Full Of Sound And Fury, Signifying Everything

(Video via Awful Announcing.)

Everyone’s up in arms today over last night’s Costas Now, in which Will Leitch basically fended off H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger and Bob Costas as they ranted about blogging’s abusive tone and profane writing.  Bissinger’s particular diatribe reeks of a noxious sort of desperation, one that a writer of his talent should never have had to feel so insecure as to express on television.

Blogs are basically a means of open expression, whether used for journalism, comedy, or opinion, and this applies to the sports world.  I am mystified by folks like Bissinger, Costas, and MIchael Wilbon, who seem to be threatened by the medium, considering it part of the downfall of society (how amusing is this hyperbole when it rolls around every decade or so from a generation that cannot stand to see a loss in power, anywhere?) when, by all accounts, the methods and medium of journalism will change dramatically in the upcoming decades, but quality writers and journalists will always be in demand.  This misconception of blogs seeking to “replace” the mainstream media in any form is absolutely ludicrous and really ought to be nipped in the bud.

I can only speak for myself now — as this particular blog is little more than a means to express opinion based on what I watch on TV.  No, my opinion isn’t any more valid than the beat reporter or columnist; I’m a 25-year old liberal arts major whose only print journalism/sportswriting experience is a stint on the high school newspaper.  That’s not why I write about sports or participate in discussions about them online. I don’t think my opinion is any more or less valid than yours. I do it because it’s fun, and it’s part of the interaction of being a fan. Do I (and others) get profane? Yes, although I make an effort to avoid abusive.

The irony of Bissinger’s missive and Costas’ ploy to paint the Internet as a massive repository for the basest impulses of people online is that there are oh so many folks, in print and on your television on a regular basis, who have the capacity and have been more abusive and profane towards athletes than any blogger ever could — and with a significantly larger audience than Deadspin could attract on even its best stats day.  Skip Bayless, Mike Lupica, Mitch Albom (how ironic is it to have the sports world’s Jayson Blair lecture about the ethics of sports journalism on TV; it’s as if everyone forgot he faked a column), Bill Conlin (some pleasant language used towards sabermetric-loving folks), Wallace Matthews (Mr. “15 is the new 30” in trying to brush off Clemens-McCready), and damn near every columnist, commentator, and pundit who gives credence to Roger Clemens yet would not dare give Barry Bonds the benefit of the doubt.

Also include Leonard Shapiro and the talk radio blowhards who gave two cents to the concept that Sean Taylor’s past off-the-field troubles had something to do with his death last year, when he really was protecting his family. Jason Whitlock’s entire oeuvre about the Black KKK, his double-speak and hypocrisy about hip-hop and the misogyny and violence in rap affecting athletes deserves special mention.

Add in every columnist who employs a mindset that allows him or her to slap a thug label on the majority of the NBA because players have tattoos and some even dare to have cornrows or dreadlocks, and who blanches at every incident of violence on the court as a sign that the league as a whole is out of control.

If you don’t mind me saying so, that’s a fuck of a lot of profanity and abuse heaped on by those supposed guardians of the Right Way of doing things.  Glass houses, stones, throwing….right, you know the deal.

Takes on the program: Both Will and AJ from Deadspin, Orson at EDSBS, Brian at Awful Announcing, D-Wil at Sports on My Mind (who agrees with Bissinger), FJM’s Ken Tremendous, The FanHouse’s Michael David Smith, and BDD at KSK (yes, vulgar and profane).

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Stop Being Such A Tease, Billy Packer

Unfortunately, with the Final Four starting tomorrow, we’re gonna get more than an earful of college basketball’s cranky, smarmy old bastard Billy Packer teaming with Mr. Milquetoast himself (Jim Nantz) for what looks to be three of the most competitive games of the college basketball season (this is the bonus of all #1 seeds making it; no one can say on paper than any of these games looks like a blowout.)

Natch, USA Today’s Michael Hiestrand gives us the profile of Packer on the eve of the games — and what’s annoying is that Billy has to be such a damn tease about whether this is his last tournament or not.

Billy Packer, when asked if this NCAA men’s basketball Final Four will be his last on CBS: “Who knows?”

