they can be adored and praised by both the fans and the media all the same … Think about it : Let’s say you are a starting NFL quarterback making say, seven million dollars a year. You’ve thrown three interceptions today and your team has lost – again! But, how much do you really care? Exactly how upset can you really be? How much can you life really suck? … It’s your fourth year in the league and you already have a very nice car and a very big house — PLUS twenty million bucks (from previous years’ salaries and signing bonus) sitting in the bank. Hell, even if the team cut you tomorrow, you know in your heart that if you can’t figure out how to take what you’ve already acquired and make that last the rest of your life (via investments, etc), then you’re an idiot who deserves to end up sleeping in a cardboard box under a bridge somewhere … So, again, you’re an NFL quarterback. Save all the lip service and other assorted feel-good non-sense stuff for ESPN and The Morning Call. Say you just threw five interceptions in your last game. Tell me exactly how much you REALLY care about results on the field?

    PS — Thought-provoking parallel with respect to steroids in pro wrestling and baseball … meanwhile, the Phantoms already have “scripted supporters” (i.e., Professional Super Fan Guy, the paid view obstructionist without peer) at their hockey games


    • Yeah, the Pork Race is scripted, too, right? Just saw those dudes in Reading (veggie race) and man do they run. That’s fun too, you know? πŸ˜‰

      • Just for fun, the announcer says “Read the script” after Lester’s fly ball is caught…


        Conspiracy! hahahahahaha

      • I am completely ashamed and humiliated to have to admit as much in public, of course … But, aside from the obvious marketing gimmick / we’re trying to sell stuff here aspect, I just never did get ANY part of the whole Pork Race thing … Having just now confessed to my crimes against minor league baseball humanity, I sincerely seek redemption.

        So, can anybody please do some kind of “IronPigs Pork Racing For Dummies”?

        It would be greatly appreciated.

        • Well, I suppose it’s kind of my fault. Right around the time that I started writing posts around here–some 500 posts ago–I started playing up the whole “Diggity is evil” angle of the race, as Diggity always seemed to get the benefit of some kind of questionable behavior. At about the same time, Hambone was getting very few wins and was made the fan-favorite–for a team that was winning very little itself.

          So now we have the base story–add in the “year of the bacon” this year with Chris P. getting some extra love–and we have the base script. From there it’s automatic: Hambone will lead at some point but succumb to his many fans or Diggity’s cheating, Chris P will win a bunch, and Barbie Q will win on Ladie’s night. Done. Except during a sellout in August, when Hambone will win and the last game of the year.

          Problem is, we’ve seen it before. It’s done, but it’s BEEN done. Perhaps for the more casual fan, they look forward to it still, but to me and other season ticket holders there every night? Tired.

          Down in Reading, where they run like the wind? Anything can happen with guys running full speed in vegetable gear. As compelling as anything.

          But it could be worse. Up in Scranton it’s more like a “stroll.”” No running at all–let alone a script. Mostly guys hoping their heads don’t fall off.

  3. Interesting. If that were the case, Reuben, wouldn’t you be paying more attention to the IronPigs instead of letting them field a team that can barely manage to win a third of its games, with a manager that loses one-run games because he strands runners on 3rd Base instead of letting them try to score? I mean, really, woulcn’t they be more entertaining if they’d play the game better?

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