Monday, July 7, 2008

Why Do I Still Watch The Sports Reporters?

TSR is even pre-programmed onto my DVR. I have no excuse, really. Well, maybe one: I remember watching the show in its infancy back in the late '80s. Twenty years ago, we really believed that guys who asked questions like, "How did it feel to score three touchdowns?" were the only "experts" in sports and that Rafael Santana's Dominican grit was just as important as Darryl Strawberry's ability to hit a baseball.

In 2008, the death of the newspaper industry has exposed sportswriters as an insular, insecure lot who possess a comically hubristic view of their own importance…and exposed Rafael Santana, Darin Erstad and the like as spectacularly sh*tty ballplayers.

But, yes, I still watch TSR. Truth be told, I'll delete it from the DVR without watching it as often as I do watch, but occasionally there are Sundays when the wife and boy take concurrent naps, so what am I gonna do…?

Sunday's panelists were Mike Lupica, Mitch Albom and Bob Ryan. Canadian Negro John Saunders was the moderator.

Topic #1: Venus Williams wins Wimbledon - I was up early with the boy on Saturday and caught most of this contest. I always love watching the Williams sisters play each other (though I've never been even a casual tennis fan). Notwithstanding the zillion reaction shots of their mother in the stands, I enjoyed this one, too.

Of course, the discussion veers to the predictable criticism of the sisters' work ethic, conditioning, dedication, etc. Now, those of you know me know that I'm never the one to unnecessarily drag race into the discussion, but I've always thought Venus and Serena have gotten the short end of the PR stick, simply because they've chosen not to conform to the sports' standards set more than a century ago by fans and media and observers who look nothing like the Williamses.

Neither one kowtows to the press or runs from their ethnicity a la Tiger Woods or Derek Jeter and because Serena and Venus would rather diversify their personal and professional lives with acting or fashion design, they'll never be viewed as "committed" to the sport.

Like, say, Jennifer Capriati.

The whole "Serena is fat" series of articles that came out a year or two ago after a long layoff was all the evidence one needed of the racial divide between an athlete and the a-holes who cover them.

Topic #2: Is Brett Favre coming back? - Whatever. I mean, it's not like anyone didn't see this discussion coming mere moments after Favre's retirement speech was finished. However, there was the notion that Favre might come back this year with a team that wasn't the Packers.

On July 6th.

With about two months to go until the start of the season.


Topic #3: How 'bout them Rays? - Never mind that the statheads over at Baseball Prospectus (among other places) have been predicting the rise of the Rays for the last couple of years based on their phenomenal minor league system…to the mainstream media, Tampa Bay is still a "surprise". BP tagged the team as an 88-90 win squad in the preseason, but those eggheads with their VORPy-MORPy hocus-pocus and non-belief in the pixie dust of David Eckstein, are never acknowledged in the real world of press passes, fedoras and old-timey typewriters.

Why do I still watch this show?


Joe Reid said...

You're right on the merits of the stat-phobic traditional media, but giving credit to the VORP squad for picking the Rays to be good for the last four years and finally being right is kind of like how everyone picks the Arizona Cardinals as their NFL sleeper. Sure, at some point they'll make the playoffs, but we're kind of just playing the odds at this point.

That Bootleg Guy said...

Not surprisingly, I did a lousy job of explaining someone else's position (stupid post-Jalen's bedtime glass of Maker's Mark on the rocks).

Anyways, the VORP guys were actually predicting that the Rays' success "was coming", as opposed to saying 2005, 06, 07 was *the* year. Far as I can tell, 2008 was the first season that those brainiacs were actually calling the Rays contenders.

Although, after further consideration, I'm now with those who genuinely believe that Troy Percival and Cliff Floyd "taught them how to win".

NY Jon said...

Rafael Santana! Traded for Darren Reed and Phil Lombardi, I believe, prior to the '89 season. Sadly, his SS skillzzz couldn't reinvigorate the Yankees in the late '80s.

If only your boy Rickey hadn't "jaked it" towards the end of his run in pinstripes ;)