Randy Galloway made his mark in the Dallas-Fort Worth media market as the Texas Rangers beat writer for the Dallas Morning News.
As a fellow AL beat writer in the mid-1970s, Galloway's straight-shooting on the Rangers impressed me.
And ethics! Those were so strong that, when in a feud with Rangers owner Brad Corbett, Randy boycotted the free beer available in the media room and started bringing a small cooler with a few Lone Star Longnecks to the press box on those steaming summer nights.
Then, Galloway became a Morning News columnist on all sports subjects. When he lit into the local NFL team, one of the many media protectors of the Cowboys realm dismissed his opinion by sneering:
"Galloway's nothing but a baseball writer."
This had to occur about the same time Galloway was setting off on a sports radio career of enormous success. And he once explained his formula for building that huge radio audience thusly:
"When in doubt, talk Cowboys."
This has become a staple of the American sports media for the past three decades. With no doubt, TV and radio and now podcast hosts pulverize topics concerning the nearest NFL team, plus its rivals and The League in general.
(Unless you're in a sizable portion of the Deep South. Then you talk SEC football and feed the rivalries. I mean, Paul Finebaum: greatest thing to happen in his meteoric media rise was when he got the call from the Bama fan bragging about poisoning Auburn's sacred trees.)
What has disappeared for the most part on general-interest sports shows has been baseball conversation.
The audience numbers justify this, but the various hosts won't announce that as the sole reason for ignoring baseball. And even the main truth — that today's major league game with its plodding pace has become increasingly dull — isn't good enough.
What's required for dismissing the game as a significant topic is to set up Big Baseball as an almost evil force in today's sports universe.
This level of phony outrage reached new heights during the latest work stoppage — this time, an owners' lockout — that came to a halt with a new five-year agreement on Thursday.
The lockout started on Dec. 2 and it took 43 days for the owners to engage the players in preliminary talks for the first time.
This is supposed to serve as an example of Commissioner Rob Manfred's vile motives in these negotiations. Either that, or Manfred and his brain trust realized this:
Tony Clark, the head of the union, had spent five years hearing that he had "lost" the previous negotiation, was dug-in this time. Meaning, the only way to reach an acceptable deal for ownership was for full urgency to set in.
That was the case by Thursday, and a 162-game schedule with full pay was saved — at the cost of three weeks of exhibition games.
And if anyone was out of touch in these negotiations, it was Clark's executive board for the union. They voted 8-0 against accepting Thursday's deal. The big leaguers on the 30 teams, when polled by their player reps, voted 26-4 to accept.
I've been among those suggesting one baseball problem is that Manfred doesn't really like baseball.
The ongoing playoff expansion — 12 teams in 2022, 14 eventually — drives me bonkers. I don't care about the marginal amount of dollars a few more low-rated postseason games bring in TV revenue. The 162-game schedule is supposed to cull out mediocrity (and it has in most seasons).
ManfredBall is dedicated to serving mediocrity, to the ridiculous idea that if the 72-78 Twins are playing the 73-77 Guardians in a weekend series at Target Field in mid-September we're going to draw an extra 10,000 because one of them might finish sixth in the AL.
It's not happening. We're not that stupid.
Definitely, I have Manfred issues, but not him being aware enough that only true urgency was going to lead to a reasonable deal.
We talk about the tens of millions baseball owners are making. We give NFL owners a free pass on the hundreds of millions they are making.
We talk about major league owners being required to boost working conditions and salaries for their minor leaguers. We don't talk about the NFL having a free development program provided by colleges.
We talk about mid-level players, the 29-and-above range losing jobs, as new-age baseball operations drop them in favor of younger, cheaper (and often better) talent. We don't talk enough about the NFL using up a player, then calling him in and saying either, "We're cutting half your salary or you can hit the bricks," or, "Here's your severance check."
This was not evil vs. good. It was a negotiation. Both sides won. Play ball.