Down in the comments section to an earlier post, the mysterious figure known as Ward York — and by his delicious and nutritious work here — mentioned a dissatisfaction that all of us sports media overconsumers have probably felt at least once (every day). I’ll quote him here: “Why I continue to let the 40-watt sports media world (blog or non-blog) actively disappoint me on a regular basis is beyond me.” He was responding to some typically hail-fellow imbecility from The Sports Bro, in this case from Simmons’ send-off for Deadspin’s Will Leitch. But “Ward” could’ve been referring to any number of big problems in the sports discourse, blog and non-blog.
The one that’s been on my mind of late is how much it is less a discourse than a deafening, concurrent series of ill-considered monologues. In response to those monologues come (sometimes a great many) comments that replicate them almost identically; not questions, not really engagements with the source-post, not even really comments in any meaningful way: just sort of instant homages to both the original post and the commenter himself. I’m aware that this is a pretty broad criticism, and I know that I myself haven’t always done much to change or elevate the dialogue — as long as there are jokes to be made involving a nude Rick Majerus or meandering maunderings about Robinson Cancel and Iron Maiden fans to be written, I’ll be there, like some under-edited Tom Joad with a tendency to place too much importance on Mets wins or losses.
I know, too, those posts are, often, as much about me as they are about what I’m writing about. But I feel that this writing thing (what I do everyday, for a living) has to be a give-and-take, fundamentally: I’m writing (or usually paraphrasing and excerpting, here) for readers to read, because I think or hope that the imagined You might find it interesting/good/bad/whatever. We can’t talk these things over the way we might in a bar, for the most part — and I know you already know this, what I’m writing right now — but that’s what the comments section is for, right? That’s usually what it’s used for here, at least, when it’s used. That attempt at closeness, at remote conversation, seems to me a pretty good justification for the internet in general: it can, even if it doesn’t always, help us communicate with each other; it enables conversations that otherwise couldn’t happen. It’s also good for porn and LOL Animals or whatever, but I prefer the conversational element. (Except when I’m feeling like looking at porn) (then I prefer to be left alone)
Where bad sports blogs — bad blogs in general — let us down is where bad conversations let us down: the person we’re communicating with (or reading) either isn’t interesting or interested enough. Juvenile is juvenile (is Juvenile), and for the most part I don’t spend a lot of time reading blogs that I know aren’t going to add much value to my experience as a reader or sports fan or thinking human being. That’s more Gerard’s thing — the guy’s brain just cannot be satisfied, and so (as far as I can tell) he reads everything, good and bad. And sometimes he sends me stuff to post, when he’s out of range (as he is today, for the most part). And sometimes they are so bad…
Which brings me, late, to my subject. As part of Will Leitch Appreciation Week at Deadspin, the outgoing editor had on e last email exchange with highly compensated Imus-stroker and x-treme blog skeptic Buzz Bissinger. It’s here, it’s probably 8,000 words long, and I’m not going to excerpt it. I wouldn’t even really recommend you read it.
But I can’t help but think it’s some kind of defining statement: two guys in a vacuum, neither with much in the way of insight or even really much interest in what the other’s saying, reiterating the same doofy points they made a couple months ago on TV — points, for one extra dollop of absurdity on top of this shabby sundae, that both reflect the same failing. Which is: a blinkered inability or unwillingness or disinterest to see things through any perspective but their own, and in any way other than “how does this relate to me.”
There are some new twists in this new twist — we find out, for instance, that the hilariously thin-skinned Bissinger thinks that the commenters at Deadspin aren’t as funny as former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell (really), even though both curse a lot — but fundamentally, that’s it. It’s basically, still, two guys talking about themselves in each other’s general direction. I think it explains why I don’t get much enjoyment from either guy’s work (and I have really admired Bissinger’s in the past, and have found his recent magazine stuff really, really terrible). The reason being that it’s fundamentally not for me, or really any reader, and not about much other than the author. This doesn’t necessarily apply to Will’s quick-hit shit on the blog — it’s hard to be very good or very bad in 75 words — but I think his rise to demi-celebrity and facile fan-positive populism (or whatever you want to call his faux-naive worldview) definitely reflects that; Bissinger’s outlandish capacity for taking offense and newfound unwillingness to be surprised by a story he’s reporting (both of which are on great display here) sure does.
