It’s a pretty simple formula. Say something over and over again and sooner or later it becomes fact among the common public. The more people believe something, the more they drown out the logical ones who question it.
If you continue to show Derek Jeter needlessly cutting off a ball on its way to home plate and Jeremy Giambi idiotically refusing to slide in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on “Top 10” lists above walkoff homers in the World Series, and people begin to believe it was one of the greatest plays of all time.
The more people see the clip, the more people overrate Jeter’s defensive ability. The more people overrate Jeter’s defensive ability, the more undeserving awards he gets and so on and so forth.
It all starts with making a list. All media outlets are guilty of it. There’s nothing easier for a person to read than a list; no information or reasoning, but rather just a list. The power of a list is incredible. Nothing will make a fan more irate or give a fan the “I told you so,” fuel like a list.
I, for one, have given up on the sports’ lists a long time ago. I will look at them, sigh and move on with my life. Although my fingers will shake over the keyboard with the want to scream at the overrating of Curt Schilling pitching seven innings with some blood on his sock or Jeter taking 10 steps to dive into the stands or David Freese using Nelson Cruz’s horrible defense to tie a World Series game, I stop myself. I will resist throwing things at my television listening to John Kruk, Skip Bayless or Steve Berthiaume drooling with words like “clutch,” “gutsy,” “scrappy,” and “grinder.”
These lists do nothing but force stereotypes on fans. A “web gem” doesn’t mean a player is good defensively. A good defensive player doesn’t necessarily need to make a “web gem” because he or she gets to a ball without the need to dive or can throw the ball to first without having to jump in the air.
So we should not respect the players who make athletic plays look easy because they are more talented than the athletes who have to dive for everything?
It’s disrespectful to sports to narrow the entire history to a few plays or performances and try to state that a certain play is the greatest play or a certain performance is the greatest performance as if it’s a fact.
They sure are easy to read and write though.