Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bill Simmons is a Genius

Now, I realize I've been neglecting my Blog for some time. However, the SportsGuy wrote something in the mail bag this week that has left me giggling. (Yes, I said giggling.) It was clearly necessary to share, as the question and answer goes back and reminds me of reading his original ALCS 2004 articles, and again reading them in Now I can Die in Peace. (see The Nation's Independence Day, where Simmons' hate has nearly reached its pique, only to explode to new proportions..."We would have felt more confident with that cushion, but the announcers were determined to avoid any Yankees talk and concentrate solely on how the Sox could blow the game. They dragged out every disturbing statistic, every Babe Ruth sign, every negative Boston playoff memory they could find. I'm not positive on this, but I think McCarver and Buck started a "1918!" chant at one point. So yeah, we were a little uneasy. ")

Q: How much crueler can that ABC crew get? With the Cavs down 14 with four minutes to play against Detroit (Game 7), they start showing a montage of all the stomach-punch moments Cleveland has endured over the years. Cleveland fans have had enough, you don't need to kick 'em when they're down.-- Brett, Los Gatos, Calif.
SG: I couldn't agree more -- thought the same thing as I was watching that game, and only because I'm conditioned to notice this stuff after enduring two solid decades of Babe Ruth footage during every nationally televised Red Sox game before the night of October 27, 2004. Now that I'm an alumnus of the whole "let's kick them in the collective groin when they're down" form of sports television production, I can look at it a little more objectively -- it doesn't make me angry or homicidal anymore, I just end up feeling sorry for the fans who are being tormented. It's an incredibly manipulative and insensitive TV device; even worse, it's unoriginal.
"Yeah, if the Cavs fall behind, wait until the game slips away, then we'll show all the bad playoff moments, that will really bang the moment home!"
Actually, no. Here's what it does: All the fans from that city end up hating you. For instance, I will always hate Fox and Joe Buck for what they inflicted on Red Sox fans during the 2003 and 2004 playoffs -- they went out of their way to play the Curse/Babe card, there was no dignity to it, and it was almost pathological in its frequency. I will never forgive them for it. And yeah, I know there's a need for TV networks to dumb the broadcast down for casual fans, someone who might not realize that Babe Ruth once played for the Red Sox (But seriously, by 2003, did anyone NOT know about that?) and I'm sure there's a ghoulish charm to showing the Babe's face over and over again. But I still hate them for it. And I'm sure Cavs fans felt the same way about ABC on Sunday.
I look at it this way: In the big scheme of things, sports doesn't matter nearly as much as we make it seem on a daily basis, although I do believe that it serves a beneficial overall purpose that ranks somewhere between the polio vaccine and Mr. Skin's Web site. At the same time, it DOES matter to people. Too much, sometimes. So when a group of fans is suffering through a traumatic moment -- in this case, the end of a season -- and a network is rubbing it in with footage of other traumatic moments involving these same fans, it's really sort of mean-spirited, isn't it? What's fun about that? Imagine if this happened with other moments in life? Like, you just found out that the sewage pipe in your house burst, and the Roto Rooter guy is telling you, "Yeah, it looks like it's going to be 10 grand to fix it ... and while you're digesting that doozy, let's recap every other horrible thing that's happened with this house! In September of 2004, you had just finished your playroom in the basement when we had some flooding and it was destroyed by water damage! What about April 2005, when you found out you had termites! And who can forget Thanksgiving in 2002 when your Uncle Chuck nearly choked to death in the dining room!"
I mean, would that EVER happen? So stop it, major TV networks. Just stop. We're begging you.

I don't know which I enjoy more, Simmons' blatant hate of Joe Buck or his pleading with the major TV networks. Nah! It's the SportsGuy. Him hating Joe Buck always makes me laugh.

PS-If you don't already own Simmons' book, check out this review.
PPS-Sara and Colleen went to the Cubs game on Saturday. However, I was SURE it was Friday, and called them to find out about Zambrano's no-hitter...Only to have it broken up MID CALL! Then the Cubs went and blew the game!!!

I somehow feel responsible for another portion of the Cubs' bad luck. What they REALLY need is a 12 year old pitcher with a rubber elbow, ala Rookie of the Year. Meanwhile, Sara and Col saw the Cubs lose in a pitchers' duel between Horacio Ramirez of the Braves and Sean Marshall. I would have preferred the near No-No.

No comments: