Remember that scene from the 1987 movie "Broadcast News" when nebbish TV reporter Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks) was at home watching breaking news of a military flareup involving Libya while he phoned in tips for coverage to producer Jane Craig (Holly Hunter), who conveyed them word for word to neophyte anchor Tom Grunick (William Hurt), leading Altman to utter the best line in the movie -- "I say it here, it comes out there."
Something along these lines happened on Rush Limbaugh's radio show last week after he cited a Wall Street Journal story on the San Francisco 49ers cutting short their team meetings to provide time for the players to check social media sites through their cell phones or tablets.
Limbaugh said he didn't like where this is heading, followed by him making a specific prediction on Thursday's show --
Well the 49ers are going to reduce all meetings to 30 minutes max with 10 minute breaks between them. The coach said, yeah, we want the players to be able to go grab their phones, do their multi-tasking and get their fix before returning to the next meeting. No, no, the league does not permit cell phones or any of that sort of stuff on the field, sideline included, during games. The league does not -- but if some team figures out, hey, you know, it could help us win. ...
We're heading to the day ... I don't like this, by the way. We're getting to the point where and it ain't gonna be long, running back X scores a touchdown on a crazy play, goes to the sideline, watches the video of himself doing it, and posts it on his Twitter account, and is commenting to people during the game about his TD that he just scored. And then the networks are going to tap into the feed, they're going to be reporting it, and pretty soon there's not going to be any difference in the stage and the audience! And that's when it's all gonna crumble.
Limbaugh didn't have to wait long to see his prediction come true -- merely a matter of hours. Here's how he described it on Friday's show --
Yesterday I was having a little discussion, just kind of a break from the heavy stuff about the new ways the San Francisco 49ers are going to deal with their young millennial team members. And one of the ways they're going to do it, they're going to reduce meeting times, they're going to cut meeting times way back and after the shortened meetings they're going to give all the players a 10-minute break to go get their smart phone fix, so that they can Facebook, so that they can Instagram, so that they can tweet, so that they can find out who's been Instagramming about them! So that they can find out who's been tweeting about them. And then after the 10-minute smart phone fix, then it's back to the next meeting or back to the next on-field practice.
And I made the observation that we're not long, it isn't going to be long before a player on game day is going to be like, running back X, star running back X scores a touchdown, heads back to the sideline, grabs his iPad or iPhone, gets a video of himself scoring and starts tweeting it out. And I said we're going to have the elimination, there's not going to be any difference between the stage and the audience.
And lo and behold it happened last night! It happened! It happened in Boston, well actually in Atlanta, the Boston Red Sox at Turner Field playing the Braves, Red Sox manager John Farrell spoke with reporters because what happened was that the third baseman, Pablo Sandoval -- I still do not understand, by the way, how it is physically possible for Pablo Sandoval to field a ground ball. ... But there he is, he's out there doing it, so the Giants had a great World Series, he goes to the Red Sox in free agency in the off-season, he plays third base for the Red Sox. He went to the bench and Instagrammed one of his great achievements during the game from the bench. He has been -- I called it! I mean, I speculated it was going to happen in the NFL and it happened in major league baseball last night. Here is the Red Sox manager --
JOHN FARRELL: It's disappointing. It's disappointing because it's a rule that is known by all and, like I said, it's very disappointing. It's not tolerable and as a result he's on the bench tonight. The clubhouse is not one that is run amok. This is an incident that I believe is isolated and, like I said, my focus is to continue to do what we can to get better on the field each and every day.
LIMBAUGH: Now the Red Sox are in Kansas City for a weekend series starting tonight and I tell you, this is going to open the floodgates. It's exactly what I was talking about yesterday and it's not going to be long before this is allowed and encouraged because they're not going to be able to stop it, if a whole bunch of pl-, can't suspend a whole team and they can't suspend the starting lineup if the starting lineup endeavors to engage. It's trending in that way and I'm just going to tell you, as a performer, when you blur the line, when you obscure the difference in the stage and the audience you are going to ruin whatever is on the stage, be it baseball, football, a play, a musical on Broadway. When the audience becomes part of what's happening on the stage, it's over. What's happening on the stage is going to cease being special, it's going to cease being unique. And I don't expect most people to agree with that and I frankly don't expect a whole lot of people to understand it.
But you watch, it isn't going to be long before that's going to happen and I'll tell you who, the late arrivals to this are going to be broadcast TV and cable TV rights holders who telecast and broadcast these games, 'cause if a player after accomplishing some great feat during a game can go to the sidelines and immediately tweet and post something about it with pictures and reruns, you're not going to need a TV network to tell you what went on. The player's going to do it himself.
Impressive indeed on El Rushbo's part. If only he would make a prediction with more tangible value, for example, his thoughts on recurring patterns in winning lottery numbers ....