Please, oh please, let it go, Billy — give Raftery, Bilas, someone, anyone who really seems to like and enjoy the game — rather than rag on the selection committee for not picking your favorite ACC teams every year — the chance to call a Final Four. I don’t want someone who’s completely in the tank; criticism is nice, but at some point, when an analyst or announcer sounds like he doesn’t enjoy the job regularly, isn’t it time to say “fuck it” and move on?

That said, I did learn some bizarre things about Packer that make him seem less cranky and more like a bizarre eccentric:

  • Randomly asked more than 100 women if they’d vote for Hillary Clinton
  • Took Picasso ceramics, put them in plexiglass, and made a work desk with them
  • Played golf courses backwards (shoot from green to tee)
  • Started Richard Jewell defense fund because he was sure they had the wrong man in the Olympic bombings (they did)
  • Hired a psychic to find the murder weapon in the O.J. Simpson case

The last one is the one that really sticks out. I’m trying to imagine Billy hiring some Miss Cleo knockoff with bad head-wraps in order to find the knife, and rolling over doing so.

“It’s Time For Dodger Baseball”

In about two hours, that will be the first sentence uttered by a broadcasting legend, and I will swoon through another season of watching the home and divisional games of a team I loathe.

I have previously stated and re-affirmed my man crush on Vin Scully on this here blog, and when he does either decide to retire completely or shuffle off the mortal coil, it will be a great loss to baseball and sport. He has garnered a 95% approval rating in Deadspin’s Media Approval Ratings, and if you don’t like Vin Scully calling a baseball game all by his lonesome, serving as PBP-er and color man at the same time, you also dislike apple pie and America, you filthy pinko Commie.

How much do I love Vin Scully calling baseball games? Here’s how much — if it turned out he needed a soul or two for another hundred years of life or so, I’d consider volunteering.

Enjoy the season, everyone. Stealing Signals recaps will return soon, and I’ll finish the other two division previews soon too.

Cheap Shots #113

Yeah, send your tips, links, cool stuff, etc to s2nblog@gmail.com.

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1:30 PM

More Free Agency Ish: Mostly jacked from PFT again, with more pithy/useless bits from yours truly

  • Tedy Bruschi back with the Pats once again. Necessary.
  • Todd Collins of the miracle run to the playoffs for the Skins re-ups to be Jason Campbell’s back-up.
  • Whither Randy Moss? The Pats need to get him back, obviously. Panthers supposedly in the mix.
  • Josh McCown to the Dolphins. Raiders are fucked (as if they weren’t already, right?)
  • The Bengals might just have themselves a defense at some point. Dealing for Shaun Rogers from the Lions ensures they can at least stop the run.
  • Tatum Bell to replace Julius Jones in Dallas? Could work as a back-up for Marion Barber.
  • Brian Griese suffers ignominious fate as the only QB the Chicago Bears don’t want to hold on to.

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11:45 AM

Just So This Doesn’t Die In the Ether: I’m currently watching pre-season baseball between the Dodgers and the Braves, and someone came back from break early at ESPN and left Peter Gammons’ mic on long enough to hear him say, “I took my steroids this morning.”

MMA Working Way Onto Networks: EliteXC (a UFC competitor) is working out an agreement with CBS. [Sports Media Watch]

NFL Free Agency Ish: Cribbing via Hashmarks and PFT today on this stuff:

  • O-lineman Alan Faneca waiting for offers from Rams, Jets, and 49ers (prob $8 million per year)
  • Bengals safety Madieu Williams now a Viking
  • Giants LB Kawika Mitchell headed upstate to Buff-a-lo to hit some people upside the head with Paul Posluzny
  • Rams and Isaac Bruce part ways
  • Jets’ Jonathan Vilma dealt to Saints — NO needs any defensive personnel it can get its hands on
  • Asante Samuel rumored to head to the Iggles
  • Josh McCown visiting the Fins. This is a “why does anyone care?” entry, but it actually does matter — the flux that the Raiders are perennially in is not a place where JaMarcus Russell is ready to thrive, and having McCown in Oakland was a benefit last season.

