Reality TV at Wrigley

Over the past ten years Reality television has been a crucial part of the American fabric. It has turned nobodies into somebodys and made ‘has-been’s’ millions. American Idol is consistently the top rated show both nights it is aired. VH1 and MTV have not shown a music video in 1,465 days and Big Brother 71 is about to premiere on CBS. Reality TV has produced some heart warming moments and thrilling surprises, but it has also shown us the bowels of society, anyone remember Temptation Island on FOX? Yes, that is a great idea for a couple, go to a tropical paradise, separate from each other and surround yourself with 10 beautiful people, all who want to be with you. SERIOUSLY? And the kicker is that this show was on for THREE years.

Sports are the most original form of Reality television. It is not scripted or planned but physically and mentally debated on a playing field, arena or course. Sports provides a window to the inner workings of a person, it conveys the drive and desire while allowing fans to simply relax, enjoy and hope. Sporting outcomes are not influenced by the media nor voted on by the viewer. Instead the unknown is the greatest thrill of all. Sporting outcomes are discussed, argued and remembered for a lifetime. A person will easily get over their favorite contestant’s ouster on ‘American Idol.’ Finally, the reason sports are the purest form of reality are because the game is what matters, not how the safety feels about the cornerback or how the point guard does not like the center or how the pitcher had a bad date. They are about competition.

Last weekend at Wrigley that all changed for me. I know dugout fights have happened and I understand that all teammates do not get along well, if at all. Heck, I have disliked quite a number of individuals I worked with as well, you just learn to live with it. Companies can sustain profits even with in-fighting or strategic disagreements, but a baseball team cannot. Outside of a tiny handful of teams, no team has been able to overcome problematic relationships or personal explosions.

Zambrano seemed apologetic but insinuated that it could happen again by explaining that only God can control him….

“Yes, Mr. Cashman is in his office, may I ask who is calling?

“Yes, this is Jim Hendry.”

“Ok, please hold Trader Jim.”

Only God can control you, see you later buddy. In a matter of 30 hours the Cubs had wracked up two black eyes, bruised hands, cut-up knuckles, thousands of dollars in fines and belly-brushing suspensions. The sports outlets were abuzz Friday and Saturday and the Cubs even have their own section on the front page of the World Wide Leader’s website.

Sports do not normally lower themselves to the level of reality television but lately they have. Whether it is Billy Donovan changing his mind on Orlando or Alex Rodriguez’s late night guests, sports are getting caught up in the tabloid engine. The Cubs did nothing to help this issue last weekend either. Lost in the mayhem were two disgusting losses pushing the Cubs and their fans closer to the “Next Year” mindset.

I do not believe this year is over, yet, but Friday and Saturday were not encouraging. Some players alluded to the idea that Lou’s tirade inspired them and it appeared to be that way on the field Sunday afternoon and Monday. The Cubs have to keep it up in Milwaukee and as they travel to Atlanta. This year is not over yet, but another 1-6 stretch could start overcrowding the home plate beer garden in late June. There are over 100 games left to be played by a team comprised of proven Major League talent, but until they start acting like proven Major League talent, this year will end just as the previous 99. If the Cubs have a bad road trip it will be just about time to vote them off the island.

Feel free to contact me at brian@chicagocubsonline.com and until next time….

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!!

Quote of the Day

"It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself." - Eleanor Roosevelt
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