MAD AS HELL: How Sports Got Away from the Fans--And How We Get It Back by Mike Lupica

MAD AS HELL: How Sports Got Away from the Fans--And How We Get It Back

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Nothing new in this angry diatribe from sports columnist and novelist Lupica (Jump, 1995, etc.): Professional athletes and team owners are arrogant, selfish, and greedy; the fans are fed up; and somebody should do something about it. This should be the Golden Age of sports, with more sports and greater access to them than ever before, says Lupica. But it isn't, he continues, because fans are powerless against rising ticket and cable prices and because of escalating salaries for mediocre or ""preening"" players. The modern fan ""feels like someone trapped in an abusive relationship."" He lays part of the blame on free agency, which came for the players in the mid-1970s but has been around a long time for the owners: Seeking better deals, owners like Walter O'Malley can move the beloved Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles with no regard for loyalty or tradition. More recently, Art Modell, in spite of 30 years of sold-out crowds at Cleveland Stadium, betrayed the city and Browns fans and moved to Baltimore. But as for the players' role in alienating fans, the author drags out the usual suspects: Dennis Rodman, Derrick Coleman, Michael Irvin, Albert Belle, Darryl Strawberry--misfits who have repeatedly shown contempt for fans, authority, and their game. Lupica provides statistics of athletes arrested or charged with crimes during 1995: Among them are 160 college football players; 49 professional football players; 21 hockey players. Lupica offers a number of oft-heard solutions: no guaranteed contracts; pay college athletes something--maybe they'll stay in school longer; boycott ""rat owners""; institute a strict Code of Conduct for owners. Most will concur with Lupica's Lament, but his voice is so shrill, and he is often so crude (he says Modell sold the team for the same reason an ""old dog licks his balls. Because he can"") that even the angriest fan will turn away.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1996
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Putnam