Friday, November 14, 2008

Item! Manufacturing sports opinions is not journalism

I'm listening to Thursday's Pardon the Interruption via the podcast and I simply cannot take it anymore. Analysts, writers and announcers are killing sports. Wilbon is riffing about "clutch" (defined as "he hits the shot when his team needs offense") players in recent NBA history. These are Paul Pierce (discussion of whom kicked off this whole thing), Moses Malone, Reggie Miller, Dwyane Wade and Dennis Johnson. He glossed right over Bird and—laughably!—Jordan (I guess Craig Ehlo wasn't consulted). How many championships did Miller clutchify for himself against Jordan? How many championships did Jordan single-handedly win? It's insane that people forget how good he was.

The context of this whole bag of nonsense was: would you rather have a player like Kobe/LeBron (like how I switched to first names there?) who can score at will against the world, or Pierce (I am not bashing Pierce here, he turned the corner with every Celtics fan last year, and he's inexorably fun to watch, let's just be realistic) who can selectively/intermittently come up big? I'm no basketball scientician but it seems to be the sport where it's most common for one great player to lead his team to success. So I'll take the player who's great seventy-five times out of eighty-two, thanks.

More anger: watching one of the all-time most exciting football games I can remember, Pats–Jets, Thursday night. The Sanctimonious Christopher X. Collinsworth and some other dude are calling it on the NFL Network, your home for programming I'm excited to have but never watch. Pats are down big, game seems hopeless early, but our man Cassel remembers what team he plays for and turns it into a nail-biter. The bad guys won, but what a game.

Highlight was naturally Randy Moss's exceptional game-tying catch at the end of regulation. Seconds earlier, Collinsworth was all "Moss is lazy. He is a lazy dog. Watch this replay of the last play. What a dog he is. Look at that, he's lying on the ground! Who does he think he is? He never even won a Super Bowl. I didn't either but I'm white, and I'll be damned if anyone ever calls a white athlete lazy. People would rather stick their tongues right up David Eckstein's gritty asshole than pretend a non-white man can selflessly hustle. I mean, have you seen Manny Ramirez? That guy should get a haircut. Touchdown, Randy Moss." (Verbatim.)

Lastly, the Fire Joe Morgan guys are hanging it up! So long to one of the few sources of common sense and realism in sports media commentary. Drag. If only there were commercials where coaches' postgame press conferences were edited into a bunch of hilarious out-of-context quotes in a way that told me what kind of beer to drink.