Sunday, March 22, 2015

Brats these days

So, baseball.

I've not been able to follow Reds Spring Training as much as I usually do for a number of reasons, one being the start time of most of the games. I guess I'll never getting over the Reds' stupid decision to move Spring Training to Arizona. It still makes no sense from a fan point of view, and while I understand the economic sense, it just doesn't seem like they made enough effort to stay in Florida, which benefits the fans. I doubt I will ever go to Spring Training in Arizona. (And frankly, that batshit crazy evil state deserves none of my money.) It's hard enough to even listen to the games.

I have been listening to the games from the 4pm start times to the moment I hit the tunnel on my way home from work and lose reception, usually about 5:45.  That's a decent chunk of time, but I'm realizing that my attention span when listening to radio games isn't what it used to be, and I've rarely been able to watch for the first hour before I begin my commute because, one, I'm at work and actually have to do work, and two, either the internet in my office is slow and there is a lot of buffering or MLB.TV is up to its usual failures. You'd think after being a subscriber for ten years I'd come to terms with it. I wonder why others don't have the same kind of issues that have plagued me over the years through eight computers, two smartphones, and one tablet.

Some of my attention span deficit has to do with my excitement for going to Spain the week of Opening Day (no, I'm not missing Opening Day - I'm leaving the Friday after it.) I haven't traveled anywhere since I went to Italy two years ago, so I am very excited about the trip, which, I admit, is diminishing my enthusiasm for Opening Day a bit. I think social media trolls have also contributed to that, too. Baseball just isn't fun when you have sportswriters calling fans idiots and thinking they are God's gift. It's not fun when you continue to see baseball people in the middle of the country post political idiocy because they don't have a clue how the world works. It's not fun when people incapable of logical thinking demand a trade of one of the best players in baseball because he walks too much and they can't do math. Before the twenty-somethings became twenty-somethings, the internet was a good place, but then the little snowflakes grew up and we see how awful parents in their forties really were at parenting. There was no such thing as a troll back when blogs first began.

I've seen the power of social media in other countries, how they've been able to overthrow dictators and protect themselves from tyrannical regimes. Here, social media just seems to be a place where people with average to below average IQs and a sense of entitlement gather to erroneously proclaim their superiority to their equally inane neighbors and people smarter than them. I've tried to purge my Twitter feed of these folks, but they keep popping up anyway. These tools have destroyed our attention spans anyway. The blogosphere was great in the mid-aughts but people stopped being able to read beyond 140 characters and blogs became echo chambers and it was no longer worth the time to write something no one would read. I'm seeing this sentiment in many places these days. A lot of people are giving up on social media, some even returning to their blogs and focusing on what is sadly termed "longform reading" now. It's a sad state of literacy when we have to call writing of substance "longform" and just reiterates the idea that social media is a thoughtless void. (It isn't always, but it does take a lot of time and effort to make it not be.)

The movement to shorten baseball games is another symptom of the same problem but so is the reason for the extended length of games. Used to be, back when honor and respect were things in our society, that you got the ball back from the catcher and you threw it again, and you either swung at a pitch or let it go by and set up for the next pitch. Now players who probably don't pick up books complain that they need time to "think" about what pitch to throw or what the pitcher will throw. Get yourself a Lumosity account and speed up your slow brain if you need to take twenty-three seconds between pitches. And get yourself some batting gloves that fit correctly if you think you need to step out of the box between every pitch to readjust them. I don't like the idea of a clock or the other new rules but I guess something had to be done.

Another reason I haven't been able to follow the Reds as much this Spring Training is that I can't get the video feed on my phone because MLB.TV decides what devices you can and can't use it on. That's a problem in our society, too, the dominance of two giant corporations - Google and Apple - and their ability to dictate what we can and cannot do. Also a symptom of ADD nation - letting giant corporations step all over consumers because it takes too much effort to fight it. It's the same thing with the telecoms. In my neighborhood, we either have Comcast or Verizon internet. There's no other option. And Comcast is so awful that I'm thinking of filing an FCC complaint.  I can't watch MLB.TV on Xfinity because my speeds are so damn slow and Comcast claims there's nothing wrong with it. What the hell am I paying for? I signed up for an upgrade two weeks ago but the guy I talked to didn't actually sign me up and my speeds have been so slow that pages don't load.

There are people who are against net neutrality in this country. That's beyond comprehension. These people clearly have no idea what net neutrality is. I wonder if they even use the internet except that they are constantly tweeting about how they are now "oppressed" by the government because the FCC actually made rules that say the telecoms corporations can't restrict what you can see on the internet. You know what oppression is? Oppression is telecoms corporations (who write the bills passed by Congress) controlling what you are allowed to see on the internet and blocking people who don't pay the most from being able to be seen on the internet. Can you imagine doing that with telephones? So you want to call the local hardware store to see if they have a type of potting soil, but because the local hardware store didn't pay the telephone company as much as the giant corporation Home Depot did, you just keep getting a busy signal. But you have no problem getting through to Home Depot.

It just floors me how people scream and cry oppression in this country when they don't have a clue what they are talking about.

Anyway, the issue of net neutrality is something that would have 99% support if people weren't so hellbent on succumbing to political propaganda . But you know, Obama supports it, so there's a certain segment of the population that is automatically against it even though they'd be screwed by it. Ask one of these people to explain what net neutrality is and they can't. They say it's government controlling the internet. It's actually the exact opposite - it keeps the internet open when corporations wanted to control what you see on the internet. I don't know how it is so misunderstood, but then again, people don't think anymore, they just repeat what they hear on cable news.

And on social media. What percentage of people who spout of sabr kind of stats actually understand it? I've seen so many blogs talk about WAR, BABIP, etc, that clearly don't get the math. Same as those who talk about RBI and pitcher wins as if those are gospel. And the sabrbullies who call those who appreciate the traditional aspects of the game some version of moron.

I read the Times article today about the empathy gap and the psychology of "The Other" and am thinking about how those people who need to read it the most won't because it's too long. Basically it's about a guy who is studying neuroscience to figure out why people don't have empathy for those whom they perceive to be their enemies. He starts off by talking about the Roma in Hungary (who are every bit as discriminated against as African Americans) and how Hungarians agree the Roma should be integrated except when it comes down to actually integrating them.

We have to be aware of the empathy gap if we're going to stop the conflict in our lives, whether it be something as awful as war or something as inane as sabrmetrics.

But I have no empathy for opponents of net neutrality. To them I say "Get a brain, morans!"

1 comment:

DDubbs76 said...

Ha...just found your musings on baseball...I look forward to your future posts. Thanks for making the internet a better place.