Sunday, May 16, 2010

(Double!) Short Bullshit Post

Argh, don't have anything substantial to riff on so I'll just make it short with a couple general complaints. I'll do a full writeup of something shitty later in the week. Suggestions welcome in the comments.

1) This complaint pretty much speaks for itself- Chris Berman hosted Sportscenter tonight. Seriously. First time I've seen him on there in more than a year. Guess what? He was terrible. Fuck that chodemunch. Hacky, unfunny, and unnecessarily drew attention to himself. BACKBACKBACKBACKBACKGAWWWWWWWWNNNNNNNN OH GOD I AM A WORTHLESS PECKERHEAD. I can't believe he used to pretty much be the network's "go to" guy for highlights (like 15, 20 years ago). And I can't believe he still gets to do NFL Live every fall. Thank God MLB network is so good. I can turn to their Baseball Tonight-ish show to get my fix in that department, and reluctantly turn back to ESPN if absolutely necessary for other sports.

2) This is a complaint that requires a little more nuance. Are real horse racing fans as hung up on the fact that there hasn't been a Triple Crown winner in however many years as most major sports websites make them out to be? Do they care that much? Are they desperate for it? The media really makes it seem like it's a huge deal- and if that's the case, I don't think I understand why. I don't care about horse racing (in fact I despise it) so I can't relate directly. But I can relate, at least to some extent, by thinking about how much I care about very rare accomplishments in sports I do like a lot.

When the Patriots went 16-0, I didn't care. Not because I despise the Patriots, but because it's not a big deal to me to see a team accomplish that very rare feat. To make a better example, I don't hate or like the Colts, but I've never been super excited to see them open 10-0, 12-0, whatever. I'm not sitting here, hoping some team goes undefeated for a season just for the sake of it. Doesn't matter to me.

How about someone in baseball hitting .400? That hasn't been done in forever, but it's not like I find myself being really excited when Mauer or someone else is over .400 in June. Whatever. It's just not that compelling to me. Same goes for long hit streaks. Didn't Ryan Zimmerman get to 35 or something last summer? I actually kind of like the Nationals, but I wasn't desperately hoping he'd get into the 50s.

Of course, these analogies are imperfect for a number of reasons. The football one isn't great, because I have a favorite football team, whereas many horse fans hoping for a Triple Crown don't have a favorite and will just root for whoever wins the Kentucky Derby to win the Preakness and Belmont. And the baseball ones are about secondary accomplishments, not winning "championships." But still- are horse racing fans really super hung up on this? Are they desperate to see that accomplishment just for the sake of seeing the accomplishment? Would they feel OK seeing it if it was done by a relatively unimpressive horse against terrible competition, as opposed to an all time great horse against good competition? I don't know. I certainly won't lose sleep about it, but I do wonder.

Long story short: horse racing is fucking stupid and I wish it would leave major sports media coverage forever. Keep it where it belongs: as a place for gambling addicts to squander their last few dimes before telling their wives to divorce them and to please take the kids.


Biggus Rickus said...

I think it's cool when individuals or teams achieve improbable levels of success, so to that extent I care. I don't long to see them happen, aside from the undefeated NFL season. But that's just so I don't have to hear from any member of the '72 Dolphins ever again.

And coverage of horse racing is dumb.

Chris W said...

It's all about the media really for these feats. It's not like people don't care about rare feats, but you're right, I think, Larry, that they don't care that much. But it's something for the media to write about. Especially w/r/t to horse racing.

Think about it--how can ESPN possibly get you to care about the Belmont without the idea of the Triple Crown looming. If you already care about the sport you already care. But if you don't, their impression of it is you only care about the Triple Crown. And let's face it, they're probably right.

Ditto to 16-0. Although individual accomplishments are a little different. If some dude were hitting .395 in August I'd probably be pretty hyped, especially if I liked the dude and he didn't play for Boston.

Tonus said...

I agree about horse racing. It seems to me that it's the one time of the year that it gets any national coverage, so they want to milk the whole triple crown coverage for all it's worth.

For single-season records-chasing, I can understand the excitement because it's something that you can follow from day-to-day or week-to-week. But how do you "follow" something that may only happen once every 30-something years and is usually over after the second week? Or however long it is between the triple crown races.

Plus, it's horse racing. It's not like you're following a team that you grew up with, or a player that you've followed over his career. You get this horse with a stupid name that you've never heard of until now, and you'll never hear of again unless he breaks an ankle and you get all of these human interest stories. There's not much of a personal investment.

Chris W said...

Surely when you say "Horses with stupid names" you're not talking about Seattle Slew!!!

Dylan Murphy said...

I agree. Regular season feats are overrated. If someone managed a 20 game hit streak in the playoffs, then I'd be impressed.

Adam said...

I can believe that Berman was ESPN's go to guy. His schtick and references were what I like to call "1982 cool".

Berman is about as hip as the George Michael Sports Machine.

elliot said...

I hate all records except when my team is breaking them.