Yakety Yak, Don’t Talk Back

Just finish cleanin’ up your room
Let’s see that dust fly with that broom
Get all that garbage out of sight
Or you don’t go out Friday night
Yakety yak (don’t talk back)

                                                – The Coasters

When I’m driving, I tend to listen to talk radio.  Since I tire very quickly of someone else attempting to instruct me on how I should think regarding the social, cultural, and political issues of the day; I eschew the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, and Alan Colmes.

My ears are mostly tuned in to sports talk radio.

I live in a large metropolitan area, home to three professional sports franchises, multiple Division I college athletic programs, and two 24/7 sports talk radio stations.  A veritable cornucopia of athletic news and views is available for my listening pleasure.

My commute to and from work is not a long one, but those 20-30 minutes allow me to catch up on who’s winning and losing, which already over-paid professional athlete is holding out for more cash, and which college athletic program/coach/player is currently under investigation for NCAA violations of one type or another.

You know, all of the really important stuff about sports in America.

One of the local stations occasionally cites its practice of being “listener friendly“, meaning that callers to the station can expect that their points of view will not be met with the derision, ridicule, and mockery which they might receive if they called that “other sports talk station across town“.

I’ll be honest and tell you that most of the time, the hosts do maintain a listener friendly environment.  But there are times when this policy is tossed like a rag doll into the corner.

One topic of discussion which is guaranteed to generate differing opinions is the support, or lack thereof, shown to our local professional sports teams.  One sports talk host in particular seems to believe that the local populace has a inherit responsibility to turn out in droves for all of the local teams’ home games.  Several times, the listener friendly atmosphere has dissipated in a puff of smoke when callers have expressed opinions failing to recognize the fan’s obligation to put their butts into the stadium seats.

Have you attended a professional sporting event lately? Have you shelled out $75.00 for one of the “cheap” seats? Have you coughed up $8.00 for a beer and $7.50 for a hot dog with nothing on it?

If I was a “caller” rather than just a “listener”, I might throw all caution to the wind and phone in my opinion on this subject.  I’d suggest that professional sports is a business just like any other and that if the quality of the product is not there, the consuming public is unlikely to spend their hard earned cash to obtain it.

If there is any obligation or responsibility associated with professional sports, it is that of the team’s owners and players to provide a product which is valued by their potential customer base; aka “fans“.

I might also suggest to the sports talk hosts that they open their eyes to the economic realities facing many who might enjoy taking in a game, but aren’t sure when their next paycheck might be forthcoming.

Too often lately, the big news in professional athletics is that of another round of “billionaires (owners) arguing with millionaires (players)“.

I often wonder if they realize that they are, figuratively speaking, working in a pie factory and getting to eat the pie.

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