Thursday, October 27th, 2016

The missing rebuttal to Costas NOW


I’m watching Costas NOW on HBO discuss sports talk radio and sports blogs. There seems to be two complaints:
1) They’re so negative.
2) They’re not “accredited journalists.”

They need to get over themselves.

I lost all respect for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sports section, and Drew Olsen in particular, when I read what a cancer Chuckie Carr was to the Milwaukee Brewers after he left the team. While he was with the team, there was no story. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other Wisconsin newspapers with sports sections are so institutionally tied to the sports that they are covering that they do no real coverage at all. These supposedly “accredited journalists” couldn’t even find steroids in a locker room when baseball and football were awash in the stuff.

Yet they’re great at reporting rumors (or even making stuff up) that will make a nice headline, complete with a “look inside” on the front page. How many times did ESPN retire Brett Favre? How many trade rumors are reported that turn out not to be true? How many single-source anonymous references make it into sports coverage?

They aren’t even experts in the subjects they cover. Want proof? This football season watch how many of these “experts” who get paid to watch 40-plus hours of football, get paid to get inside information on the teams, get paid to analyze each game, do worse than 50-50 on making game predictions. If the guy who runs your office pool does better than half the writers at CBS Sportsline, there’s something wrong with the writers at CBS Sportsline.

So I’m watching Costas NOW on HBO and the “experts” they have on the show complaining about sports blogs and sports talk radio and I want to ask them, “So how did the Chicago Tribune, a leading American newspaper, not report on the blow-up doll in the Chicago White Sox clubhouse?”

“If sports talk radio is so bad, why did (accredited journalists) Tony Kornheiser and Dan Patrick want to do it?”

“If Michael Wilbon is so concerned about the integrity of sports journalism, why is he appearing on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption?”

“Why did Bob Costas pick Mitch Albom, who was caught making stuff up, as a character witness for accredited journalists?

“Tell me, Buzz Bissinger, if blogs are `the dumbing down’ of America, how dumb would I have to be to read the sports section in most newspapers? And I’ll add, how dumb would I have to be to ever listen to you talk again?”

“Finally, if sports journalists are so informative, why do fans prefer to listen to ex-atheletes describe a game instead?”

I want to get back to the issue of steroids. Barbara Barker of Newsday wrote of the Chicago White Sox blow-up doll,

Now, there are some out there who will point out that what the White Sox did is OK because it is something that happened inside the clubhouse, not out in a dugout or on the field. While I agree that in our society the locker room has long been revered as a sacred retreat of protracted adolescence, there is one thing you have to understand about a Major League clubhouse: It is not a private place.

A Major League Baseball clubhouse is not like the locker room at your health club. It is not like the locker room at your high school. For at least three hours a day, it is a place of business: For players, for team personnel, for sports writers, for cameramen, for anchorpeople, it is the place they go to do their job.

Three hours a day, by her count, journalists are in the clubhouse. And that’s just when they’re supposed to be. And in all those years, all those hours in the clubhouses, all those accredited journalists, all those atheletes using performance-enhancing drugs, and only one story was ever dug up in that era when one reporter happened to see a bottle of something in Mark McGwire’s locker? Despite all those “accredited journalists” following McGwire during the home run record chase, only one looked over his shoulder to see what was in the locker behind him?

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