I don’t know which one of these guys is more to blame for the poverty of this particular non-conversation (I’d give the edge to Buzz), but I don’t think it matters much. What matters (maybe) is the conversation itself: in its stunning inadequacy in terms of baseline communication, and its amazing poverty of vision, empathy or insight, it’s an instant classic of bloggy non-discourse.
TSN.ca reports that the Anaheim Mighty Ducks placed Todd Bertuzzi on waivers today with the ultimate intention of buying out the remaining year of the two-year, eight-million-dollar contract he signed last summer. It’s difficult to stomach one of the NHL’s true class acts being without a home, but I imagine some team direly in need of a once-dominant power forward with crippled confidence will give Bert his fifth home in four years.
I must admit that the possibility of Bertuzzi and Rangers super-pest and pending free agent Sean Avery landing on the same team is tantalizing. Imagine the potential increase in merchandising revenue from fans hoping to deface their new jerseys. Somebody call Gary Bettman. Hell, he might even create a new expansion franchise for the occasion, since Penguins agitator Jarkko Ruttu is also available.
Perhaps the oddest sports book ever written stars John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Seriously. “Sports” is a soft cover “written” by conceptualist Kenneth Goldsmith for Make Now publications. It is, start to finish, the full transcription, ad-reads and promos included, of the WCBS-AM broadcast of the Aug. 18, 2006 Yanks-Red Sox, a nine-inning game that lasted 4:45.
Thus, the book begins with, “1-800 LAW-CASH reminds you that this copyrighted broadcast is presented by authority of the …” and, 119 pages later, closes with, “Goes to Rivera covering. In time for the out. Ball game over! The Yankees win! The Yankees win!”
At $16.50 it would make the perfect gift for, umm, John Sterling.
A March 2008 interview with Goldsmith about “Sports” can be heard here.
Here’s when I knew you had the sports blogosphere by the balls: When you gave a soccer column to an editor at Harper Collins, then that same editor signed you to a book deal … and nobody made a big deal about it or brought up the blatant conflict of interest. That was amazing.
That CSTB isn’t on Simmons’ blogroll is neither offensive nor surprising. But if a connected, culturally savvy guy like Bill isn’t reading Gawker anymore either….I might finally have found something in common with him. Besides the deep appreciation for Eddie Vedder and Adam Duritz, that is.
(much like the rest of us, the finest American-born hockey player of his generation cannot pick his friends)
Earlier this morning when I referenced the ’08 NBA Draft, I mistakenly claimed the venue was Madison Square Garden. Actually, the event took place at the adjacent WaMu Theatre, because the World’s Most Dysfunctional Arena was otherwise occupied, as Dave Scheid from Where Is The Hotel? reminds us.
i saw this from the blog:
“How enraged was the mob at MSG last night? Even Jeff Lageman was booing the Knicks™ selection of Danilo Gallinari at no. 6 overall.”
and i thought. “oh shit! wow… why was gerard at the pearl jam show last night”.
in the middle of the show ed ved tells a little story about being asked to come perform in december for the retirement of brian leetch’s jersey. he’s a big fan, ed says. and looking up in the rafters ed mentions that there aren’t a lot of numbers retired here, so it’s a special honor. and the stage is facing these two giant banners with retired numbers and names. messier, #11. leetch #2. elton john, 60 shows.
and at the end of ed’s speech he says “so brian, we hear you’re a real nice guy and you’re a great athlete. so, this one’s for you #11 Brian Leetch”
then one of the olsen twins threw up on chris martin.
How enraged was the mob at MSG last night? Even Jeff Lageman was booing the Knicks’ selection of Danilo Gallinari at no. 6 overall. While I personally would’ve loved to see New York take a flier on G D.J. Augustin (who might’ve been a stretch at no. 9), I’m still eager to see him regain the consistent form he flashed prior to his sophmore year in Austin . He’ll try to do so in a Bobcats uniform, however, and the Daily News’ Frank Isola predicts the selection of Gallinari means David Lee is a goner.
I™m hearing that the Knicks could be working on a deal with the Charlotte Bobcats to acquire point guard Raymond Felton for Lee, who played for Bobcats coach Larry Brown.
When Mike D™Antoni coached the Phoenix Suns he gave the front office a the thumbs-down to drafting Lee because he felt that Lee wasn™t a good enough shooter.
