Monday, June 16, 2008

Sid Hartman is what he is (or, "Where can I read quotes from Viking coaches praising Viking players?")

I've always thought those who criticize the Minnesota sports media as too positive are rather narrow in their view. Sure, there are a lot of homers in the Minnesota media, but there are also a lot of figures who are frequently very critical, cynical, and negative, and there are a whole host of Twin Cities media members that are somewhere in between. I think the "Minnesota media are too positive and homerish" argument has been used too often for critical media members to present themselves as bastions of martyred truth in a sea of positive spin.

But the critics of a homer media can always point to Sid Hartman. If you're a fan of a Minnesota sports fan that just wants to be optimistic, just wants to believe your favorite teams will be good, just wants to believe in the competence of ownership, management, coaching, and players, then you should really only read Sid Hartman. If like Fox Mulder, you just want to believe, Sid's your guy. And if a Minnesota coach says something good about a Minnesota player, it's very likely Sid Hartman will print it without criticism.

If at the end of the 2007 season, you were worried that the Viking wide receivers weren't very good, you didn't need to worry: Sid Hartman talked to the Viking wide receiver coach in February, and he thought those receivers would be good (right here--George Stewart even praised Troy Williamson. One of my favorite stupid sentences ever: "Stewart said he believes that it's unfair to judge Williamson and what he can do in the NFL, because he never has had the same position coach two years in a row." Somehow Williamson's ability to catch two passes in a row is dependent on having the same position coach two years in a row). For some reason, the Vikes still decided to sign a big free agent wide receiver (oddly, when the Vikes signed Bernard Berrian, Hartman wrote about it but didn't say anything like "Wait a minute, wait a minute: George Stewart told me the receivers they already had were good. Why are they wasting their money on Berrian?" No, Hartman used the opportunity to praise ownership).

And now in June, if you have some concerns about the Viking quarterback position, don't worry: Sid Hartman will talk to some Viking coach, and you will read about how good those quarterbacks look (like here).

So the optimistic, full-fledged purple-tinted glasses Viking fans can always turn to Sid Hartman to fuel their wildest hopes. If you want to to hear Darrell Bevell saying good things about Tarvaris Jackson, just go here and read Sid Hartman reporting it.

To be honest, I really don't mind that Sid Hartman does this: he is what he is, and at this point, we all know it. What actually bothers me is when some people cite Hartman as the proof of the overly positive Minnesota media, and therefore justify their own negative cynicism. Sure, point to Hartman. But don't also forget to point out prominent members of the Twin Cities sports media like Pat Reusse, Tom Powers, Jim Souhan, Dan Barreiro, or Dan Cole that are frequently critical, negative, and/or cynical. If you just say something like "the Minnesota media is full of homers, just look at Sid Hartman!" you're engaging in inductive fallacies like exclusion and hasty generalization (of course, as long as we're on logical fallacies, you can go ahead and accuse me of a Straw Man fallacy in this very sentence).

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