Column: VMAs? Not for me, not anymore

On Sunday night, I was overcome with a severe and acute case of “grandpa-itis.” If my deepest fears are confirmed, there is no cure and no doubt about it—I’m getting old.


On Sunday night, Sports Editor Mike Smith caught a little of the MTV Video Music Awards. In less than five minutes, the broadcast had him scrambling for the relative safety of a Dodgers versus Red Sox game. Photos Courtesy and

These bouts of pre-geriatricsim have occurred more frequently over the past year or so. From watching Ken Griffey Jr., perhaps the finest, most exciting baseball player of my childhood getting inducted into the Mariners Hall-of-Fame, to seeing Mike Tyson—once the baddest man on the planet—now reduced to a doughy middle-aged husk of himself making comic relief appearances in movies and television shows—I’m faced with constant reminders that I’m no longer a spring chicken, as they say.

But as I found out the other night, my grandpa-itis isn’t necessarily about age.

I was doing some work in my living room, with the Red Sox/Dodgers game on the television, when I decided to hop on Facebook—Do the kids still Facebook?—as a bit of a break. My news feed was inundated with posts, by my contemporaries, mind you, about what was happening at the VMAs.

Did you see Gaga’s wigs?
Did Taylor Swift say something mean about Harry Styles?
Bruno Mars is killing it!
Now, in my teenaged years, I was a huge, huge fan of MTV’s award shows. I tuned in to see the performances, the irreverence, the stars; these shows were an event. Now, I know that these shows are packaged to the teen audience, so when I stopped watching, probably in my college years, I never gave it a second thought.

But seeing all the hoopla on Facebook, posted by people my own age, I had to flip to MTV—after first looking up what channel MTV is on—to see if I was missing something important.
I wasn’t.

I was lucky enough—I guess—to catch Miley Cyrus’ performance, one which still had the Internet buzzing on Monday morning. Now, I’m not into the pearl-clutching or moralizing on her decidedly raunchy dance routine that seemingly horrified half the audience as well as most of the online world. I’ve seen that done 1,000 times from Madonna to Britney Spears—and back to Madonna again. But her kinetic, tongue-wagging, off-putting performance reminded me again why I stopped watching the VMAs.

MTV isn’t trying to hook the 28-year-old male demographic. The heavily packaged and calculated “edgy” routines do nothing for me at this point. Maybe I’ve grown curmudgeonly in my old age, but that was enough for me to turn back to ESPN, to the soothing—some say slow—pace of a baseball game, something I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow.

If only the game wasn’t on ESPN. I could have used a little Vin Scully as a palate-cleanser.

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About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.