Wait a minute.
Derrek Lee just hit into another double play.
OK, now for today's exercise:
Objectivity in sports journalism is as obsolete as 32-cents-a-gallon gasoline or leisure suits or three-cent stamps.
Today, you have to be a cheerleader.
While covering college football or basketball, beat writers must wave the school colors or risk losing access to the coaches and players. Anything that doesn't smack of cheering in the press box is construed as negative reporting and unwanted criticism.
That also is true for major league baseball, the NBA and the NFL in many cases.
Who runs the Internet? While providers take great pains to point out that they are not financially supported by or emotionally attached to the college programs, they are unabashed cheerleaders. Criticism is discouraged, even deleted by monitors of many Websites.
It has gotten so bad that some college crazies have banded together to try to pressure sports editors to fire beat writers or columnists whom they claim are being anti-(insert your favorite college). Objectivity? In their minds, it's only another word for negative reporting.
Positive? Negative? Isn't that what objectivity is all about? There was a time when sportswriters and sports columnists wrote about any side of an issue without looking over their shoulders and worrying about whether they were offending a reader in Chicago or Champaign or South Bend or Ann Arbor or Columbus.
No longer. Read the Internet. Writers are regularly evaluated by readers, good or bad, depending on whether they are kissing a coach's or a program's behind. A beat writer has to salute and nod and wink and follow the coach's game plan or the next exclusive story or interview his newspaper gets will be datelined in the next century.
Write glowing accounts of the recruiting process, even if the school hasn't signed a blue-chipper since leather helmets. Ignore kids who got away. Write front-page stories about promising athletes. Gloss over police reports about players who appear on rap sheets. Embellish profiles of coaches and players and teams. Ignore any and all warts.
Think about it. Name a writer. Any writer. Do you read him religiously, no matter what he writes? Or do you read someone else because he is more "positive" and best emphasizes your own feelings about the program? Do you want to know everything there is to know about the program or only what you want to know about things that make you feel good? Do you want to emphasize the positives of the program and ignore the negatives?
If so, you're a cheerleader and you don't know anything about journalism. The truth is, you don't care, right?