Sunday, August 14, 2011

More nonsense from your favorite sports(think)writers...and why even non-sports fans should care.

Newcomers to the blog may be unaware that I have a "thing" about Sportsthink,* which to me is as good a mainstream example as there is of the PMA-based silliness that has seized hold of this country.

Here's the latest illustration. Apparently we are to believe that aging Yankee catch
er/DH Jorge Posada had a great day yesterday because he was "motivated" to do so. This raises a number of questions in my mind.

So to this point in the season, Posada has not been sufficiently "motivated" to do better than his overall .237 batting average?

So the way to "motivate" players is to sit them down (not play them) for a week?
And the core question of all:
So all it takes to hit a wicked Roy Halladay 94mph 2-seam fastball is motivation? Then why don't the most motivated players just go out and do it? How does Halladay get anybody out? Oh wait...I forgot...he must be even more motivated. I mean, it couldn't possibly be true that the most talented guy wins the battle, most of the time...
The significance of this line of pseudo-thought extends well beyond sports. We are a nation of people who judge other people by their emotional trappings: whether or not they seem successful, or confident or, yes, motivated. We assume that if someone seems (o
r just expresses the certitude of being) A Doer, he or she can get the job done. This is a staple truism in latter-day politics. We vote for, and rally around, candidates who say or project the right things...even though most of the time, those "right things" have nothing to do with any specific plan of action. They're simply the right things in terms of attitude. Or as I once wrote in a wry piece on PMA for The Wall Street Journal, "In too many cases, we take confidence as proof of having a plan. Far too often, confidence is the plan."

That societal tendency can lead to grave misjudgments. Look at the Obama-phenomenon, for
example. Love him or hate him, there's no question that he won because he inspired hope...not through any concrete strategies that he espoused, necessarily, but because he talked constantly about, and seemed personally to embody, hope. Hope and Change. Those are abstractions. (In fact, they reside in the world of emotional memes that are clearly related to what the NLP crowd calls anchoring.) Today, even though I supported and voted for the man, I can see where his detractors might wonder if it was all a diverting illusion. I don't see it that way; I think post-election Obama just ran headlong into the realities of today's Beltway, which isn't very welcoming to Change. Still, I can certainly understand how diehard GOP types would scream that we were taken in, if not "duped."

Amazing where some of us will go based on a simple headline about Jorge Posada, huh...?

* I devote an entire chapter to it in my book, SHAM.

1 comment:

Dimension Skipper said...

The sportslink between sportsthink and sportsbling...

Baseball's New Bling Is Made For Believers

By Scott Simon for NPR

...Just a short mildly amusing piece I thought you might like.