Thoughts on Hang Up and Listen Call In Show

This week Hang Up and Listen did a call in podcast. They asked listeners to leave voice mails. This is one of my favorite podcasts. I think they did something really cool with the show. The questions that were asked made me really think. I am going to answer some of the questions that were asked.

1. Is it okay for home fans to boo the home team? - I grew up as a Phillies fan so people might think which direction I might go. I am the person how put their Phillies All Hate team on my blog. I have said several times that sports is as much about hate as it is about love. I think if you care it is natural to boo.

I feel that I really love the Phillies in a sincere way. When I boo I think of the saying the opposite of love is not hate it's indifference. Booing is a way for me to show that I am hurt and unhappy.

The Phillies fans have the reputation for being "Boo Birds". We would boo Mike Schmidt for striking out the at bat after hitting a home run. I do not think that is a good idea, but I can understand it. Philadelphia is a city with a blue collar heart. From a pipe fitter at the Navy Yard to a high price lawyer, they know if they made three millions dollars a year, they could not make any mistakes.

At some level, booing is a way to show you are unhappy. Your choices are to give up your tickets, which can be hard to get back in a sports mad town like Philadelphia or boo when the team does something you do not like. This leads to booing being unfair. If I am unhappy with the ownership, General Manager, coach or Manager I can only boo the players. It is hard to boo a team for not fielding a good team without taking it out on the players. If the manager keeps putting in a relief pitcher who has a dead arm, it is not really the pitchers fault.

I think there are four good reasons to boo a player. The first is if they are not giving effort, like not running out a ground ball and they miss getting on base. The recent event where the Seattle player taking third because the A's were not paying attention is a good example.

The second reason is if the player makes a bad decision at a bad time in the field of play. The best example I can give for this is bad base stealing choices. If someone gets thrown out stealing third when the power hitter is at the plate, that is a good time to boo. This shows either the player is not paying attention or they don't understand the game situation.

The third reason is when the player acts like a baby on the field. My wife hates when a pitcher acts like a child when something goes wrong. She thinks the pitcher should sick it up and be a man. If a player throws a glove or sulks, you can boo them.

The last reason is if the player says something in the media that is insulting to the fans. I am not someone who thinks that athletes have to be perfect in the media. They have to do two things when the games are not going well. They have to take responsibility for what is happening and they have to not show contempt for the fans. If you mouth off about another player on the team or about the fans being a problem, expect to be booed.

2. Can a Bengals Fan Stop being a Bengals Fan? - The guy is a long time Bengals fan who grew up in Cincinnati, but he is feeling mistreated by the owner of the team Mike Brown. He does not see getting back to the glory days of the 80s. The underlying question is the obligations to stay a fan because you have always been a fan?

I am of two minds of this question. I no longer live near the city where I am a fan. I am part of the Phillies/Eagles/76ers diaspora. If I feel that the owners of my team is mistreating me, all I need to do is pay less attention. If I was living in Philadelphia or was a season ticket holder, it is a different cast. Giving up on the team is giving up on part of a social scene.

Part of the reason I root for the Phillies/Eagles/76ers (and the Flyers a little) is because I root for the City of Philadelphia. I know first hand when the teams do well, the city is a little nicer. You would talk about the Phillies with total strangers. The summer of 1993 was the best sports season of my life. I read the Phillies Bloggers now and I can see that joy and happiness.

I could never just pick a random team to root for. If I stopped being an Eagles fan, I would have to just watch the national game. I would watch football, but I would not have a team to rally root for.

In the end, if you love Cincinnati you cannot stop being a Bengals fan. Even if you hate the ownership, you still will love the team. That is one of the curses of being a sports fan.

3. A recent father who has never been into sports wants to know how do you get into sports without the nostalgia and childhood excitement that most fans have? - My advice if you want to learn about sports is try to make friends who are also into sports. I watched a friend become a football and baseball fan. He did it by hanging around with other fans and watching games with other fans. I know not all fans want to hang out with someone who does not know much about sports, but there are a lot of use who love to explain sports to people. I would start with the friends you already have, even if you are not close with them.

If you like to read, there are tons of books about sports. Find books about the teams you want to learn. Maybe books that only released in the market of the home team. The more you know the better. I think the narrative about sports is something that is interesting to adult fans.

4. Before World War II Baseball, Boxing, and Horse Racing were the most popular sports in America. Now the top three are Football, Basketball, Baseball are the time three. In 50 year there will be a different sports landscape of top sports or are these three sports too intrenched? - I think there is a really good chance other sports could be the top three in 50 years. One big change in the last fifty years was the fall of the single event sports, like boxing and horse racing. The Indy 500 was surpassed NASCAR because a single event was passed by a series of races.

A big reason in the shift in sports landscape in the shift in the way people consume sports. Boxing and Horse racing where great radio sports. They would also shoot these sports on film and tour them around and country. These are both sports that you can really enjoy even if you know the final results.

I think the top three sports in 50 years are already around. It will not be a Baseketball situation where a totally new sport will come about and just take over the world. It is really hard to predict what these sports will be. We see sports grow a lot to go from a nitch sport to into the mainstream, but cracking the upper ranks is really hard.

Back in 1999 you could foresee golf taking over because of the popularity of Tiger Woods, but in the decade after Tiger Woods there were no golfer who where close to his star power. In the Mid-2000's NASCAR seemed to be ready to shoot into the top, but NASCAR had a number of issues by the start of the Great Rescission that caused a decline. A few years ago it looked like MMA would also shoot into the top of American Sports. MMA has not declined, but the growth has slowed a lot. The top UFC PPV was back in 2009.

I think how sports is delivered will have a lot to do with which sports are popular. Television and Cable Television has changed the sports landscape to a large degree. Without cable television, extreme sports would never had the same kind of mainstream appeal they have right now. I think college football's growth has a lot to do with being able to watch over 100 hours of college football games every weekend on an average cable system.

Up to this point, the United States has been able to be an isolated sports environment. There are international players in our leagues, but there are not international leagues. There are no mainstream American teams playing teams from other countries in league play. If a league can bridge that gap, that could change the landscape in unforeseen ways.

If the internet replaces cable television, what will be the sports people want to watch on the internet? Will it change the kind of sports people are willing to pay money to see? How will leagues generate revenue in an internet distribution world? These are the factors that will determine the top sports.

5. Debate going to a live Sporting Event vs. the world of big screen HD sports viewing - I watch a lot of baseball on television. I do not have the money to go to that many baseball games. The most baseball games I have gone to in a season is 20. I think going to the games every once in a while to get the feel of the game. Seeing sports in person feels different. There is a level of group fan experence you only get live. It is best when you see a winning team play live.

I am not a huge fan of seeing NFL game live. I have a real problem with how many drunk people there are at an NFL game. It is to the point where my wife felt unsafe at a 94ers game because of the number of drunk fans. I think this has to do with the once a week nature of NFL games. People go there at dawn and start tailgating. This would keep me from going to another NFL game.

On some level to be a fan of a team, you need to watch that team with other fans. The best way to do that is the see the game at the teams home stadium.


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