I've got a love/hate relationship with NPR. Mostly love, because without NPR our radio airwaves would be a vast wasteland of mindless commercialism, commercialism, and other terrible isms. NPR is essentially the only radio network that engages in actual journalism. For which I love them.
Among the things I hate are NPR's hourly obsession with employment and economic data, and their insistence on retaining pundits far beyond the point at which they're more than occasionally interesting. For example? Frank Deford, who's been mailing in his weekly commentaries for a long time. He's not on the radio because he's doing good work; he's on the radio because he's Frank Deford. Same goes for Cokie Roberts and Andrei Codrescu and various other NPR veterans. And don't get me started on the Car Talk guys!
In fairness, though, this morning Deford talked about baseball and he got it right:
In baseball, there is always one other long-term prediction, namely that baseball is dying. The non-baseball experts have been bleating this for years, because, they say, baseball is too slow and doesn't appeal to young people. Of course, the young people it wasn't supposed to appeal to when baseball first allegedly started dying are now old people buying tickets and taking young people to games, but so it goes.
I've been saying this for years. But I must, again in the interest of fairness, mention that the baseball experts have also been bleating this for years, going back to at least the 1960s, when the experts were absolutely terrified by the televised triumphs of professional football.
But oh, those predictions. This year most of the experts are picking the Nationals and the Rays, which means that Washington, D.C., and Tampa Bay will definitely not be in the World Series.
Wait, the baseball experts are picking the Rays? Last I checked, they weren't even favored to win their own division, let alone their league. The Rays are a pretty good pick for a wild card, especially if you're into dark horses. But they're hardly favored, are they?