Thursday, October 09, 2008

Off-Day Chatter

It's common knowledge that there are only two days in the calendar year in which none of the four major sports has a game on the schedule: the day before and the day after baseball's All-Star Game. On those two days/nights surrounding the Midsummer Classic, it's nearly impossible to watch live sports of any consequence. But the lull is just a pair of days in the middle of the summer. No big deal.

Alas, this "knowledge" proved fallible over the past two nights. Nary a sporting event from the Big 4, nor from the Lesser 12 (you can figure out which those are yourself). Tough times for the sports addict.

ESPN has no idea how to handle this dearth of results. Observe ESPN.com's "news" this morning:

The big story: a(nother) preview of the ALCS/NLCS, fleshed out with Manny Ramirez being insulted by a guy who played big league ball during the Eisenhower Administration (not a joke) and some ankle-deep insight by Rob Neyer that is wholly surpassed by Rob & Nick at MLC. (Meanwhile, TJ and I will be spending more of our October over here at G:TB, of course.)

The other breaking news, in full:

* Police: Cowboys' Pacman in fight at hotel
* Dice-K, Shields will start in ALCS Game 1
* Man indicted in killing of Broncos' Williams
* McCarver: Manny's Boston act 'despicable'
* Report: Pats' Brady has left knee surgery
* Sputtering Auburn fires coordinator Franklin
* 'Embarrassed' McNabb assails Eagles' play
* Source: Cowboys' Newman out with sports hernia
* OJ rents Season 1 DVD's of 'Prison Break'
* Colts' Harrison faces 100K suit over Philly shooting
* Holyfield, 45, on brink of world-title shot at Valuev

In a nutshell: over the last 48 hours, some people did some talking, some things happened in a courtroom, some people didn't play sports because they're hurt, some people went to the doctor, some more people did some more talking, some people didn't like all the talking and got in a fight about it, and a guy who boxed at the same Olympics where Zola Budd tripped Mary Decker and Mary Lou Retton captured the world's heart with her gymnastic perfection and her winsome smile (also not a joke . . . that smile was a real heart-melter, I tell you) is going to fight again.

Please, people, bring back your games, your competitions, your contests, your feats of skill and strength, your thrills of victory, your agonies of defeat, your silly, knees-bent, running-about, advancing behavior. If only so ESPN.com doesn't look so much like Page 6.

Play ball. Gentlemen, start your engines. Let's get ready to rumble. Game on.

33 comments:

Rhymenocerous said...

The Zola Budd - Mary Decker moment remains one of my most vivid Olympic memories as a youngster. Budd was a barefoot nobody and Decker (sans Slaney) was totally being jocked by the US media as the next female athlete darling. She was white, moderately attractive (in a Sigourney Weaver meets Sheryl Crow kinda way) and a favorite to medal. Wheaties was ready to roll out cereal with her face on it.

The race started and Budd came from the outside, got herded into the pack and got tangled up with Decker's feet. Decker fell awkwardly and then started crying immediately. I realize the magnitude of her fall, but it was such a weak reaction. It was like her feminine side overwhelmed the Olympian athlete side. I remember feeling little pity for her because of her pouty histrionics.

And what's Zola Budd up to these days? She's probaby married to a real-life Borat somewhere in country that starts with a bunch of consonants and ends with "stan."

Rhymenocerous said...

I know you all care, so here's the scoop on what Zola's up to these days:

In 1989, Budd married Mike Pieterse and became Zola Pieterse. She began racing again in South Africa and had an excellent season in 1991, and was the second fastest woman in the world over 3,000m. Following South Africa's reintroduction to the world's sporting scene, she competed for her homeland in the 3000 metres at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, but did not qualify for the final. In 1993, she finished fourth at the World Cross Country championships, but would never translate this form onto the track.

Budd remains the holder of numerous British and South African records, both at junior and senior levels. Budd still holds two junior world records, in the mile and 3000 metres.

Budd currently lives on her parents' farm in Bloemfontein, with her mother and three children (Mikey, Azelle and Lisa). She continues to run barefoot primarily for pleasure now, running 10-15 miles (16–24 km) a day, but has run competitively on occasion in recent years.

In April 2006, Budd filed for divorce after her husband allegedly moved in with a semi-finalist in the Mrs. United Nations South Africa beauty pageant. The couple later reconciled.

Zoltan said...

I think Zola Budd was from South Africa, not a -stan. I also remember that race where she decked Decker.

The anti-Manny sentiment up here is intense. Most Sawx fans seem to hate him as much as they do the Yankees. I really don't get it. Bill Simmons' 10 million word column on the topic mirrors my views on the subject (in a much lengthier manner than necessary). Boston got their money's worth out of Manny. Sure, he was a pain in the ass sometimes, but everyone knew that going in. They got what they bargained for and won two titles in the process.

Rhymenocerous said...

What Drew is saying (in a much lengthier manner than necessary) is that Red Sox fans are dildos.

