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It’s not a well-known fact, but Ronald Reagan invented the participation trophy. The widely derided award, given out for just showing up, was unwittingly conceived by the President most known for gumption, tenacity and patriotism.
Reagan inherited a country in the 80’s that was in a bit of free fall. Unemployment was rampant, manufacturing was of poor quality and rapidly being shipped off to foreign nations. And as a country, we just sucked across the board.
But Reagan knew how to cheer everyone up. He would tell them they were great anyway. He was going to make America Great Again whether we deserved it or not. And he did. Reagan informed everyone that the USA was the greatest country on the planet and we deserved better. He wasn’t totally wrong: America is the greatest country this world has ever seen. But he was mistaken in telling the lazy and infantile citizens that they were special when they were not.
Reagan gave everyone a participation trophy when he should have told everyone to get their lard asses back to work to truly Make America Great Again. But he didn’t. He just told the people what they wanted to hear and everything continued to swirl the drain.
And because a supposed great man let everyone believe things were fantastic when they weren’t, we have been set on a course that we may never return from. If you are one of those people who think everyone is too sensitive these days, you can thank Ronald Reagan for that. By emboldening the weak minded masses with a false sense of self-worth, you can’t tell anyone the truth anymore.
Americans are lazy whiners who don’t want to hear honesty even if it would improve things in their lives, country or world. And in this state of denial, we have constructed for ourselves, the overly Politically Correct culture had its genesis. I’m great. Reagan told me so. Now give me what I deserve and don’t tell me anything I don’t want to hear.
And over 35 years later, Reagan’s participation trophy attitude has finally seeped down to my enjoyment of Rockies games on the radio.
The fifth inning of Rockies games on KOA has long been sponsored by the distinguished liquor store, Applejack Wine and Spirits. This is told to you as the inning gets underway and as most of you know, at the conclusion of the fifth, a simple message was relayed: “You just heard the bottom of the fifth. If you’re at the bottom of your fifth, visit us at Applejack Wine and Spirts.”
This tagline, whether meant to be or not, was wildly hilarious and has become legendary. So much so that Denver comedian, Adam Cayton-Holland, one of the stars of TruTv’s Those Who Can’t, had a part of his standup act dedicated to it. Everyone who has listened to the Rockies on the radio knows Applejack’s “Bottom of the Fifth” line.
But not anymore.
Now the ad simply says “you just heard the bottom of the fifth, which is the perfect time to mention Applejack has great deals on…” and they just go on like we didn’t notice this gaping void in our lives. Why has this beloved staple of Rockies games been taken from us?
Alcohol is still worshipped in the US more than Beyoncé even though changing times have shed light on the massive alcohol problem Americans have. And maybe the people at Applejack decided the ad could be construed as urging someone to drive to their store –after drinking the rest of their fifth – and buying more. If that was the case, I get why they may have decided to change it, but they didn’t need to.
Maybe someone complained, but the decision ultimately had to have come from Applejack itself. You know KOA wouldn’t turn any ad copy down as long as the check cashed and it didn’t conflict with its pro-fracking, pro-beef agenda. Applejack must have come to the decision that as a company, it should have a more responsible attitude toward alcohol.
But some things are too iconic to change and it’s a shame they altered a long time standard of the Rockies broadcast when they didn’t need to. And now it just seems weird and empty when that last out is recorded in the fifth.
Reagan was just telling people what they wanted to hear, much like any politician. But on the way to filling people with pride about their failing country, he gave them the green light to live in a state of denial about any personal liabilities they brought to the American table. And from that state of denial came a lack of personal responsibility that trickles down to us even today. And for an ad on a station like KOA to succumb to the overly sensitive world we live in, it says volumes. If you have a problem with alcohol, get help. But you can handle a goofy radio ad talking about empty booze bottles. It may be too late for America, but it’s not too late to Make Rockies Radio Great Again and we can all reach that fabled bottom of the fifth together.