So I was working on today's column this morning, and I started writing a lead item that was just your basic snark: Look at these idiots!
Then I was hit by this weird sensation: After a 2007 that was arguably the Worst Sports Year Ever, I was... totally satisfied with the state of sports -- at least TODAY's state.
MLB is totally intriguing: It is early enough that the novelty of unlikely performances, late-game heroics, free-agent payoffs and everything else are fascinating.
The NBA West is night-in-night-out amazing (ugh: "amazing.") I'm perhaps a little wired from a midnight email I sent to a leading stats-minded blogger who had criticized my "NBA-is-niche-sport" argument from last week. But in constructing that email, I made sure to point out that I can think the NBA is "niche" yet still be a big fan and enjoy this season.
And, come on: It's the Final Four this weekend! And, yes, I have come to terms with Monday's "Final Four is ruined" argument -- I appreciate both the novelty of the all-1-seed situation and the level of talent on the court (even if I think both semis will be decisively won).
All in all (despite stuff like Chris Henry or Arthur Blank or Isiah Thomas still having a job), it's a great day to be a sports fan. I'd like to think that despite my cynical filter, I have always been an optimist -- if definitely not a purist -- about sports.
I think that sensation I felt this morning wasn't as much about reminding myself how good things are in sports this week as much as remind me how bad things were a year ago. I think this week -- not last year -- is closer to the natural state of fandom.
I'm quite sure I will be back to the usual myopic, instant-hysteria perspective tomorrow. Thank you for indulging my trip to 10,000 feet this morning.
Here's a link to today's Sporting News column.