The Standings

I don’t know if the Dodgers are in first place.

Actually, I’m more of an American League fan, I’d like to know where the Yankees and Red Sox stand, but I don’t know that either.

And I know the NFL season just began, and I no longer watch because of CTE, but I do want to see how my team, the Broncos, are doing, but I don’t know that either.

You see they removed the standings from the newspaper.

Yes, the physical newspaper. I get three, the “New York Times,” the “Los Angeles Times” and the “Wall Street Journal.” The “Journal” never had sports standings but the other two did.

You’re reading the physical paper? That’s nice, grandpa. But the truth is you see articles you don’t online. Not that I’m not checking the news all day online, at the sites of the three aforementioned outlets as well as the “Guardian,” “Bloomberg” and everything on Apple News+ and even more. But nowhere are the sports standings up front and center like they used to be in the physical newspaper.

That’s one of the reasons I get the physical newspaper. For the quick glance at the standings, I want to know what is happening, what is the score. But those days are through. The papers have excised them for space reasons. Now this is kind of ironic when it comes to the L.A. “Times,” because the paper is so thin already it’s astounding that it doesn’t just fly into the sky. But why even get the physical newspaper if you can’t get the basics, like the standings.

So I went online.

A cursory search on the “New York Times” site did not reveal the standings. For that I had to go to its sister publication, the “Athletic.” I thought I’d find the standings right there on the homepage. That was not true. I had to click multiple times to find the standings.

In other words, if you’re a sports fan, you have to be dedicated to find out where your team stands, and if you’re not a sports fan…you’re clueless, and probably happy being out of the know.


You may not care about sports. But the prevailing opinion, the mainstream story, is that sports are number one in this country of ours. That everybody is salivating over the results of their team. That sports get the highest television ratings. But in truth, you can now ignore sports easily. They don’t even hit you in the face. You’ve got to be an active sports fan to know how your team is doing, what is going on. And if you’re not an active sports fan, you’re out in the wilderness, you’re clueless. As for the casual sports fan, it’s too much work to keep up, too many clicks in a harried world.

But this isn’t about sports. It’s about music. If I don’t know where the Dodgers are in the standings, what are the odds I’ve even heard of your act, never mind heard the music.

Great swaths of the public have never heard a single song on the Spotify Top 50, not a single one. Can’t sing two songs by Taylor Swift, the Weeknd, Morgan Wallen, Beyonce…if they can even name one at all.

This is a radical change from the pre-internet culture. We all listened to the radio, every one of us. Sure, some news only, but most listened to music, and there were few outlets, and we were all aware of the hits.

And then came MTV. A national, then an international rage, if you were on MTV you were famous around the world, the acts from the eighties are still selling prodigious numbers of tickets based on that exposure. Today’s acts, other than the few superstars, will have a very hard time selling that number of tickets forty years later.

Forget misinformation, most people have no idea what is going on in sports, music, politics… They’re not hit in the face with it anymore, it’s not around every corner, every turn. There are those dyed-in-the-wool in a vertical, but that does not mean they know anything about another vertical. They may know sports and be clueless as to music, and vice versa.

Think about it. You may not even have Spotify, so you don’t know what’s in the Top Fifty. And even if you do, you’ve got to click to find this information/playlist. You’ve got to care, and so many do not.

All the information is there if you pull it, but it used to be pushed to you, you could be fairly passive and have a pretty accurate grip on what is going on in America. No longer, to keep up to speed you’ve got to take action, you’ve got to click, you’ve got to research. And that takes a lot of time and effort, and chances are you’re deeply interested in something else, without time for that which used to be in the periphery of your vision but has now fallen off.

We live in a Tower of Babel society, people are more informed, in some cases disinformed, than ever before. But broad knowledge? That’s a thing of the past.

As for education… They’re eliminating liberal arts courses in universities. Because everybody sees college as a training school, where you go to get a job, who needs to have their life enriched?

So so many know so little about what they used to know so much.

The World Series? Used to be a fall rite, played in the fading autumn sunlight, a golden paradise. Now you can’t even remember who played, never mind who won, never mind the endless playoffs in the name of ratings, i.e. money.

Everything has become longer and deeper, which makes it even easier to avoid it. You can’t be a casual fan, there is too much information, never mind you’ve got to gather so much information to gain context.

This is the world we live in.

But everybody keeps telling us we do not. That we still live in a pre-internet world with a center, where we all are aware of certain facts, where we are all in it together, in a cohesive society.

We are not. 

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