If Brown’s that commited to acquiring young talent he previously stunted nutured, surely Memphis would consider trading Darko Milicic?
While the majority of you are presuamably enjoying the NBA draft this evening, I’m at Keyspan Park watching a crucial NY-Penn League clash between The ‘Lil Wilpons and the division leading Aberdeen Ironbirds. Someone’s handed out Thunderstix and for the love of God, I would like to know why.
The ‘Clones are leading, 3-0, in the top of the 4th, former UNC-Wilmington hurler Brad Holt having allowed no hits during his 2nd professional start. First round draft pick Ike Davis doubled in his first pro at bat, and Ryan “How Many Fingers Am I Holding Up?” Church has singled and doubled with one RBI thus far. Church is playing right field tonight, despite earlier reports he’d DH. Brooklyn’s A/V dept has resisted the temptation to play the Classic Ruins’ “The Room Starts Spinning” prior to either of Church’s plate appearances, which is just as well. It’s probably dizzying enough for the Mets outfielder to be in close proximity to such a high percentage of Jews, and he needs all the support he can get.
(UPDATE : after beating out a chopper to 2nd for a cranium-rattling infield hit in his 3rd AB, Church was lifted for a pinch runner. What’s more, there’s an ad in the Cyclones program for Rabbi Harry Hertzberg —- “a rabbi who can re-connect you to your Judaism”. If I don’t make it to O.J. Mayo or Liz Phair’s big parties tonight, you can assume Rabbi Harry and I had much to discuss.)
Alan Green : “Hey…you…sit down. Sit down. I thought they were professionals here. I thought you had to be a professional to be accredited for a European Championship…..yes,you. Sit down! Just go home, son…..”
Graham Taylor : “I should let the listeners know this gentleman is 6′ 7″…”
Friends in the Bay Area tell me that John Madden’s morning KCBS call-ins from bus stations around the country have recently included his vote for Bob Costas as MLB commissioner. Personally, I can’t see a commissioner shorter than the word “commissioner” itself, but who am I to argue with a licensed Xbox character? My first thought is that no way would the MLB owners choose a journalist as commissioner. After all, the idea that a multi-billion-dollar industry could somehow use a fanboy network tv commentator as a mouthpiece to just tow a company line … inconceivable. Still, given Costa’s recent defense of Roger Clemens while continuing to scapegoat Barry Bonds post-Mitchell Report, he might just be the voice of reason ownership would want.
Also, welcome aboard new Cub fan Jay Mariotti! For a guy who opened the season by shitting all over the North Side and Fukudome, he’s now decided his hatred of Ozzie Guillien means he needs to suck-up to “classy” Lou Piniella. Ozzie’s complaints about Wrigley set Jay off, complaints also voiced by Mariotti (not to mention me) in the past, but given that Mariotti is as much a batshit hobgoblin “emotional” reporter as Ozzie is an “emotional” manager, I guess you have to excuse his inconsistent mood swings analysis from time to time. At one point in the Ozzie/Jay movie do they finally get that motel room?
Your CSTB Cub Update: as for those of you eagerly awaiting news on Alfonso Soriano’s fractured pinky, the day to day bulletins from Chicago are encouraging. No news on whether he’ll make batting practice, the All-Star game, how this will effect the current Presidential race, or how Soriano’s pinky will help Washington finally move on after Russert … but from the six-weeks of news it’s generating for The Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, there’s obviously a lot resting on that little finger. Only four weeks of bulletins left to go, so enjoy.
With the break approaching, the injury-ridden Cubs are in need of some time off, and I hope they forfeit all their All-Star slots. Fukudome’s bench visit will probably continue today, and lately he’s been joined by Reed Johnson, Zambrano, and the might as well be on the bench Carlos Marmol. Marmol put his first batter on base last night, but apparently watching video of himself with Larry Rothschild helped as he put away the inning and held down the Orioles so that Kerry Wood could maintain a three-run lead for the 7-4 final. Jim Edmonds put the Cubs out front early with a three-run homer and a lead that went unrelinquished for the game, but my vote for the Cubs MVP of the game is Detroit Tiger Gary Sheffield. Sheff put around the winning run in the 9th of last night’s Cards-Tigers game, meaning the Cubs are up 4.5 games on Los Tards.