Black Dongs, FanGraphs and Lyrical Gymnastics

Justin April 10, 2010 2

Before we jump into this week’s review, a quick message to the good folks at Time, inc.

My Sports Illustrated arrived late this week, and that throws of my schedule. I am a loyal reader of your products, but I’m also a hopeless slave to routine.  I read Time Magazine at the gym on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, then Sports Illustrated on Thursday and Friday.  So, when my SI doesn’t show up in my mailbox until Thursday, like it did this week, there is a large donut hole in my routine, and it throws everything off.  Please try harder.

I also realize that the late delivery may have, in fact, been the fault of the United States Postal Service. If that is the case, I apologize to you. I will not, however, lay any blame at the feet of the good men and women who deliver our mail. Things are tough enough for them these days, what with this crazy internet turning their entire industry into an anachronism. Also, they have a reputation for reacting badly to criticism. I see no need to push any of those buttons.

Anyway, onto the Sports Illustrated: April 12, 2010

Jon Scheyer, College Basketball, Duke Blue Devils


Let’s begin with a shoutout to Shad Adams of Fairview, Tennesee. Congratulations Mr. (or Mrs.? or maybe Ms.?) Adams, you have written the most generic correspondence in the history of letters to the editor.

I enjoyed reading Tim Layden’s article (High Stakes, March 22), which brought back great memories of tournaments past. Who could forget Chris Webber, Keith Smart, Danny Manning, Carmelo Anthony, George Mason’s great run, Jim Valvano and Don Haskins? The story also alerted me to players who would create new memories during this year’s tournament.

The answer to your question, Shad, is NO ONE. Those are arguably the 7 most famous moments in college basketball history.  Does this person hang out in Dallas and ask strangers “Who can forget when JFK was shot?”

Onto the Scorecard, where we get an somewhat interesting column from Richard Hoffer, who doesn’t want to see anymore big black professional athlete dongs on the internet.  Feel free to skim through the rest.

Skip completely the “Inside..” section. College football, Golf, Tennis, and Horse Racing? You can get away with picking one of those, as long as they’re mixed in with basketball, baseball, hockey or the NFL. But just those four? NO THANK YOU.


Tough as They Come by Tim Layden

I know much of the nation hates Duke, so they will hate reading this story about how the Duke team came together to win this year’s championship. I, though, have always had an affinity for the Blue Devils. It dates back to 1991, when their first title won a massive Wall Street office pool for my father and resulted in our family upgrading to a much fancier hotel room midway through a vacation to Orlando, Florida. We also went to a Magic-Trailblazers game that week, and Clyde Drexler got ejected five minutes in. That has nothing to do with this story, but I just  thought I would mention it.

Anyway, my affinity for Duke led me to pick them to go pretty far in this year’s tournament and to subsequently win my own office pool.  So, umm.. yeah. Pretty good article.

What’s In a Name? by Albert Chen

The tale of Wandy Rodriguez, a completely pedestrian pitcher who all of a sudden became good last year. His journey to the US was anything but pedestrian, including the use of someone else’s identity to fake his age. You would think that would be the most interesting part of his story, and though it leads off the piece, things eventually devolve into a run of the mill, “This guy has a great curveball” article.  It also includes statistics from fangraphs. I don’t need indecipherable math to be convinced that Wandy Rodriguez has an effective breaking pitch. I would have believed you if you had just told me so.

The Genuine Point Guard by Charles P. Pierce

I like words. In fact, they are my favorite thing to say. But sometimes, words can be abused. Take this paragraph for instance:

A cold spring rain passes through the broken mountains. The morning is gray and laced with it, and it lashes the cactus plants and the arid brush and the birds that call with voices as rough and jagged as the topography. The rain changes the aspect of the desert, softens it into something unlike itself, something liquid and less implacable, something habitable and conventional and less wild, a place where things have to work less hard to grow.

This is an article about Steve Nash, not the Bridges of Maricopa County. (Do you like what I did there? Phoenix is in Maricopa County, Arizona.) I don’t remember seeing Charles P. Pierce write for Sports Illustrated before. He has a reputation as one of the great writers in sports journalism. Granted, I only learned of this reputation after Pierce published a transparently sour grapes review of Bill Simmons’ “Book of Basketball” on Deadspin.  So, this is my first experience with his writing.  More than anything, this article is exhausting to read and teaches you absolutely NOTHING new about a player who has been analyzed and profiled as much as any other player in the NBA over the past decade. Did you know Steve Nash has interests outside of basketball? And that he’s from a mysterious foreign land called Canada? Of course you did. Everyone does! Charles Pierce’s lyrical gymnastics do nothing to hide the fact that he wrote a lazy profile piece that adds nothing to the greater discussion.

Age curtails options, truncates experimentation and wonder- so Nash chooses not to feel it.

Shut the fuck up.

Also, I liked the damn Simmons book, despite its faults.  Don’t be mad because someone else is more successful than you, you blowhard.

The New Face of a Nation by Grant Wahl

The World Cup is fast approaching. And as with the previous three World Cups, I will try to convince myself that I may enjoy it. That includes reading articles about the players involved, like this one by Grant Wahl. Will I root for South Africa in the World Cup? I don’t think so. Though I do now like Matthew Booth, the subject of the article. And I’m certainly happy that South Africa isn’t racist anymore. That’s nice.

My interest in the World Cup will come to a head in the days before the tournament kicks off, when hype mixes with various shows of national pride on TV and on the streets of New York.  But all that excitement will drain the second I sit down to watch the first game. Because Soccer is neither interesting nor fun to watch. It is a bad sport, and no amount of outside excitement can ever change that fact.

Truth or Consequences by S.L. Price

It’s hyped as a “special report” about Tiger Woods, though at this point there is nothing special about covering the world’s most famous golfer/fucker of hookers and porn stars and college aged daughters of neighbors and Applebees waitresses. If you watched the news this week, or tuned in for any Masters coverage, or really read anything online or in print, there is nothing new about Tiger Woods.


The ’87 Brewers were good at first. Read about them. Why not?


Phil Taylor is generally hit or miss on the back page. And this one is a miss. The use of sports terminology has seeped into everyday life. He’s managed to write a cliched column on the overabundance and over reliance of cliches.


  1. Marcus April 10, 2010 at 3:31 pm -

    The SI’s always a day late on NCAA title week, because the game is late Monday night; SI’s deadline is usually Sunday events. It’s been like this for about 47 straight years, which would be pretty obvious if you weren’t trying so hard to be sarcastic and funny.

  2. Magic Spells May 1, 2010 at 11:32 am -

    Phil Taylor can be a bit off some times, but other times he can be good he does have a tendency to over use terminology some times.

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