Friday, March 14, 2008

"So, you're not good at sports. It's a very small part of life."

"Sports, sports, sports, sports, sports…" - Homer Simpson in response

I read Bill Simmons' extended piece on the murder of Los Angeles-area prep football star, Jamiel Shaw. Honestly, I'm torn on this one. I was stunned to see ESPN give the story as much coverage as they did, in light of the network's attempt to shoehorn the tragic Eve Carson murder into the Duke v. North Carolina basketball game. (Do we really need someone to die just to "put sports in perspective"?) That said, I'm a little offended at Simmons' juxtaposition of the Shaw murder and the real-life inner city environment with the fictitious HBO series The Wire. Did I miss Simmons' point? Did he have a point?

These days I get a lot more out of than the self-proclaimed WWL's website. In a follow-up to their excellent ranking of all 32 NFL stadiums, they're gathering reader input for their baseball version. (Which, admittedly, ESPN did an excellent job on a few years ago.) I did my civic duty and filled out a survey for San Diego's Petco Park – an antiseptically sterile baseball experience, but not without its charms.

The Brett Favre retirement coverage will not go down as the sports media's finest hour(s). I haven't come across too much balanced coverage, but Paul Zimmerman's look back is as close to accurate as you'll read on this subject. I especially enjoyed his follow-up column as he responded to a heap of negative reader responses. There's also a guy at the San Francisco Chronicle who has his own spin. Not sure I entirely agree with the racial element he raises, but I'm glad that someone is at least suggesting it.

My favorite baseball blog has nothing to do with my favorite team. The guys over at USS Mariner are passionate Seattle fans, but provide a perspective that can be applied to any Major League team. They're probably a little too sabermetric for most, but this post on "replacement level players" is an excellent read.

Speaking of baseball, I'm stunned that anyone actually has a negative opinion of Billy Crystal getting his swing on yesterday. Hell, I can't believe anyone even has an opinion on this. I can remember exactly two spring training "events" in all the years I've been a fan: (1) Michael Jordan's 1994 stint with the White Sox and (2) A's rookie 2B Jose Ortíz hitting on then-Girlfriend Bootleg. Every other year is a blur of split squads, uniform numbers in the 80s and 90s and sh*tty handheld camera "highlights" 56 minutes into Sportscenter.

1 comment:

Mathan said...

Stop hatin'; The Wire is one of television's finest achievements. It's easily the show of the decade, possibly the century and maybe even the millenium.

And I think that point was that the "shocking" and "tragic" death is a part of every day life in many places in the country.

During the final season one of the characters on The Wire makes a comment along the lines of "if all those bodies were white the National Guard would be down here to clean things up."

I think that Simmons was just trying to point out that as "tragic" that death was, it was just a symptom of a more tragic flawed municipal system that tolerates those deaths as acceptable losses.