On the Tuesday of Super Bowl week, the NFL holds its now infamous media day. In recent years it gets most of its attention for antics, nonsense, and questions that have nothing to do with the actual football game. As reporters from non-sports outlets such as TMZ have inserted themselves and sparked a number of non-football topics and sound bites, players and coaches are forced to prepare for questions that have nothing to do with their professions (and also people in wedding dresses and other costumes).
The Colorado Rockies will find themselves in a similar situation as their season gets started. They will not have to deal with non-sports media outlets, but they will face questions that have nothing to do with baseball. Why? Because at this moment the team finds itself with connections to the two most-over-hyped stories on the NFL landscape.
1. So Todd, can you give us any inside information on Peyton Manning’s status? Is he healthy? Is he going to retire?
As every Rockies fan knows, Todd Helton was Peyton Manning’s back-up at the University of Tennessee. What I did not realize until this past season is that the two remain close friends, with Manning visiting Helton in Denver during the 2011 season and attending a game at Coors Field. With that in mind, I imagine Helton can expect this question from any national reporter that might speak to him in the first months of Spring Training and the season. Even if part of his future has been decided by then, people will still grasp for any headline about Manning because he will be the primary talking point on ESPN and other sports talk moving forward.
Don’t believe me? Go check the front page of ESPN.com right now. The top headline notes that Peyton Manning said he “feels good” and expects to play. What else would he say? Doesn’t anybody with common sense recognize that as a complete non-answer? Now imagine this headline: Helton says he expects his friend Manning to pick a team soon. I can actually hear reporters everywhere salivating at the thought of acquiring that “scoop.”
Of course we all know Todd Helton is too soft-spoken and savvy to ever give a “juicy” answer like that. If anything we can assume Helton will grow annoyed that people keep asking him the same tired question. But if he ever did slip he would guarantee himself and the Rockies a mention on the front page of every single national sports web site.
2. (For any Rockies player) What do you think of Tim Tebow?
The Denver Broncos quarterback guarantees traffic, whether you are talking about viewers or readers. Every person who might have an opinion on his merits as a quarterback or as a leader or just as a presence in the world will be asked for it. Being in the same city the Rockies players should brace themselves for a fringe role in Tebowmania.
To be fair some strands of this question will actually strike a chord with baseball fans in Colorado. I actually do want to know what Troy Tulowitzki thinks of Tebow’s leadership skills. More importantly I want to know if the Rockies understand that Denver is a football city again. They had a small window to tighten their grip on the fans’ attention, to insist with no uncertainty that it was now a baseball city. Then 2011 happened, followed by Tebowmania, and the Broncos come first once again. Entering the new season I do want to know if the players appreciate that development, if they have a sense of the pulse of their fans. In that sense the Tebow question can actually be spun into an interesting baseball question.
It is a fine line though, with the territory known as nonsense within view. I do not care what any Rockies player thinks of Tebow’s throwing motion. I do not care if they think that Broncos management should declare him the starter or look elsewhere for a quarterback. And I really do not care if the Rockies players plan on selecting him in their fantasy football drafts. I hope the players appropriately deflect those types of questions and keep the focus on the task at hand.