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10:30 AM

The Rocket and the FBI: The gov’t agency has opened an investigation into the pitcher; meanwhile, his friends at the Houston Astros aren’t so sure about his personal services contract and presence. The ride is only going to get bumpier. One of the few times I’ve agreed with Skip Bayless: yesterday, he said something about Clemens having built up hero status in much of America on a Favre-like level, explaining why this had gotten so big. [NYT]

Anderson Returning to the Browns: Re-ups for a multi-year deal; fuels more of the “what do we do with Brady Quinn” talk while Quinn has more time to do Subway ads. [ESPN]

Bobby Knight, Analyst: I’m not sure that this will end well. [Awful Announcing]

How Soon Will the Testicles Go to Boston?: Sam Cassell gets himself his buyout and $1.7 million. Has to clear waivers, apparently already destined for the Celtics. [LAT]

Leaving a Noose of a Note: Apparently Golf Network analyst Kelly Tilghman had a noose hanging outside her old home yesterday. Completely beyond the pale, as were her “lynch Tiger” joke comments. [Sports by Brooks]

A Public Service: It’s amazing how little ink or MBs the impending move of the Seattle SuperSonics gets outside of Seattle and/or NBA blogs. If you read this collection of fan letters to Bill Simmons and don’t think the departure is a travesty….I don’t know what to say. [ESPN]

Refuting the Brad Lidge Narrative: Of course, it comes from a Phillies fan, but that doesn’t make it wrong. [Crashburn Alley]

Interviewing Lisa Guerrero: Michael Rand asks the former MNF sideline reporter a few questions. [RandBall]

Happy Birthday!: To this list of folks who were born on a leap year. [You Been Blinded]

Cheap Shots #112

Send your links to s2nblog@gmail.com. They stand a good chance of getting added as this post is updated throughout the day.

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10:45 AM

Fehr Open to HGH Testing: Possibly, if a reliable test can actually be developed. [AP/Yahoo]

Another Take On Wrigley: Contacting a fan from the beyond about the Cubs’ stadium’s previous names. [Foul Balls]

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8:45 AM

Clemens’ Fall From Grace: D-Wil takes his usual insightful look at the parallels currently forming between the Rocket and Barry Bonds. [Sports on My Mind]

Drayton McLane Isn’t Completely Thrilled About the Rocket’s Presence: Actually, he’s probably more concerned with the media presence than Clemens’ particular problems themselves. Bet on that. [AP/ESPN]

Kentucky, Back From The Dead: Wait. You mean after that load of suck early on, Billy Clyde Gillispie has them one game behind the Vols right now in the SEC? Damn. [Sports Lounge Blog]

Reviewing The Continuity of Little Big League: Why, I don’t know, but I found it amusing. [The Money Shot]

Kevin Bacon Just Wants to Dance: Via Deuce of Davenport, we find Mr. Six Degrees at a Knicks game.

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2 AM

Stringer Joins Summitt and Conradt: Rutgers’ women’s hoops coach got her 800th win with a victory over DePaul. Stringer’s path took her from Cheyney State to Iowa, and then to Piscataway. [ESPN]

Spiezio Cut By Cards: Guess there is a limit, and probably having that warrant out after being in rehab didn’t help, so Scott Spiezio is no longer a Cardinal. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Cassell to Celts Not So Inevitable: It figures that Donald Sterling would decide he really wants to win again and may not let Sam Cassell out of his contract. But, that’s completely up to him, no matter how much he decides to fuck up the Clippers yet again. [Boston Globe]

Redskins Cut Lloyd; Still Want Ocho Cinco: I still say it’s a bad idea. [Washington Post]

Sir Charles Will Be With TNT For A While: Good. [The Starting Five]

Pete Carroll’s Now Hawking T-Shirts: Buy one of these “Win Forever” shirts and you too can piss excellence every day while being a demi-god in SoCal! [Sporting Blog]

How To Get The Vols in Line: I fear Pat Summitt. I’m pretty sure that one would work. [EDSBS]

MJ Loses $15K on the Golf Course to LT: Love to be a third in or the caddy for that group, and I hate playing golf. [Palm Beach Post — scroll to the bottom]

Cheap Shots #111

Another Useless Hearing: It’s amazing how huffy Congresscritters can get over drugs in sports, spending another day in an office building with commishes, union heads, and USADA types this morning. Wake me when they show as much concern for more important issues — I could swear there’s a war going on and a housing downturn to deal with. Careful what you wish for with a bill that takes drug testing out of the hands of the individual sports, Rep. Bobby Rush — you want a handle on the testing, you may have to take control of more aspects of the leagues.

