Tuesday, December 22, 2015

John Tortorella Couldn’t Get the New York Rangers to Follow His Lead but His Press Conferences Said a Lot About the Media

The Rangers just fired John Tortorella. He refused to yield his style to the makeup of the team roster and got what he deserved. But I'm definitely going to miss his press conferences and not just for the entertainment value.
Why is it necessary - especially in the playoffs - to stick a press conference in the face of an athlete who's just suffered a devastating loss? All you're going to learn is whether an athlete can manage the pain of a loss.
How enlightening. It's like watching a train wreck, and as we judge, most of us would not do much better.
But real train wrecks are probably exciting, and Tortorella's definitely qualify. He was vintage after a brutal loss in last year's playoffs.
Reporter: Did you feel this was the kind of effort you needed to win tonight?
Tortorella: No.
(The final score should have made that obvious.)
Reporter: After the great effort in game four, are you disappointed with what your team brought tonight?
Tortorella: Didn't I answer that the first time?
Apparently not and there's plenty more of that on Youtube.
Of course, the media is definitely serving the fans when we gain insight into the decision making process at crucial junctures in a game. Why was a ball cutoff or how come you passed on that three?
Hearing from the winner probably has value too, but I do not need a coach reluctantly explaining how the defense looked in the first half. "Well, we have to do a better job fighting over screen and switching on the pick and roll."
No kidding and do I really need half the screened blocked off when the interview runs into the third quarter.
Nonetheless, there must be a demand for this. Are we so sure?
As soon as I hear an athlete is about to be interviewed on sports radio, I turn it off. It's not that they have nothing to say, but uttering anything the least bit interesting could find a leadoff hitter awakening from a coma two days later - "Rawlings" knowingly imprinted on their forehead.
Either way, we in New York take pride in the demands made of our athletes, and the relentless reporting of our media verifies our passion. But does it really serve us?
It seems that 27 Yankee championships provide the proof. How then do explain the Knicks, Rangers, Mets, Nets and Jets.
Conversely, The San Antonio Spurs, St. Louis Cardinals, Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils say something all together different…A vigilant media has very little to do with success - especially since an owner can never be fired.
Furthermore, how many athletes have been run out without a fair chance? But New York will never be St. Louis and I'm glad. How pathetic is it that they never boo their own. No matter, a kinder, gentler fan base means little if a player doesn't have the goods.
So where am I going with this? Seeing the Tortorella press conferences gave me delusions of grandeur. Athletes and coaches would follow suit, and we'd be spared the spectacle of the media and leagues thinking that they are delivering something compelling.
Never going to happen, but this all doesn't mean I don't want to take part in the agony. I just believe it's done best through the emotional analysis of the sports radio personality or similarly suffering columnist - not in reveling in the discomfort of the athlete who fell short.

And if all you care about is pain, Ranger season tickets are on sale now.

No comments: