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Memo: The Mainstream Is Stagnant

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, November 4 2009
Is this what it will take for the mainstream media to discover the Chase?  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Is this what it will take for the mainstream media to discover the Chase? (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Let’s see what’s in the Morning Memo today:

As ESPN zipped away from its broadcast of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway at non-restrictor-plate-like speed, I wondered how different the world would be if it were Dale Earnhardt Jr. going for a fourth-straight championship this fall.

I wondered if perhaps the scores of people which the cable network sent to Talladega might be asked to put in a little overtime, that dinner plans for the guys and gals in the booth and in the pits might be moved back, say, an hour or so.

I was thinking that if it were Earnhardt on the verge of breaking one of racing’s unbreakable records, I would not be sitting home worrying that one of the television production trucks roaring out of Talladega that night might get airborne and crash into the catch fence on the front stretch.

No, were Earnhardt putting a lock on four straight, “Time” magazine would be readying a cover story.

The New York Times would not be sending stringers to the final races.

Oprah would be asking Dr. Phil how Martha Stewart plans to decorate Rachel Ray’s house for the big Homestead-Miami party.

The Food Channel would be sending Iron Chefs to the Homestead parking lot to prepare Delicious Dale Delights.

Dan Rather would be looking into race fuel’s impact on sea turtle mating habits.

Amp Energy stock would lift the market back into a bumble and the National Guard would be turning away recruits.

But as it is, it is Jimmie Johnson going for four in a row and you had better get out of the way if your are standing in front of Dr. Jerry Punch’s limo after this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

It’s not just ESPN, of course. It’s the mainstream media and the sporting public in general who are greeting one of American sports’ great accomplishments with historic indifference.

Irrelevant sports like the NBA and NHL get more broadcast and print pub than the Chase. Geez, tennis and the WNBA get more respect out of those two newspaper guys on PTI than a sport that is actually a sport – probably because they are newspaper guys and, hence, incapable/unwilling to understand an athletic event which doesn’t feature balls rolling around in grass.

The reason for all of it is, of course, is Jimmie. The guy who is magic on a track is antimatter in the Q ratings.

It will be interesting to see if the piece about to come out in “Sports Illustrated” by Joe Posnanski will fuel even a bit more interest.

My thought is that a big, tall tree is about to fall in the American sports forest and nobody is going to hear it.

Memo to self: Get ready to hear from Bristol.

The rankings

Here is the Morning Memo list of the 10 all-time great American sports achievements:

1. Brett Favre’s consecutive-start mark. Every defense play in the league has wanted his head on their wall.

2. Wayne Gretzky scores 2,857 points in the NHL. Every defense player wanted his head on their wall too.

3. Henry Aaron hits 715 home runs and he does it without the help Big Pharma.

4. Ted Williams bat .400 for a whole season. No room for a bad day much less a slump in that number. No BALCO, either.

5. John Wooden wins 10 straight NCAA basketball titles. That is fabulous for a beer-league coach.

6. Major League Baseball players’ record for lies to Congress and the public. We will never know the exact number but pretty sure it’s a beauty.

7. Jimmie Johnson wins four straight Sprint Cup championships. They all came during the most competitive time in NASCAR history.

8. Nolan Ryan’s 5,714 strikeouts. He did it against the best of the best, year after year.

9. Pete Maravich averages 44.2 points per game in a college season. Hey, games are only 40 minutes long.

10. Lance Armstrong wins six straight Tours de France. If, that is, he was not juiced while doing it. If he was, then sub him out for No. 6 above.

Memo to self: Get ready to hear from the Richard Petty fans.

Positive or Negative?

So, is the fact that Robert Hight was all but eliminated from contention for the NHRA Funny Car champions when racing began at the U.S. Nationals in early September but has come on over the last five races to put a virtual lock on the title now an argument in favor of the Countdown or against it?

Memo to self: Get ready to hear from John Force.

Self-serving memo: Hey, sign up to win the trip to Las Vegas by clicking on the graphic on this page. It’s Vegas, for goodness sake, and it’s free.

Personal memo: I’m pulling for you like crazy, JH.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, November 4 2009
3 Comments

3 Comments »

  • banzaibonnie says:

    The major problem is the chase-France’s folly -THe mess that killed Nascar for the fans. The media loves it but they don’t fill the seats and keep their eye’s glued on their favorite driver, like most of us used to.

    • Jim Pedley says:

      Banzai:
      This is not a put-down of your take but am seriously curious: What did you like about the old, non-Chase days?
      Again, just curious?

      JP

  • SB says:

    I think the reason many paeople are indifferent to JJ winning a 4th ‘title’ is the fact that he has accomplished this task only with the 10 race ‘chase’ format. Really, is it as impressive to go on a 10 race hot streak as to win a championship because you got there over one of the longest, most grueling season in sports? Not as captivating. Or maybe it’s aartificially resetting the points for the final 10 races that fuels the indifference. I really doubt that fans ‘hate’ JJ, as the media is so fond of stating. I think they just don’t really care that much anymore.