Olympic HGH Testing: I believe WADA will have an effective test in time for the Olympics just as much as I believe Olympic athletes who say they aren’t doping. Let’s call it very specious. Someone will be ahead of the test. [AP/SI]

Investigating the Rocket: Reps. Waxman and Davis recommend the Justice Department check further into the story of Roger Clemens. Will it lead to perjury indictments? Don’t know at this point. Clemens is politically connected, and as the past hearing with McNamee went, has too many people on his side to go too quietly. [AP/ESPN]

Apparently The Lessons Post-Josh Hancock Didn’t Take: The fuzz in Irvine has a warrant out of various DUI and hit and run related charges for Cardinals’ utility man Scott Spiezio (who was in rehab during last season, too.)  If St. Louis’ baseball team was a college team, there would certainly be a question about “lack of institutional control.” [TMZ]

R.I.P., Myron Cope: The radio voice of the Steelers passed away; TSW has a nice compilation of links of what made him special. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Black and Gold Tchtchkes]

Randy Johnson Is Not Very Green: The D-backs pitcher zipped in and out of NYC in order to catch one of the three nights at MSG of Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton. Overheard: a band calling itself “JD and the Straight Shot” wanted to open, but the headliners had enough pull to say no. [Sports by Brooks]

Not Too Much Shock About The Vols: Five minutes at the top after Vandy, and some people aren’t particularly shocked. [The Legend of Cecilio Guante]

Why You Don’t Talk Politics While Still Playing: Remember that Jeff Pearlman Page 2 piece on Rangers reliever C.J. Wilson and baseball players not caring much about the election? Well, I wrote last week that there’s a reason athletes don’t do political talk until they’re retired — and Wilson is getting some blowback from the clubhouse. [Dallas Morning News]

Sam Zell Thinks Selling The Naming Rights To Wrigley Will Increase Value: I call this a stunt to get money out of the Wrigley family before selling the team. Certain franchises have so much value tapped into their stadiums and their names — we’re thinking Boston and Fenway, L.A. and Dodger Stadium, and the Yanks and their eponymous digs — that it’s actually counterproductive to re-name it. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Doesn’t Wilbon Have Better Things To Do: Threatening to beat down Dan Steinberg, even jokingly. Hopefully this eventual conflict gets live-streamed somewhere. [DC Sports Bog]

Carter For Salisbury Is An Upgrade

(Sean will have a lot more time on his hands to take bad webcam photos. At least he didn’t aim the camera lower this time.)

So the news came out some time yesterday that Cris Carter, formerly of HBO’s Inside the NFL, picked up a new gig with ESPN (via Awful Announcing.) Natch, that added one more voice to an already overloaded cadre of former players as analysts, and something probably had to give. Thankfully, that something was Sean Salisbury, who will be looking for new employment, and will be very lucky if Fox Sports even gives him a sniff at one of the shows they banish to their cable “network” of sports stations late at night.

I’ll miss some things about the blowhard: the easy, cheap picture message dick jokes his one-week suspension got him, and the even easier shots he invited by his mere presence. However, all that shit is outweighed by his obvious blowhard quality, and the stupid argument segments the producers would put him in with NFL writer John Clayton, who clearly sat on the other side of the camera, exasperated about wasting his time with such idiocy. That plus Salisbury’s tendency to be wrong in the loudest ways possible were less than edearing — if a Deadspin contributor is naming an attempted mock column of frequently incorrect football convention wisdom “The Sean Salisbury Wisdom”, you know you’ve hit a bad path somewhere down the line as an analyst.

All we need is to talk Bil Dwyer out of the stand-up circuit and we’ve got ourselves a BattleBots reunion all set and ready to go, frankly.

(I loved BattleBots, by the way. Don’t you dare fucking judge me.)