Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why Do I Still Watch Pardon the Interruption?

I've been DVRing PTI for the last few years. I don't watch it every day – in fact, if I don't watch it the same day it airs, I'll delete it – but, it's a fine simple-minded diversion for those of us who live in a town without a decent sports-talk radio presence.

Sadly, for sports fans, PTI lost its relevance a long time ago. Hard to believe that hosts Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser were once considered entertaining in that irreverent old-man kind of way. These days, they spend 30 minutes coddling their favorites (Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, any sports league in bed with ESPN); reveling in their ignorance (hockey) and ranting against anything invented after 1865 (blogs, newfangled baseball stats).

Yesterday, however, I couldn't turn away.

Y'see, anytime Kornheiser works a Monday Night Football outside of the Washington DC metro area, he takes Tuesday off. In recent weeks, this has meant a guest spot from Dan LeBatard – a polarizing personality, but one I find tremendously insightful. LeBatard doesn't buy into silliness of "grit" and "chemistry-leads-to-winning" and he's not afraid to challenge the lazy ways of today's sports journalism.

Instead of LeBatard, we got erstwhile Sports Illustrated writer Rick Reilly.

Reilly is probably a whole other post. Since coming over to ESPN last year, he's been given the "back page" gig with their branded magazine AND he's been eased into a recurring role on television.

Now, I know it's cliché for anonymous bloggers to bash broadcasters, but Reilly is simply all…kinds…of awful. Yesterday, he and Wilbon vomited nonsense on three baseball issues that I happen to know a little bit about:

On Tim Lincecum: The Giants phenom won the Cy Young Award in the National League. He was absolutely the best starting pitcher in the NL last year, but Reilly and Wilbon were practically apoplectic at the selection. Like most morons, they looked at Brandon Webb's 22 wins and stopped right there. After that, they threw out Brad Lidge and CC Sabathia as names that were also more deserving.

On Matt Holliday: Reilly's home base is Denver, so you'd think he'd have some special insight on the trade moving the slugging OF to Oakland. His lament that the Rockies were getting "nothing in return" isn't the least bit surprising in its stupidity. Now, I wouldn't expect any national sports columnist to know anyone on the A's, but come on. There are still a few hundred people out there who think journalists and sportscasters have credibility.

On the San Diego Padres: Wilbon mispronounced the surname of Padres' owner John Moores, while Reilly recycled the same lame stadium joke he used two minutes earlier about the Rockies to describe a reason why Padres fans should come watch the home team.

I just don't know if I can watch this show anymore. This week.


JPinAZ said...

Be thankful, they could have put in Bill Simmons instead.

And why do you think a sport columnist would be any more of a "journalist" than a regular reporter?

Mathan said...

I've got to admit that I'm a fan of P.T.I.. I listen to the podcast on my way to work.

But in fairness the only other place I get sports info is on this very blog. So clearly I need my sports to filtered though a white guy and a Black guy arguing.

nicka said...

A good litmus test of how bad Reilly is my wife's (who has no idea about any of this stuff) comment regarding the same episode;

"That guy sounds like Michael Scott on the Office...not just his voice but with how hard he's trying to be funny but clearly isn't. The ther guy is pretending to laugh."