05 June 2008

Everyone's Having A Good Time

It's too obvious to rag on the team now, so allow me to elaborate on a recent incident up in the booth instead. Late in Thursday's telecast from Miller Park, Todd Walsh was confronted in the stands by a wandering drunk who wanted Todd to disseminate, of all things, some Wisconsin girl's softball scores. What followed provides yet another illustration of what's wrong with the Dbacks' broadcast approach.

Walsh actually handled the situation acceptibly. A bear of a guy, obviously wasted, cornered him and Todd appeared to weigh the merits of ridiculing, ignoring or appeasing him on the fly. He chose the last option, by giving him a T shirt etc, and while that may've not been the most professional choice, given the immediacy of the situation, I dont have a problem with it.

Sutton and Grace, in the middle of a 10-1 snoozer, realized this demonstrative drunk made good television and picked up the ball. I dont really have a problem with that either. Brennaman and Brenly could've easily been laughing right along side them from the safety of the booth.

The camera then followed the behemoth back to his seat and cut back to his antics several times during the inning. He was standing up essentially the whole time, with a Miller Lite, laughing and yelling at things unrelated to the field of play. Tight-lipped looks from nearby patrons could have killed. Directly behind the drunk was a father and teenaged son who, it was clear, were having their outing ruined by this imposing jerk. This was around the seventh inning and one can only imagine how long this had been brewing. You dont want to confront the guy. Do you really want to engage security? Do you move from the expensive seats you paid for? Or just hope someone else disposes of him?

It was towards the end of this public vignette that Sutton summed up the scene in a way that illustrates what's troubling about Diamondbacks broadcasts and, indeed, him. Daron said,

"Everybody's having a good time."

Um...no. Anyone who's ever had the misfortune to purchase tickets in the vicinity of this kind of dysfunctional sot knows that everybody's not having a good time. It would've been obvious to Brenly and Brennaman as well, had they been there, and they would never have let the potential comedy cross the line into airing such a broadly false, even offensive, presumption. If it's obvious to any ten year old, it must be obvious to Daron. He's a bright man. So, why does he say it?

He says it because he's traded any vestige of journalistic integrity to be a shameless shill for the Diamondbacks and Major League Baseball, Inc. In truth, none of the TV people are truly independent journalists - Brenly, everyone, either works for the clubs or for partners like ESPN, but most of them arent quite so eager to suspend reality to the extent Sutton regularly does, to promote the unilateral interests of his employer.

I dont expect Daron to lecture on the evils of alcoholism, or rant about the Diamondbacks' cheap payroll in the middle of a game, but it is my expectation (maybe "hope" is a better word) that he not insult the intelligence and values of most viewers over twelve, while corrupting the more impressionable values of those younger than that.

5 comments:

Michael Norton said...

I have never understood why any entertainment venue permits, much less condones, behaviour which cheapens the value of other customers' experience--which is, after all, what they are paying for.

Of course that might reduce beer sales.

Michael Norton
Some Clubhouse

Russell said...

Maybe Daron was forgetting that he's no longer the Brewer's commentator, and didn't want to give the impression that drinking too much beer could be a bad thing.

Jeff said...

Though I don't think we should stop selling beer at the park (for my own sake) I think there should be a limit to shenanigans. No one deserves to feel uncomfortable at a game because some jerkazoid is making a scene.

I can only imagine how disgusted you'd be, Matt, if you had to listen to Hawk & D.J. every broadcast. My lord, those guys, while probably the complete opposite of Sutton & Grace, would drive you nuts.

Matt said...

Michael,

I guess clubs dont care much if fan experience is "cheapened", until someone makes a formal complaint. The speed at which bad publicity flies online nowadays can undermine the bottom line, but until then, profitable heavy drinkers will be given a wide berth.

Russell,
Could be. Old habits die hard.

Jeff,

Agreed. I dont want to ban beer from baseball games, but sales have been regulated before (ie 7th inning last call)and I wonder if it's time to consider more restrictions.

Generally speaking, I think fan behavior is still better than it was thirty years ago, for a variety of reasons, but I sense it's declined in the past decade, fueled largely by binge drinking and you damn kids :-)

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