Mad as Hell: How Sports Got Away from the Fans and How to Get it Back

Overview

From one of sportswriting's best-known commentators comes a manisfesto for the common fan - an explosive exploration, by turns angry and mordantly funny, of the state of contemporary sports, and what we can do about it. We go to the games, we buy the merchandise, we commit ourselves to a team, and what happens? The players leave. The teams leave. The whole sport goes out on strike. And the ticket prices go up. Again. The only thing that's left is the uniforms - if the marketing geniuses haven't changed those too....
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Overview

From one of sportswriting's best-known commentators comes a manisfesto for the common fan - an explosive exploration, by turns angry and mordantly funny, of the state of contemporary sports, and what we can do about it. We go to the games, we buy the merchandise, we commit ourselves to a team, and what happens? The players leave. The teams leave. The whole sport goes out on strike. And the ticket prices go up. Again. The only thing that's left is the uniforms - if the marketing geniuses haven't changed those too. Now nationally known columnist and sportswriter Mike Lupica gives vent to the anger that has permeated so much of contemporary sports discussion, delivering a broadside that not only lays out where we are, but investigates how we got there. Step by step, he explores how the players, the owners, the agents, the commissioners, even his own media, brought us to this state - and then proposes some revolutionary ideas of his own about how fans, individually and together, can make the whole runaway industry sit up and take notice.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Syndicated sports columnist Lupica (Shooting from the Lip, etc.) piles anecdote on top of anecdote to illustrate what he thinks has gone wrong with sports. He criticizes virtually every group associated with sports but plunges his sharpest barbs into sports agents and unions. It is Lupica's contention that the stronger the union, the weaker the sport, and he cites baseball as his proof case. While he acknowledges that for a long period he was more sympathetic toward players than owners, he now thinks the pendulum has swung too far to the players' side. Athletes in all major sports earn salaries ranging from the low six figures to eight figures (yes, that's $100 million over seven years for the likes of basketball player Shaquille O'Neal). The exorbitant amount of money made by the players has made them feel superior to fans, and above the law, according to Lupica. The escalating salaries, coupled with the greed and mismanagement of the owners, has driven ticket prices beyond the means of many middle-class Americans. Even watching sports on television can be difficult, since many of the top events, such as the World Series, start too late for most kids to watch the end of the game, thus not developing the fans of tomorrow. To bring sports back to the public, Lupica urges that fans revitalize a watchdog organization formed by Ralph Nader in 1977 called FANS. He even suggests the person to run FANS if enough support can be generated: Mario Cuomo. For sports fans who think players are greedy, rude and overpaid, and that team owners are an even worse bunch, this is the book for them. (Oct.)
Library Journal
In his ninth book, Lupica, a prominent sports columnist for the New York Daily News and Esquire, rails against free agent players, free agent franchises, and the current big-money sports environment where fans get lost in the shuffle. As always, he writes with verve and humor as well as occasional crudity. In this survey of the whole sordid mess of contemporary big-time sports, each problem identifiedwhether it be players concerned only with saving face or owners holding cities hostage for new stadiumsis countered with proposals for change. Some of these proposals, conceived of by Lupica and others, are more plausible than others. The notion that any politician who suggests spending public money for a sports stadium should be sent to a federal penitentiary is amusing, but obviously said for effect. Provocative and entertaining reading for large sports sections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/96.]John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, N.J.
Booknews
Sports writer Mike Lupica outlines the problems with professional sports in America<-->outrageous ticket prices, the lack of loyalty of players and team owners to the fans, the frequency with which players and even teams are moved, drugs, and corruption, to name a few<-->and suggests ways for fans to improve the situation. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
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. He 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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399142215
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/29/1996
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.82 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Lupica
Mike Lupica
Mike Lupica lives in Connecticut.
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