In what sounds like a budding sports version of the Wurster/Scharpling creation Charles R. Martin, the Boston Globe’s Don Aucoin gets all swoony over 12-year blogger Alex Reimer.
Steroids saved baseball. A TV network would be smart to hire loose cannon Mike Tyson as a boxing commentator. ESPN baseball analyst Joe Morgan is boring. Sportscaster Joe Buck is a robot. College basketball analyst Dick Vitale is an idiot. And one more thing: ”True fans can’t get into Fenway Park anymore, because stupid bandwagon fans bring their bimbo girlfriends and leave by the fifth inning.”
These are among the many, many views of Alex Reimer, a 12-year-old sports savant and multimedia pundit of sorts. If you want to debate him, you’ll want to get your facts straight first. And buckle your seatbelt.
”I wanted my voice to be heard,” Alex explains in his family’s dining room, a few feet away from the computer where he writes the blog that shot him to quasi-fame. ”I wanted people to know that a kid can know as much as an adult.”
Just a few months ago, Alex’s encyclopedic knowledge of sports was known only to family and friends. To his frustration, the sixth-grader had been rebuffed in his efforts to get on the air of a local sports-radio station. But as a child of the Internet age, Alex knew that when the doors of the old media are closed to you, you turn to the new media.
So in February he launched Alex’s Sports Blog, an online forum where he began to draw a following by opining on everything from the NFL draft to NCAA basketball to the declining fortunes of the New York Yankees. Then, a few weeks after he entered the blogosphere, Alex called AOL’s ”Sports Bloggers Live,” a new Internet radio show with a national audience. The show’s hosts reacted with baffled amusement to the high-pitched voice on the other end of the line, but then they heard a torrent of opinions — carefully reasoned, historically informed, eloquently argued — pouring out of their preadolescent caller.
Listeners began inundating Mottram with instant messages about the wunderkind. ”Is this kid for real?” queried one. ”He’s Howard Cosell reincarnated.” Another declared that Alex was ”the Freddie Adu of bloggers.” He acquired the nickname ”Alex the Phenom.” One listener wrote in to say: ”The phenom rocks. It’s like Dan Patrick on helium.”
Alex is compulsively blunt; even his praise can have bite. For instance, to illustrate his contention that part of baseball’s glory is that it doesn’t require a certain physique, he says: ”Look at David Ortiz. He’s in terrible shape, and he’s still really good.” Though he has found other outlets, Alex remains annoyed that WEEI has declined to let him on the air (like many other call-in stations, WEEI has a policy against taking on-air calls from listeners under 18). ”The people that call in are such idiots,” Alex fumes. ”I don’t know why they don’t let me call in.”
Far be it for me to rain on young Alex’s parade, but he’s hardly the only precocious sports blogger out there. For instance, Baseball Musings’ David Pinto is a remarkably skilled writer for an 11 year old.