Pet Peeves of Sports Journalism: Mini Smearies Part 4 of 5

You Don’t Say

You ever hear a sportscaster say something, or read something in a sports article that you have heard or seen a thousand times? How many times is it actually accurate? If you think about it, you will find it to be inaccurate more times than not. Why is this? Simple. Because it’s much easier to just say what others in your profession have been saying for years. It requires no research, and besides, if someone else has already said it, it must be true!

Do some damn homework. Let’s make an analogy, shall we? You will struggle to find a list of the worst automobiles of all time that doesn’t contain the Ford Pinto. Why? Simple. A design flaw caused the gas tank to be prone to rupture from rear end collisions. However, if you were willing to ignore the fact that the driver and his occupants may end up dying horrible flaming deaths if involved in a rear end collision, you had a car that was reasonably sporty, got half way decent fuel economy, was affordable, and believe it or not, routinely made it to over 200 thousand miles, in many cases even more, before any serious repairs were needed. But it was one of the worst cars ever.

By that logic, wouldn’t Raul Ibanez be one of the worst outfielders in baseball history. Sure, he murders right handed pitching and is usually good for at LEAST 20 home runs if given 450 plate appearances, and is an all around reliable teammate who has thus far escaped any serious steroid controversy.

Sure, it’s a stretch, comparing a horrible fiery death to a misplayed fly ball, but do you get my point?

The transgressions are endless. Albert Pujols is the greatest hitter of our time… Newsflash, our time is still going and so his is, and his numbers while still excellent are noticably declining. Not to mention he hasn’t hustled out a ground ball since Truman was president.

Shaquille O’Neal is the most dominant player ever. Sure, if you mean that nobody could defend him from within five feet of the bucket. And since when has the criteria for dominance included a pathetic foul shot percentage that only crept above 50 with divine intervention. Yeah, O’Neal was a monster for a while and has rings to show for his career, but let’s not forget the last few years that he spent being a fat liability that whined more than he played.

Enter ANYONE’s name who has ever experienced a period of excellence in a sport and the words, “best ever.” You can indisputably say it about Wayne Gretzky, but that’s about where the buck stops. Yet, people are already lobbing the phrase, “best in the game,” about Pittsburgh’s excellent forward Evgeni Malkin, who in his first injury-free season is leading the NHL in scoring. Weren’t they saying the same thing about his teammate, Sidney Crosby before all the concussion issues?  Just once, I’d love to hear someone make the same comment about Dallas’ Loui Eriksson and passionately argue their point. Why? Because no one does it. It’s much easier to say what has already been said.

Being a journalist used to mean something. And this problem is not contained just within our little hamlet of sports. But it’s what I watch, what I care about, and it’s the coverage of which in so many cases just pisses me off.

Bonus Peeve: Announcers who cannot get a name pronunciation right. The other night, one of ESPN’s Top Ten plays was a terrific diving header goal by Stuttgart’s stud striker, Vedad Ibisevic. Not an easy one, granted, but look the damn thing up! The anchors even had the audacity to make fun of themselves for butcher shopping Ibisevic’s name. On the air. Yet I continue to watch. What is wrong with me?


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