Episode XI – “Find the Black Tom Brady”

This week, we’re joined by Ryan Landry for a discussion on entertainment and sports culture.

Brought to you by Anthony DeMarco and Nick B. Steves, Ascending the Tower is a podcast distributed by Social Matter and represents the latest project of the Hestia Society. Please leave feedback in the comments, and if you’d like to get in touch with Anthony DeMarco, you can find him at: survivingbabel@gmail.com

Editor’s Note: From this point on, all episodes will be released in a single file instead of split files for longer episodes. This will save me 3-4 hours of editing time per episode. I appreciate your understanding. – A.D.

1:37 – Winterchan
4:06 – Introducing Ryan Landry
8:48 – The emerging Entertainment Culture
14:02 – Arguments against “Sportsball” fandom
19:22 – Sports and community
31:59 – The false geek/jock dichotomy
42:15 – The symbiosis of Sport and Media
59:07 – Prog Race Narratives vs. Reality
1:10:37 – Negative portrayals of White athletes
1:20:30 – Shoehorning Women into Sports Media
1:28:00 – Out of Left Field – Sports League Collapse?
1:41:28 – Ethnic origins of basketball

Related Show Links:

Opening Music: “Qosqo” by DavidKBD (excerpt)

Closing Music: “Deadly akoustik” by Schizophrenic

Ryan Landry’s blog

Watching your team lose drops your T levels

The absence of white cornerbacks

Classic John Rocker quotes

Women gets “mind raped” in a locker room, files suit

The Malice at the Palace


If you are interested in sponsoring Ascending the Tower, e-mail me at Surviving Babel at gmail dot com. Sponsorships start at $10 an episode, and all proceeds will either go back into the podcast or provide some compensation for your most grateful host. You can purchase a mention or short message, or you can choose to sponsor the Out of Left Field question or even an entire episode.

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  1. I’m surprised you couldn’t name any more African-American MLB players. Off the top of my head I could think of Jason Heyward, the Upton brothers, Brandon Phillips, Dexter Fowler, Curtis Granderson, Ryan Howard, David Price, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Adam Jones, Lorenzo Cain, Terrance Gore, Jarrod Dyson, Prince Fielder, Torii Hunter, Chris Carter, Denard Span…you get the idea, I’ll stop. Also, I think CC Sabathia was a product of the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Program, so I assume he’s a non-Hispanic black. But I could be wrong on that.

    Of course, the black players in baseball tend to have less of the “thug” element, since they tend to have more solid upbringings. I remember watching the NBA Draft years ago, and it seemed like for every player that had his name called, they’d cut to a shot of his proud mother (no father) looking on, and she would have a different surname than him. I was younger and more naive at the time, and didn’t understand why that was.

    And in hockey, the blacks who play are White-presenting guys like P.K. Subban.

  2. I can’t name all that many MLB players in general. Ryan and Anthony might’ve known better. But I think our point was that there certainly seems to be (and this is an empirical question) fewer African American baseball players than there used to be.

  3. I know that for many years there’s been talk about the decline of the African-American ballplayer. I first became aware of the issue 10 years ago, when someone pointed out that the Houston Astros, who won the National League pennant, didn’t have any American blacks on their roster (which I hadn’t even noticed). Then the articles started appearing.

    I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but my impression is that there was a lull period for blacks in baseball, but that in recent years there’s been a slight resurgence. While we’re probably not going to see blacks make up a quarter of MLB players, as I believe was the case in the ’70s, there’ll still be a significant number of them out there for the time being.

    1. Why would anybody care how many blacks there are in baseball? I don’t see people raising a stink about how few whites, Asians, or Hispanics there are in the NBA.

  4. I enjoyed the podcast – it was good listening after a heavy Friday night. I learnt a lot more about American sports too.

  5. Despite my edgy disdain/signaling for bouncyball in its various forms, I enjoyed this podcast – learned something new. Thanks bros

  6. I just listened to this as I’ve been making my way back through the archives while at work.

    For sports, I think a valid objection is that every individual person only has a finite amount of emotional energy to give, and I see sports as diversionary. Whether or not your team of assembled strangers, coached by a non-native, playing in the stadium paid for by a multinational corporation beats the other, very little changes in life. Of course one could say this about most politics, but there’s a reason election coverage is so similar in tone and tenor as sports analysis. I’d say it’s at least a bit more legitimate as a form of entertainment and tribalism rolled into one. Of course my feelings about sports are tempered by the fact I was a student athlete for 6 years and dutifully watch the American Rugby team get humiliated every 4 years.

    I think the tendency of sports to focus tribalism and martial tendencies into less self-interested and local or direct activities is indeed quite ancient as noted by Babylon in the podcast. Panem et Circenses was instituted during one of the most unstable of Roman dynasties for a reason. I think I’d rather see the time, resources, and emotional investment that goes into supporting symbols of post-modern individualism (a quarterback who grew up in Milwaukee, went to school in Auburn, and lives in San Diego is somehow capable of representing New York or elsewhere, for instance) rather than more worthy and immediate causes.

    – See more at: http://www.socialmatter.net/2015/12/09/weimerica-weekly-episode-3/#comment-22379

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