In the July 22, 1968, issue of Sports Illustrated, U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren was quoted as saying, “I always turn to the sports section first. The sports page records people's accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man's failures.”
Yes, most front-page news is invariably negative. Unfortunately, that is symptomatic of the world we live in. But nothing but man's failures? I wonder if Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and the other guy prompted him to change his mind a year later. (Please tell me I don't have to explain that to younger readers. And apologies to Michael Collins.)
Nor should I have to explain Charles Lindbergh and his Spirit of St. Louis in 1927 or the rescue of Baby Jessica from a Texas well in 1987. (A front-page photograph of that event in the Odessa American earned a Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography that year.) There are hundreds more examples of front-page stories heralding great, positive events.
Conversely, sports pages, especially those in big cities with rabid fans (yes, I am talking about you, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago), love tearing into the home team when they are not performing up to par. For every “accomplishment,” there are countless other athletes who failed to reach their goal. For every champion, there are numerous losers.
Every time Alex Rodriguez strikes out in the clutch (pretty much every October), the press has a field day. Typical back page headline in the New York Post during last year's baseball playoffs: “Same Old A-Rod; Alex whiffs to end it.” That was followed a few days later, after they were eliminated, by: “Yanks 4 Nothing.”
And don't even get me started on how they treat poor old Jets quarterback (for now) Mark Sanchez.
Mike Marin is a cranky curmudgeon who, when he’s not yelling at kids to get off his lawn, likes to complain about the sad state of popular culture, especially as seen through a TV screen. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.