It's more than cliche that athletes/artists/politicians and anyone else whose primary life function exists in the public eye say they "don't pay attention" to public reaction to said life function. In some instances it's a survival instinct, in others it's a PR move and in others it's a flat out lie.
The one thing that doesn't change from rote quote to rote quote is that you never hear someone pull the "I don't pay attention" card when times are good. Mostly because journalists don't ask the question then. But, Willie Harris of the uberlousy Nats went out of his way this week to tell Dan Steinberg not only does he not care about the bad things fans say, but he also doesn't care about the good stuff.
"We love their support, don't care what they think," he said. "You've got to be like that. If you care about what someone thinks about you, you ain't gonna last long. If every time somebody's talking about you bad, and you care, that'll eat you alive. Right or wrong?"
Snoozy stuff. But Steinberg seems to be quite taken with what Harris says next. It's not even that he lacks the want to engage in public opinion but he lacks the means. Horror of horrors... Willie doesn't use a computer!
(Harris) was saying he doesn't go on the computer, period, full stop. He said he uses the clubhouse computer to leave tickets for friends, but that's it. What about e-mail, I asked.
"I don't have e-mail," he said. "For what? I've got a cell phone. If somebody wants to talk to me, they call."
"Hell no man," he said. "None of that stuff interests me."
See, this isn't some locker room cliche about not reading the newspapers, this is a full-on modern media blackout. Just the same, I tried to tell him some of the good stuff that's out there; that last year, for example, Webby Nats fans were fond of playing Chuck Norris type games with his name, the whole "Superman wears Willie Harris underwear" kind of thing.
"That was last year, though," he said. "Last year was good. Last year's gone. I'm hitting .230. It's ridiculous.
He doesn't get to read Nats based Chuck Norris humor? Why even get up in the morning? I bet he hasn't even seen the flying toaster screensaver where the toasters have a little "W" on side. Natroll'd!
So few athletes have engaged in the internet in any meaningful way that it strikes me as a wonderful move for a guy not to even own one. I see no upside. What jock has done anything good with technology? Shaq? He's an exception. Dude has been digital for 15 years.
No computer, Willie Harris? Bravo. I'm gonna head back to the woods with you.