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Thursday (The speed of change) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional baseball Updated: October 13, 2011 - 8:54 AM

Reusse wrote today about how fan frustration is at an all-time high. He is not wrong, and we'd like to pick up where he left off. These Twins-less baseball playoffs have afforded us the chance to watch games just as games -- following along on Twitter, too, as we normally would. With less invested, we can watch (and read) with a certain detachment that hopefully qualifies us to say this: We are rapidly becoming a nation that not only thinks the manager is wrong, but that we are right. We are a bunch of amateur instant second-guessers. We no longer have a taste for nuance. We don't want something that failed to be explained. We just want it fixed. Or at least we want to ridicule what went wrong and suggestion Option B was so obviously and clearly superior.

We want Ron Roenicke fired immediately for playing Mark Kotsay in center field (a move that could have worked, and kind of did, but also kind of didn't at the worst time). We want Ron Washington publicly flogged for intentionally walking Miguel Cabrera with nobody on base (a move that could have backfired, and kind of did, but also kind of didn't at the best time). We think we are smarter and that we know better than people who are paid well to do complicated jobs.

We are all guilty.

We are this way because technology has changed us. There is no other way to put it. At some point, the speed of change exceeded our ability to adjust to it, comprehend it or even analyze it. Now constant technological change is just existence. This is not about fearing the change. Some changes are just new and better ways to do great things. Heck, even Reusse is on Twitter -- and he's great at it! Twitter is not the problem. Our favorite thing and least favorite thing about Twitter are the same thing: the instant nature of it.

But this speed of change, which is hurtling us so fast that we cannot stop to understand it, seems to be making us frighteningly entitled. By and large, we have an incredible collective ease of living. We do things in seconds that used to take days. And we expect it to be that way. Some people think it's even OK to randomly hear the theme song to "Saved By the Bell," for example, while they are driving, and become obsessed with what the actress who played Kelly is up to now, and what her real name is. So they pull out an iPhone at 60 mph, in rush hour, because THEY CAN KNOW RIGHT NOW. they didn't need to know. They don't ever need to know, really. But they can. So they do.

When instant gratification becomes the norm, we become incredibly frustrated by things we cannot control. Sports -- glorious sports -- we cannot control. So when we are frustrated by sports, we do the thing that we can control: we complain. Monday Morning Quarterbacking, after several hours of digestion and reflection, makes for good sports debates -- a hallmark of fandom. Instant reaction? It's just making us, as Reusse said, seem very angry.

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