Book Review: "The Fix Is In"
“The Fix Is In” by Brian Touhy
c.2010, Feral House $16.95 / $27.95 Canada 319 pages, includes notes
You was robbed.
Okay, maybe not you personally, but your team was. Your guy was clearly on base. Everybody could see his hand touching the bag. Heck, they could probably see it from China, and the ump totally missed the call.
It’s enough to make a fan really mad.
But why? Chances are, you don’t know anybody on “your” team. You don’t know the umpire, the manager, or the team’s owner, either, but they know about you. As you’ll learn in the new book “The Fix is In” by Brian Tuohy, they all had a hand in hooking you on their product.
So a few days ago, you put on your “lucky” shirt and sat down with a stuffed mascot to watch your favorite team on TV. You identify as a fan of “your” team because, says Tuohy, being a fan is to belong to a larger group. There is safety in numbers, whether the team is winning or losing – and for the last one, there’s psychological comfort in grousing together, too.
You can bet, though, that belonging is costing you. That team jersey you wear wasn’t free and, in fact, there’s a reason the team has a new logo. Expensive stadiums are almost always taxpayer funded and don’t benefit the local economy much. Speaking of which, have you actually gone to a game lately? It probably wasn’t cheap…
Tuohy says that today’s sports are all about show business. TV has, for instance, actually changed the way football is played. The NBA added more “excitement” when it became televised. Playing fields are brighter, schedules have been altered, and even team clothing has become TV-friendly. And by the way, instant replay isn’t infallible but it does add controversy, thus fueling the fan’s flames.
And it’s not just the game itself that raises eyebrows. Tuohy says that professional athletes are less likely to go to jail for breaking the law. Organizations are more apt to look the other way when players are caught with illegal substances and, in some cases, drugs seem to be condoned.
And then there are the fumbled or almost-caught balls, NASCAR’s “Call”, the ill-timed leap near the net. Are pro sports sometimes “fixed”? Tuohy says yes, and he should know. Someone in Organized Crime confirmed it.
“The Fix Is In” is a well-considered (and quite controversial) treatise that will be greatly enjoyed by long-suffering spouses and people who hate our collective, near-obsessive focus on The Game. But will it make any difference in the way Sunday afternoons are spent around the continent?
Don’t bet on it.
Still, this book is a clear eye-opener. Author Brian Tuohy peels back the Astroturf to show readers how pro sports have manipulated and hooked fans, how they hook onto those fans’ money, and a few cures, none of which are easy.
Nor will it be easy to read what’s here, but “The Fix Is In” really shouldn’t be missed. If you’re a fan who thinks “the team cares about” you, this book may show you how you’ve been robbed.
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