06 April 2009

Today's Opener Brought To You By: Unspeakable Loss Spoken About For Twenty Minutes

It almost appeared as if a baseball game, the season opener, broke out at FSN's lengthy Marquis Cooper tribute. Dont get mad or get me wrong. It's ok - touching even - Derrick Hall tabbed Bruce Cooper, the well-liked local sportscaster and Marquis' dad, to toss out the first pitch. Top drawer, Derrick. Additionally nice so many in the knowing crowd gave this grieving family a heartfelt standing ovation. Every parent has ached for them, including me.

But what's with the, excuse the expression, overkill? The rather showy video lead-in, the stadium PA bludgeoning already familar circumstances of this nationally overchronicled personal tragedy? Most locals are well aware of the name Bruce Cooper and his terrible loss. If I may speak boldly, perhaps a little too aware at this point.

Wouldnt it have been more tasteful to play this tribute lowkey, instead of beating an expectant, upbeat crowd over the head with a somber multimedia production droning on the big board in the middle of Opening Day?

And I do mean middle, because pregame formalities were just the beginning of this maudlin tv extravaganza. Todd Walsh followed up the tribute by intervewing (during the game) Cooper's dad, who graciously thanked "Jesus" and the community's overwhelming support. Then Walsh, as only he can, prattled on about how no one's had an unkind word for Bruce Cooper in the twenty years they've been acquainted, which, true or not, seems irrelevant to what was supposed to be a remembrance of Cooper's son. And by the second inning, I'm sorry, but it's irrelevant to me as a baseball fan.

I understand Bruce Cooper is a media insider, and genuinely well-liked, but what does rekindling his devastating personal tragedy into a community funereal have to do with a baseball game? Whatever happened to balance and reserve, not to mention the concept of serving one's core audience? You remember. Baseball fans? How dare they dwell on this young man's death like this is some goddamn prime time soap opera or Court TV.

Later in the game, the incredible back n forth one playing second fiddle to this televised schadenfreude, Walsh, Sutton and Grace talked even more about Todd's interview. They seemed surprised that cynical press row types stood and applauded Cooper's pre-game toss to have mentioned this anomaly three times. Perhaps it didnt dawn on these insiders (FSN TV crew) that those insiders (press row) also know that insider (Cooper) personally.

To reiterate, I've no issue with the Dbacks briefly honoring a young football player who died a little over a month ago under horrific circumstances. But let's at least recognize that people without insider fathers, even people with connections to baseball and to this community, die as well. On a day appropriately focused on renewal, hope and smiles, it seems to me any of a number of more dignified baseball organizations would have better tempered what amounted to this two inning Hollywood production. Here, viewers were pummeled by one family's unspeakable loss and tears, and how much Todd Walsh thinks other people think of Bruce Cooper.

Enough already.

Ask Coop to throw out the ball, but for chrissakes, move on and let the community enjoy the first baseball game of the year. That is what you do, is it not? Televise baseball games? Walsh (or was it Sutton?) said it worst, as they so often do. They said this sort of tragedy really puts baseball in perspective and makes us all appreciate what's important in life. These are the same clowns constantly putting Doug Davis's long since eradicated cancer "in perspective" for the rest of us, going on a year now.

Perhaps someday, we'll be spared future instruction on what's "important in life" from these pious and chatty exploiters of others' misfortune. But not this Opening Day.


Anonymous said...

are you kidding..... obviously you have not lost a loved one in the prime of their life. I thought it was a class act from the diamondbacks organization. It meant a great deal to the family and friends. Sorry you felt it rained on your opening day, maybe you should look past baseball and realize this family was honored by the gesture.

Matt said...

As I said, I dont take serious issue with the "gesture", giving fans a respectful opportunity to spread some warmth towards the Coopers.

I take issue with The Big Show surrounding the gesture. Many fans gravitate to baseball to forget about these kind of hardships for a few hrs, and to be drenched (not quickly dipped) in others' anguish, in the middle of what's supposed to be an entertainment seems rather imposing, indulgent and curious to me.

I understand these "gestures" make some people feel superior, like they're more sensitive or caring than people like me - that's fine -and I'm relieved to learn the Coopers felt honored. They seem like a nice bunch and if they didnt feel honored I'd be even more annoyed at the Dbacks' excess.

Speaking of feeling superior, your blind stab into my personal life is very presumptuous and reflects this kind of indulgence. When people I love die, I hold their hands, cry, go to their funerals - hardass, emotionally stunted stuff like that ;-)

I've no desire to impose my personal grief on a distant populace genuinely unequipped to share it. The Dbacks dont echo that desire, and I think it's fairly obvious why.

Thx for your comment.

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