Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday 05/10 (Very) Quickie

Not so fast, Kobe: The Jazz are an entirely different team when playing in Utah...

MLB: So, yeah, I guess Jimmy Rollins IS pretty valuable...

There might not be a more enjoyable team to follow right now than the Rays (Shields 1-hitter, Longoria game-winning 2-run HR)...

Who turned Ted Lilly (10 Ks) into Carlos Zambrano?...

Richie Sexson suspended 6 games for retaliating to an eye-level pitch...

Rickie Weeks!

Danica Patrick needs driving lessons (actually: she's not taking much blame for her pit-row accident)...

(Just to clarify, per the Comments, this wasn't meant in any way to be a comment on her as a female driver than it was a comment that she is a professional driver. I would have used a same or similar joke if it was one of the male drivers. Regardless, it was the pit crew member's fault, not hers, so chalk it up to a lame attempt at a joke anyway. Should have just linked to the YouTube clip and called it a day!)

Carlisle to Mavs: They might do better than 7th in the West (actually, they likely won't), but don't expect any Finals trips. Over-under before Carlisle is fired: 3 seasons.

-- D.S.

Friday, May 09, 2008

What Is Mainstream Sports Media?

This post was kind of interesting, but probably not in the way that most people are thinking about. Lost in the discussion of MJD is this:

Yahoo Sports IS mainstream sports media.
Deadspin IS mainstream sports media.
AOL FanHouse IS mainstream sports media.

What makes something "mainstream?" It's certainly not the date the technology powering the platform was invented.

I would qualify it two ways: (1) Reach and (2) Influence.

Reach is audience size, and I don't think anyone would dispute the massive audience size of any of those outlets.

Influence is whether what you say has impact; you could either be in front of so many eyeballs directly that you influence them OR you could influence the influencers.

(As any sports-talk-radio or daily-sports-TV producer would tell you, Deadspin is a must-read -- even more for its show-topic ideas than for its entertainment value.)

That doesn't mean that Mottram or MJD or Leitch or MDS (or Brooks or Drew or Ufford) don't have editorial perspectives firmly rooted as "independents" (or whatever the opposite of "mainstream" is... "alternative?")

And that isn't meant to demean them. There is nothing pejorative about "mainstream" -- for all its flaws, most of us would love to have "mainstream" reach and influence.

What those above-mentioned blogs (and certainly others) have done is combined "mainstream" access with "indie" spirit; it's something that "typically" mainstream sports outlets have tried to -- or want to -- capture, but can't almost by necessity.

I think that part of what made Buzz Bissinger so nervous was that he recognized the growing reach and influence of blogs within the mainstream, displacing legacy mainstream sports media (as I went into at length last week).

But the future of sports media -- mainstream or otherwise -- lies clearly with the talented folks who can infuse their core independent spirit with their emerging mainstream reach and influence. They might come from blogs or they might be innovative people who are buried within mainstream sports media hierarchies. But talent has a way of bubbling up.

-- D.S.

PS: No stranger to the nexus of mainstream access and indie soul, Dan Steinberg is a little late to the party on Bissinger, but it was worth the wait -- one of my favorite takes of the entire affair. (By the way, I haven't mentioned this really, but I continue to give credit to Bissinger for talking with basically any/every blogger who asks to speak with him on the topic. He even commented on my post about it -- he did: I checked with him to be sure it wasn't one of you loose-cannon commenters that the mainstream defenders are always railing against.)

Friday 05/09 A.M. Quickie:
Spurs, Celtics, Webb, Brawls, Speed Racer

Chin up, friends: We are living through the slowest days/weeks/month of the sports year.

I try to make a game of it in today's Sporting News column:

If you counted the Spurs out after they went down 0-2, you're insane...

LeBron is choking away the East playoffs (Credit the Celtics? Never!)...

Brandon Webb spurs talk of "he's on pace for...": 30 wins isn't on the table, but 25 sure is...

I question the need for baseball "frontier justice" -- knockdowns and retaliations... think Goodell or Stern would put up with that...

And, yes, "Speed Racer" IS a sports movie (at least, if "Days of Thunder" was)...

Bunch more in the column, including a few of the usual suspects (Clemens, Vick, etc.)...

More later.

-- D.S.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Only Baseball Cards I Collect Anymore

The 2008 Update set is here!

Meanwhile, I checked the master list of all-time JML names and noted to JML's director that Ryan Spilborghs wasn't on there (though he should be). Better be there in '09!

(I also expect that the 2009 set will include a very special Gabe Kapler, in addition to an even more exclusive "Tim Tebow, Mohel" card.)

-- D.S.

Thursday 05/08 A.M. Quickie:
Pats, Kobe, Magic, Lee, Votto, More

The Pats are still cheaters. Some want to use yesterday's Walsh tapes situation to argue that the scandal is put to bed, but I think it even more officially diminishes their accomplishments.

That's the lead of today's Sporting News column.

(By the way, if I was a Steelers fan, I would be demanding that my owners -- the venerated Rooneys -- come down a little harder on this than "No big deal." What Would Cuban Do?)

