Sunday, September 23, 2012

Romney Trails President in Swing States

Still Ahead of Baseball in Local Poll

I stopped by a bar in my neighborhood this evening, looking for supper and ESPN's Sunday night game, the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Cincinnati Reds.  Football was on the television at the far end and on the screen above the door was ... Mitt Romney?  Really?

I have resigned myself to the fact that baseball gets bumped off barroom walls in May and June, second and even third in popularity to the NHL and NBA playoffs.  But I could not get my head wrapped around the idea that my neighbors preferred to watch Romney with the sound off, instead of the not-quite-out-of-wild-card-contention Dodgers, up against the Reds, division champions in the National League Central.

I mean, this is Park Slope, where Barack Obama lived briefly with a white girlfriend.  When I moved here towards the end of my marriage, Red emailed in response, "But you're not a lesbian."  There are even more liberal places in this country, but Obama beat McCain here by roughly 100-to-1.

Of course, when I went to 60 Minutes to grab a (fair use) image, I discovered tonight's show featured separate interviews of the president and his challenger.  That changes my reaction a little bit, but just a little.  This is still a neighborhood that, although many of us hoped for more change than we've seen, will vote to re-elect Obama.  And the sound was off.  How many people were actually reading the captioning while enjoying their Spice of Life?

It wasn't just that one bar.  I looked in lots of windows as I walked home and everywhere it was football and Romney, football and Romney, with some screens tuned in to soccer at the Latino place.  I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and sat down to write this.

When WFAN, "Sports Radio 66," pioneered the all-sports format in the late-80s, it changed the relationship New York fans had to sports.  Until then people still got most of their news and opinion from print media.  Television news was largely limited to highlights and the Internet had not yet become a part of many people's daily lives.  Suddenly, local teams and sports in general were discussed for hours a day, every day.

But coverage is seasonal.  As night-time temperatures drop to 50°, the Yankees' race to stay ahead of the Orioles has had to share airtime with the Giants and the Jets.  Other than R.A. Dickey's attempt to win 20 games this season, most news these days about the Mets is eulogistic.  I don't want an all-sports radio station; I want an all-baseball station.  And I want an all-baseball bar!

The folks tuned into Sunday Night Football were watching the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens, neither of which are local.  When the NBA playoffs roll around, it is common for fans to cheer on teams from all over the country.  Basketball is a sport where people root for players, not franchises.  But walk into a neighborhood bar—as opposed to a sports bar with a dozen or more TVs—and ask to see the Dodgers-Reds game and the bartender will ask you why.  "You from there?," they often ask.  It just ain't right.

The Dodgers beat the Reds 5-3, by the way, powered by Adrian Gonzalez in his first multi-home run game of the year.

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