Monday, June 08, 2009

InClement Weather: You Could Not Be Anymore Incorrect...

It comes as no surprise to me - or anyone on this staff - that this might not be the first and only place you turn to in order to fine commentary about sports. If it is, seek psychiatric attention immediately.

Nevertheless, wherever you go, it goes without saying that you must be very very careful at what you read. Genius insight, right? Well I'll tell you. Because much of it is either ridiculously biased, outright propaganda, or ill-informed. At least some of us admit to playing favorites...

Exhibit A: " The Lakers' Pau Gasol is shooting down his label as soft."

It's biased and irresponsible to use such a picture.
Clement, you sneaky bastard.

“Because a guy has a set of skills and is more of a finesse player, then he’s labeled as a soft player,” Gasol said. “I’m not bothered by it because I know I’m a competitor. I’ve competed my whole career and nobody has given me anything. … “I’m a winner.”

There's no doubting Gasol is talented and a winner. Not sure about nobody giving him anything though. That guy named Kobe Bryant is a pretty great teammate to have. What I doubt about the incredibly talented 7-foot Spaniard is his ability to be a marquee player. The Grizzlies haven't made the playoffs without him. True. They also never one a game - one stinkin' game - with him. Ask Kevin Garnett how "soft" Gasol is. Listen carefully, even if KG might need to curse a few times before he finishes the first sentences.

As much as anything, Gasol will be remembered as the biggest reason Kobe Bryant wins a championship without Shaquille O'Neal. As much as anything, he has been the salvation of a forlorn franchise. Soft doesn’t survive as Kobe’s co-star. Soft doesn’t thrive with his body entangled in Dwight Howard.

Trying a little too hard to wax poetic, aren't we? Salvation? Not likely. If the Lakers had won last year, I would've been first in line to admit Gasol was the reason that Kobe became a champion sans-Big Shaqtus. But he's not. Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson are. I might even argue that Trevor Ariza's defense and Lamar Odom's bench play have more of an impact than Gasol. Sure, it's biased. But I'm not speaking with alliteration, assosance, and out of my a**.

Those two were hit the hardest in last season’s Finals loss to the Boston Celtics, but remember something: Bryant played lousy too. Without Andrew Bynum, the Lakers’ frontline was overmatched. With him, maybe they were too. For Gasol, it was the deepest he had ever gone into the playoffs, the most he had ever demanded of his body. As usual, his self-critique was brutally honest. “I fell short at the end,” Gasol said. “I ran out of energy and couldn’t deliver.” Not this time, not these Finals.

Show me video evidence where Gasol decided Game 2??? Show me! I'm also not in the habit of predicting what "might've happened if somebody was healthy". You think Andrew Bynum was ready for the NBA Finals, healthy or not? You think KG was worried about 20-something Andrew Bynum. Not so much. Not so much. I also remember Gasol whinning about Kendrick Perkins' physicality and struggling to keep up with Leon Powe outside the paint. Does Pau remember?

Exhibit B: "Sorry Papi, but we're living in an age of accusations."
Now is this bias? I am not so sure.

Let me get my biases out of the way. I don't dislike Big Papi, David Ortiz. In fact, his ESPN commercial (with Posada), might be my favorite of all-time from the four-letter network. Nevertheless, I do (hate) dislike far too many Red Sox fans. Not all of them, believe me. I just h-a-t-e the bandwagon ones more than any others (even Laker fans). You know these fans. The ones who claim to have always been a part of "Red Sox Nation". Don't get me wrong, you have every right to be a fan and support whatever team you choose. But don't act like you suffered alongside them forever. Don't don the hat and claim to be a "true fan" and not know who Jim Rice, Mike Greenwell, or even friggen Carlton Fisk were. Don't get me started on those who are "lifers" who think Ted Williams was a pitcher (I've met more thna a few, at Fenway, honest to God). Please don't pretend you're part of a Nation that exists so people can be cosmopolotian haters of the "Evil Empire".

As fo the aticle, while Rosenthal isn't a "homer" fot the Sox, he spends the first 1/3 of his article giving us reasons why we shouldn't take him seriously. Then he expects us to. Lucky us.

It's irresponsible. It's unfair. It needs to stop. Oh, I know I'm shouting into cyberspace, opening myself up to a cyclone of snark in which I am reminded, among other things, that the Mainstream Media was late to the party on steroids.

Ken, the media decides which stories are important to them, not the other way around. Look t steroids and understand why it's a media (and maybe Congressional) issue only. The way it should be, according to far too many media outlets. I enjoy you on FOX baseball and loved your coverage of the Manny-trade saga last August; however, you don't get to tell fans what they want to hear. In the age of steroids, accusations didn't come soon enough. Duh. If a player is clean, let the record show. Smart fans wait for positive tests and not leaked names. If you're worried about the "ignorant", than you're preaching to a choir who will never hear you properly.

There is no caution. There are no standards. But there are plenty of players — guilty and innocent — getting smeared. Several times in recent weeks, radio talk-show hosts have asked me what I thought of the possibility that Ortiz was using PEDS. The rationale for such questions? The talk is "out there." Well, I have no idea if David Ortiz used PEDs; probably no journalist does. I could not even make an educated guess, and it would be unprofessional of me to do so Here's one thing I do know: Before steroids, players actually declined as they got older. Ortiz is 33. Maybe he is losing his skills. Maybe he just stinks.

We live in the real world. Ortiz gets paid MEGA-DOLLARS, like so many athletes, and we have the right to suspect. Just like with McGwire, Bonds, Sosa, Giambi, A-Rod, and now Manny. Sometimes players "lose it" and we try to figure out why. In the age of steroids, how could you not suspect? After all of the recent names and Palmeiro-like retractions, call us crazy for wondering. At least we're not apathetic to the point of saying, "I don't care, they all were doing it." As for rationale? It's not absent everywhere. Where is the talk of wrist injuries, hat sizes increasing, tendon issues, and other steroid-related LINKS that seem apparent with Papi (even if untrue). Not to mention that amazing decline ever since mid-way last season, a curious deadline (even at 32 and 33). Probable cause isn't guilt, but it's all the police need for a warrant. We're only throwing out assumptions, not accusations.

In the end, you may agree or disagree with either writer or myself. You might call me out for calling them out.

Either way, you're thinking about sports.

Score one for the big guy. And I don't mean Papi.

1 comment:

Brad Slepetz said...

1.)I know nothing about the NBA but how important is it if Gasol is labeled soft or not? He is obviously an integral part of a possible championship team. Save Gasol’s ego, what else matters?

2.)You could have done better than Rice, Greenwell, and Fisk. Tris Speaker, Joe Cronin, and Bobby Doer are more obscure names despite their entries into Cooperstown.

3.)Steroids are not a Congressional issue. It is a problem for MLB to deal or not deal with at their discretion. A person has the right to ingest what he wishes. An employer has the right to require its employees to abstain from certain substances. Government should not take an opinion.