Meanwhile, Kobe must have watched Chris Paul and Kevin Garnett and said, "But I'm the MVP." So he put on an MVP display against the Jazz. The best thing that could happen to the Lakers is for the Hornets to oust the Spurs.

On MLB, here's an interesting debate posed in the question: What is more exciting -- Hitting for the cycle (a la Carlos Gomez) or hitting 3 HR in one game (a la Joey Votto)? SABRmetrically, it's a no-brainer (3 HR). The cycle has more romance, but give me the triple-shot of longball.

There's a lot more in the column today: Barry Zito, Vicente Padilla, Carmelo Anthony, DC United (yes, soccer!), the Olympic torch on Mt. Everest, Alabama State's 600-plus NCAA violations and more. Check it out here.

More later.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wednesday 05/07 A.M. Quickie:
KG, Kobe, Floyd, Idol, APR, More Tebow

KG may not have been named NBA MVP, but he sure put on an MVP performance last night.

That's the lead of my Sporting News column this morning, where I slap Pierce and Allen (and, oh yes, LeBron) for ineffectiveness, before praising KG's series-defining performance.

Considering the stats and the circumstances, it was the worst game of LeBron's career -- and missing the very clear chance to steal Game 1 in Boston (given the Celtics' massive problems on the road in the playoffs) may be the game LeBron regrets most in his career.

It was your average night in MLB: Gavin Floyd almost threw a no-hitter, Josh Hamilton continued to surge through the season, Scott Olsen continued to tempt with his talent (even if he's a bit of a hot-head). Oh, and Joba lost the game for the Yankees in the 9th; time to start him.

I question whether lowering academic standards is worth it if it means taking your football program from chump to champ; I side firmly with David (Cook) over David (Archuleta); and I praise A-Rod for fainting during his daughter's birth.

Oh, and more from the Tebow-circumcision beat. Because that's the greatest story ever.

Here's the link to the column. I'm traveling today, so unlikely to post this afternoon, but I'll see what happens.

UPDATE: If you haven't read Spencer Hall's interview with Buzz Bissinger, it really is one of the best give-and-takes of the past week's Bissinger meme.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tim Tebow and Circumcision

Sorry for the delay on this: Tim Tebow performing circumcisions.

Or should I say: Tim Tebow performing circumcisions!!!

Here is Orson Swindle's must-read take.
Here is Deadspin's take.

And here is MY take:

Is he available to perform at a bris?

-- D.S.

(Honestly, the idea of Tim Tebow as a mohel had me laughing all afternoon yesterday.)

Tuesday 05/06 A.M. Quickie:
CP3, Clemens, Pujols, Clocks, Favre, More

A preview of what you will find in today's Sporting News column:

What did I say about Chris Paul as MVP? (OK, so he's not actually going to be MVP... but he should have been!)

Roger Clemens manages to be even MORE of a d-bag...

The Magic weren't going to win anyway, but the NBA -- and every major league's -- resistance to using technology to make sure that the CALLS ARE CORRECT is aggravating...

Max Scherzer: Perhaps not The Man (yet)...

Albert Pujols' truck from 2B to home: I was 30 feet from it, and it WAS awesome...

The Red Sox are so freaking good. I'm just saying. It's maddening, but it's true...

Ervin Santana or Joe Saunders: Who cracks first?

That Favre jersey kid? I blame the parents...

My Strat-O-Matic season ends as it began: In the cellar...

And more...after the jump!

More later, I'm hoping...

-- D.S.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Monday 05/05 A.M. Quickie:
Eight Belles, Kobe, KG, Benson, Bush, More

In today's Sporting News column:

Why Eight Belles was lucky she was no Barbaro...
Why I can't buy the Celtics...
Why Reggie Bush has reached end-game...
Why Joe Saunders is the new Brandon Webb...
Why Usaim Bolt is the Best. Name. Ever...
And more... after the jump!

More later today.

-- D.S.

Sunday 05/04 (Very) Quickie

The death on the track of Eight Belles was arguably the most dramatic unscripted moment of non-sports sports television in a long time.

When the doctor was interviewed and so decisively (and even casually) said "euthanized," it was shocking, but without the forced build-up of most sports TV. It was just... there.

What it WAS was humane, in a way that we didn't see with Barbaro.

Meanwhile, what a spectacular Game 1 win for the Hornets over the Spurs. What a spectacular moment for David West to have a career-playoff-high of 30. (And what a reality check for the Magic, who got clocked by the Pistons.)

I would pay a lot to see the Hawks shock the Celtics today, but I have zero expectations that it will happen.

Dodgers win 8th straight
Jose Bautista (again!)
Cristian Guzman (6 RBI)
How about Mike Mussina's resurgence
Ted Lilly has 1000 career Ks?
Brandon Webb is unstoppable
Red Sox take it out on James Shields
Chase Utley hits HR No. 13 in a loss
(Yeah, Utley should have been my April NL MVP.)

Mavs close to a deal with Rick Carlisle? Ugh: What an uninspiring choice. More tomorrow in the SN column.

Lost in all the drama, Big Brown's run was one of the most impressive I have ever seen. He rode a LOT further than the horses on the inside of the track, yet still pulled away in the end.

-- D.S.