I donâ€™t know how many of you read Mike Oseguedaâ€™s column in the Fresno Bee last Friday, but he doesnâ€™t have a very positive view of Fresno State football.
Not being positive in and of itself is not bad, but the way he broadcast negativity was problematic.
Let’s look at what he has to say.
Not two paragraphs after saying he writes that heâ€™s â€œsteadfast in his apathy toward the Bulldogs,â€ Osegueda adds a list of his observations about the teamâ€™s influence in Fresno.
If Fresnans supported their local cultural arts as they did their local college football team, this city would be a much better place.
Undoubtedly. Thatâ€™s true of the smallest community, if it’s within three counties of a half-reputable sports team â€” no special observation. The football team canâ€™t quite be at fault for being too fun to watch for some people, can it? Thereâ€™s no accounting for taste.
Maybe, just maybe, the football team gains for Fresno State keeps alumni involved. This is good. Alumni have money. Alumni donate to Fresno Stateâ€™s â€˜local cultural arts,â€™ if not also Fresnoâ€™s. At the very least, alumni establish scholarships.
The Bulldogs are part of Fresno State. They give alumni reason to remember their alma mater, and so have improved Fresno State.
Even if Fresno State won 100-0 in its opener against Sacramento State, there’s no reason that should be the lead story on all three 11 o’clock newscasts.
Except the only reason that pretty much ever determines the lead story behind any of the three 11 oâ€™ clock newscasts: news, especially local news, delivers what viewers will want to see.
The lead story particularly is what producers think people want to see most. Fresnans want to know about the â€™Dogs, even if Osegueda doesnâ€™t.
Bulldog-related news can get pretty bad, sometimes â€” like when a horrible â€œBillie Jeanâ€ remake gets its own package â€” but if local channels air it, local channels think people want to see it. Thatâ€™s all thatâ€™s involved.
Not Fresnans â€” and definitely not all Bay Area â€˜transplants,â€™ as Iâ€™m one myself â€” are so disinterested in how wide of a margin Fresno routed Sacramento. He should get over it.
Anyway, if Osegueda watches local news for fair coverage of important things put in perspective, heâ€™s got more problems than a clever comparative clichÃ©.
If the Bulldog gang is such a problem on the streets of Fresno, Fresno State should change its colors and mascot.
I donâ€™t speak with any authority on this, but Iâ€™m pretty sure the gang named itself after the team.
Whoâ€™s to say that the team wouldnâ€™t inspire another mascot-themed gang if the athletic department did go through all the trouble of changing our slowly-but-surely nationally-recognizable mascot?
Just look how fierce the reaction to a new costume was, much less a new mascot.
A new mascot would really disenfranchise alumni, and might inspire a gang just the same. Everything risked, nothing gained.
His apathetic contempt for the team might be understandable, even warranted. But whoâ€™s to say the â€™Dogs havenâ€™t done more good than harm?
Not too long after listing his thin observations, Osegueda tells us about his neighbor â€” a fan complete with a Bulldog flag â€” and how the neighbor is â€œa good guy.â€
That concession only emphasizes the most worrisome bit about this column â€” the tone.
Heâ€™s excessively sarcastic, and Iâ€™m pretty sure itâ€™s on purpose.
My call? He wants e-mail in his inbox, just to see if people are reading. Osegueda wants to incite reaction.
Sure, thatâ€™s no special observation on my part. Columnists have been writing like this since there were columns to write. That doesnâ€™t make shallowly inflammatory writing any easier on the mind.
If he finds this post from an e-mail, or from a mutual friend, or from one of his routine Google searches, all the better. He might learn something about writing with honest delicacy, rather than just feinting it.
If Osegueda reads this, he should keep reading.
Itâ€™s not that you are apathetic to Bulldog football, or that you wrote about it in your column. Itâ€™s more that while you were at it you pushed every button from here to River Park and â€” your neighbor is â€œa good guyâ€ â€” pretended you didnâ€™t.
Bad taste, sir, and poor form. Thereâ€™s no accounting for distaste, but Iâ€™ll make an exception for yours.
Donâ€™t bother e-mailing a response. Itâ€™ll only encourage him.