Sports Outside the Beltway

But Sports Shall Ever Endure…

Crisis. Panic. Terror. Read on at your own risk, dear reader, for the peril that we face is too periilous for mere mortals to understand.

The next time a ball game gets rained out during the September stretch run, you can curse the momentary worthlessness of those tickets in your pocket. Or you can wonder why it got rained out — and ask yourself why practice had to be called off last summer on a day when there wasn’t a cloud in the sky; and why that Gulf Coast wharf where you used to reel in mackerel and flounder no longer exists; and why it’s been more than one winter since you pulled those titanium skis out of the garage.

Global warming is not coming; it is here. Greenhouse gases — most notably carbon dioxide produced by burning coal, oil and gas — are trapping solar heat that once escaped from the Earth’s atmosphere. As temperatures around the globe increase, oceans are warming, fields are drying up, snow is melting, more rain is falling, and sea levels are rising.

All of which is changing the way we play and the sports we watch. Evidence is everywhere of a future hurtling toward us faster than scientists forecasted even a few years ago. Searing heat is turning that rite of passage of Texas high school football, the August two-a-day, into a one-at-night, while at the game’s highest level the Miami Dolphins, once famous for sweating players into shape, have thrown in the soggy towel and built a climate-controlled practice bubble. Even the baseball bat as we know it is in peril, and final scores and outcomes of plays may be altered too. (Hat tip: David Pinto, who accidentally posted his thoughts on this)

Crisis. Panic. Terror.Pinto’s justification for his accidental commentary (which truthfully requires no justification is that “I don’t think the story is balanced at all. Only the worst case scenarios are cited, and to me that’s just bad journalism.” He’s correct of course. They teach objectivity in J-School, but failing that, journalists need to be fair, even-handed, accurate and thorough. The monstrosity that is a feature story for the week of March 12, 2006 is a journalistic abomination.

On my personal blog, which you can click on my name to access, I lambasted ESPN for taking its collective eye off sports, and focusing in Sauronic intensity on the bottom line. Sports Illustrated is playing monkey see, monkey do.

Read the article and wonder at the tangential connection to sports. I don’t read SI anymore. I haven’t for years. The Internet made Sports Illustrated irrelevant. Sports Illustrated attempts to finish the job, by not focusing on what the audience wants, sports coverage and instead preaching about an issue which in addition to be debatable science, but one that does not truly have an impact on the games we watch and play. Global climate change, even if caused by mankind occurs at a creep. It is a marathon, not a sprint. So the effects of individual winters or summers neither prove nor disprove the theory. Arguing against, I can cite this pesky and (dare I say) inconvenient truth.

February was cold. And snowy. One of the coldest in recorded history, which in terms of the life age of this earth, is not that long a period of time. And then there is this.

Mars is warming, but there are no stadiums on Mars that need to be redesigned.

Sports Illustrated should stick to sports coverage. People pay money for both the magazine as well as the ads in it on the expectation that the prominent editorial content will be sports. This does touch the world of sports. But in such a ham-handed and ridiculous was that it is laughable. Calls to advocacy using one-sided, alarmist reporting is more of an advertisement for the advocacy groups promoted within. Further, the energy reductions advocated which fans need to do, do not address the problems posed to our planet, if you believe the hype, by teams jetting from locale to locale.

Instead of a list of things fans can do, why not a list of things teams and leagues can do? The fans are the consumer of a product multi-billion dollar industries produce. But as always, the responsibility is on Joe Sixpack to save the day. Not the multi-millionaires playing the games or running the leagues. A tip to SI. Your initials stand for Sports Illustrated, not Self Importance.

Cross posted at: Ennuipundit

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