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

The Idiots on the Idiot Box

Yup, we are finally wrapping this up. I’ve run out of things that piss me off after this. Yeah… right. Anyway, when I was a kid, my dad called the television the Idiot Box. I’m sure he isn’t the first or only to use the term, but I can only assume he called it that because of all the idiotic sports shows that are on. Seriously. Whether the subject matter is lame, the host(s) are universally regarded as jackholes, or whatever it is, sports has more moronic shows on television than any other genre, and I’m including sitcoms in this.

The matter is made only more glaring by the fact that there are truly brilliant sports shows out there. Bryant Gumbel’s Real Sports is a terrific example. So is ESPN’s Outside the Lines, and the 30 for 30 series (hey, if we’re going to criticize them for the horrid mess they’ve made out of Sportscenter, and larrup them over the abundance of sheer garbage populating their afternoon time slots, we must also be prepared to praise them over their jobs well done… infrequent as they may be in recent years).

Okay, praising over. What the hell is up with Pardon the Interruption? Who thinks to themselves, Know what I want to do today? Listen to Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon yell over each other in poorly informed opinions about stuff that has already been beaten to death in the media. What a grand idea that seems to be! Apparently, enough people think that for garbage like this to make it off the cutting room floor, or out of the focus group for that matter.

Rome is Burning… God, I can only wish… with him in it. Now don’t get me wrong, Jim Rome is quite knowledgable about a lot of sports, and relatively on course with many of his observations. But who the hell wants to watch what amounts to an AM radio personality yelling into the camera about things not nearly important enough in the large scheme of things to warrant elevated voice volume. The only thing that separates Rome from idiots like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh who huff and puff their way through segments with vein popping intensity to cover up the fact that they actually do very little research for facts to back up their ludicrous statements, or deliberately take things out of context to further their impossibly extreme right wing propaganda, is the subject matter. Plain. And. Simple.

Best D*** Sports Show Period? Compared to what? Conceptually, having a celebrity known for his comedic aplomb be the moderator of sorts among a panel of actual persons of some importance in sports sounds flush with potential. Especially if it’s run in a sort of Stephen Colbert way, where 75% of the questions are intentionally stupid to elicit humor. Alas, talent like Colbert’s is rare. Equally alas, disasters like this turd on a set are common.

Folks, I’m not saying I have the answer to the perfect sports show. I’m just saying the answers are out there. The models for brilliance have been erected, and mentioned in the open of this smear. Too serious for you? Tired of hearing about quadruple amputees who overcome adversity to become tennis champions? Tired of hearing about decapitated bowlers who routinely bowl strikes with their severed heads? Fine! Have a listen to Bill Simmons’ excellent podcast, The B.S. Report. I’ll be the first to tell you, I am not in love with the guy’s writing, nor any team from the New England are, further turning me off from his writing (this particular excellent article notwithstanding), but he’s a funny dude.

There has to be someone who makes the decision to let all the crap get aired. That person needs a high five. To the back of the head. With a bat. And there have to be the voices of common sense that can actually do away with the rubbish, and give the people what the NEED from their sports television (and radio). But there aren’t. So, I nominate Shaun and me.

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