On relevance

Alderson doesn’t have to be told that all of this has caused the Mets to have become irrelevant. To change that, the manager is going to be a most important part of the process. The Mets’ hierarchy all decided that Collins, twice fired, with no postseason games on his managerial resume, is the right man to make them relevant again. There is nothing to suggest he isn’t just another retread manager and not the kind of difference-maker the organization so desperately needs.

Bill Madden, N.Y. Daily News.

What does Madden mean by “relevant” here?

I feel like the term is thrown about by sportswriters and talk-radio hosts pretty frequently, and I’m never sure exactly what it means. I mean, I know what the word “relevant” means, I just don’t know when it pertains to sports teams. Is it just a stand-in for “worth writing about”?

Does Sandy Alderson really know that the Mets are irrelevant, and should he be charged with restoring their relevance? Seems like he should work on making them better, to hell with everything else.

Does “relevant” just mean good, though? Because if Madden’s saying, “Sandy Alderson knows the Mets have not been that good the last few years and he should try to make them good,” then I agree wholeheartedly. I don’t think the manager really is a most important part of that process, but I’m willing to agree to disagree on that point.

I’m pretty sure when the Jets hired Rex Ryan, people said he made them relevant again. Is that because he filled up columns with his bravado and made sportswriters all over the Metro area forget the snoozefest press conferences of the Eric Mangini Era? Or is that because he helped make the Jets good?

I should mention that none of these questions is rhetorical. I really want to know what everyone means when they say a team is relevant or irrelevant, how it’s different from good or bad, and why it matters.

Because if we’re to define relevant as “having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand,” as Merriam-Webster does, and the matter at hand is New York sports or the consciousness of the New York sports fan, then the Mets and Jets are perpetually relevant as far as I’m concerned. Since I root for those teams and follow them closely regardless of whether they win or lose, they always have significant and demonstrable bearing on me — at least in as much as any sports team can.

10 thoughts on “On relevance

  1. It just seems pretty clear that many media and fans still have this ‘back page’ mentality, where they still see headline grabbing as important.

    You comparison to Rex is a good one. People constanly during the managerial search brought up Rex Ryan and how he energized the fan base and chnaged the culture. I agree he did that, but it wasnt because of his commemts, his attitude or any of that, its because he got the team winning.

    If Rex and all his glory came in and the team still sucked, all the other stuff would still be irrelevant.

    • I agree with Theresa. I think at least originally it meant that a team was relevant to the discussion of who would win a championship.

      But like so many other trendy words it was adopted by everyone with a pen/keyboard/teleprompter readily and crammed into spots it didn’t belong sapping it of its original strength and meaning.

      Its like poise with Sanchize or more recently fiery with Backman.

  2. Someone else who has been fired and has no major league postseason appearances, let alone major league games, on his resume?

    You guessed it. Frank Stallo-er, Wally Backman.

  3. Was Torre hired to make the Yankees “relevant”? what about Bobby Cox? Lou Piniella was supposed to make the Devil Rays “relevant” and again with the Cubs. Torre then was supposed to make the Dodgers “relevant”. How did that work out?

    The only thing I’m seeing as “irrelevant” is guys like Bill Madden from the Daily News and his buddies from the Post and Newsday. I’ve stopped even checking their Websites or even caring about anything they have to write about.

    There is a reason why the Mets Blogisphear has taken off. I get better reads and information by scanning sportspyder.com. If guys like Buster Olney and Heyman aren’t careful, their next on irrelevant list.

    Take away their press passes and their “an decision/agreement could come as early as tomorrow” (or maybe never at all)they have nothing on any blogger out there.

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