Zoltan said...

Yes. Yes they are.

rob said...

this manny hatred is crap, and i wonder how much of it is a media creation. i loved what that guy brought to the team. his overall value to the team far exceeded the negatives - until this season, at which point the sox did the right thing. he was exasperating, and at the end, he was a dickhead, but for 7+ years, he gave the sox fans a lot more than he took away.

Whitney said...

At this point, there are 40 million Sox "fans," so a few hundred on the periphery can do something and cast the Nation in a bad light. Case in point. I think most of the die-hards feel like you, Rob. Saying "Sox fans hate Manny" -- or share any characteristic, for that matter -- is a sweeping generalization like saying "all people from New Jersey are hairy" or "all people named Mark are gay."

rob said...

apropo of not very much, auburn's recent gridiron troubles have me deeply saddened.

rob said...

i left off the 's' in a nod to greater aerodynamics in my typing.

Rhymenocerous said...

As a Crimson Tide fan, can I guess that you typed that comment with your cyber-tongue in your cyber-cheek?

Zoltan said...

But all people from NJ really are hairy.

And I think I said "most" Sawks fans hate Manny. Go listen to WEEI online. The hosts and the callers are still skewering him.

Mark said...

You mean we're not all gay? Boy, do I feel stupid....

rob said...

if you think weei is representative of sox fans as a whole, you probably also think rush limbaugh represents the general feelings of americans.

Zoltan said...

I have not polled the Nation. But, respectfully, I am surrounded by the Nation. I live about a half mile from Fenway Park. When I go to my regular bar, everyone there talks Red Sox. When I go to work, everyone talks Red Sox. Little old ladies talk to random strangers about the Sox like people elsewhere talk about the weather. In my experience, the Nation is down on Manny and how he forced his way out of town, quit on the team, etc. The Nation does not want to see him succeed as a Dodger, or anywhere else.

I think Rush Limbaugh did indeed represent the feelings of most Americans (or most American voters) as recently as 2004.

rob said...

that's a very lawyerly parsing of the limbaugh issue. i know where i'll go when i need an attorney to craft a statement.

i think the nation's definitely down on manny regarding the way he left - so am i - but it doesn't make me burn with hatred for him. i think a dodgers/sox series would be a blast (not just manny, but lowe, nomar, and torre would add some intrigue), but i fear the media hypestorm that would accompany it.

Mark said...

Nobody really talks about the weather at length, do they?

So, what you're saying is people make quick, awkward conversations about Manny in Boston instead of the weather...something like:

"So...how about that Manny? What a dick, huh?"

"Yeah. Good riddance"

(End Scene)

rob said...

i'm trying to decide whether that would make jerry happy or piss him off even more about having to make smalltalk. on the one hand, the smalltalk is about sports. on the other hand, jerry will know that there's a nearly 100% chance he knows more about the subject than the other conversant. this fascinates me.

Mark said...

I can't speak for Jerry but personally I find it much worse. In my old office the IT guy would always make sports small talk with me b/c he knew I was a big sports fan.

Conversely, he was a big Battlestar Gallactica fan. He thought he knew sports but possessed a cursory knowledge of things (at best). It was a complete waste of my time and I usually tried to end the conversation as quickly as possible . Of course, I hate most people so I'm probably not representative of the general sports loving population.

Zoltan said...

Mark-

That is exactly what happens in Boston on elevators, in line at Dunkin' Donuts, at public urinals, etc. all the time. Just replace "dick" with "jerk."

TJ said...

No one hates small talk more than Slats. Not even Jerry.

Mark said...

So that's why he flattened that kid in Jacksonville a couple years ago...

rob said...

chinese democracy slated for release on november 23. any chance it can possibly live up to the hype?

TJ said...

No matter how great it is (and it will suck) it can't top the NKOTB Reunion Tour...

Oh dammit, now I'm gonna have rob breathing down my neck again for a recap. Looks like the NKOTB recap and our picks will be awkwardly tied together tomorrow.

TJ said...

So, this ACC Thursday night battle sucks balls, eh?

Rhymenocerous said...

Financial news of the day:

Morgan Stanley is about to go belly-up.

Hungary's Treasury market has frozen up.

Indonesian equity market remains closed because of an inability to maintain orderly markets.

Russia's equity market remains closed because of an inability to maintain orderly markets.

Ford, GM, Chrysler nearing bankruptcy.

EboR√Ęguebi said...

European Rugby Cup : Kick Off Viral

TJ said...

Sweet, the Euro Rugby Cup. I've been waiting forever for it to start.

rob said...

i believe i may have asked this before, but how does tommy bowden still have a job?

rob said...

that sound you hear is me aggressively ignoring rhymenocerous.

rob said...

president bush is speaking this morning - that should make everything better.

Geoff said...

With just the loose change in my car, I could buy more than two shares of Ford.

Whitney said...

Somewhere Lee Iacocca is rolling over in his grave . . . or his bed, in case he's still living.

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