Sunday, January 22, 2006

Skip Town

Ok, I'll say it. Skip Bayless is a moron.

People's Evidence 1, Your Honor. Not only does he lose points almost immediately for saying Seattle has the best baseball park in America (holy shit, are you kidding? Safeco Field is the biggest white elephant of the new parks, not least because it's built on a train yard and looks like four different ball parks thrown together under a roof), but then he gets to the meat of his argument, that the Seattle Seahwks won't make it to the Super Bowl and don't deserve to.

Of course, he was doing what he always does, which is trying to stir up shit by throwing little teeny firebombs that supposedly carry wight because he's a Smarty-Pants Sports Colyumnist With A Bully Pulpit At ESPN. Which is fine, he did the same thing while he was here at the Chicago Tribune, and look how well that turned out.

No, the problem is in the execution. For starters, he does something I can't fucking stand, which is take possession in the argument: He goes on and on about "my Carolina Panthers," "my beloved Super Bowl," "my third-string back," "my tough, smart little overachiever, Nick Goings." (Well, I'm sure young Master Goings will be pleased as punch to hear you think so highly of him, Skipper!)

My fucking God. (Now I'm doing it.) I hate that shit. Now, if Bayless has a vested ownership of some sort in the Carolia Panthers or the Super Bowl, I'll apologize freely and fully. (Or even a season ticket.) Because in no other instance should one use that stupid, jes'-folks possessive crap. And if he does have a financial interest in the Panthers, HE SHOULDN'T BE WRITING ABOUT THEM, SHOULD HE? for the same reason CBS should never have let Bill Walton do color on the Arizona-Illinois NCAA hoops matchup in March 2001, because Luke Walton was on the floor for Arizona. Conflict of interest much?

But not only is he painfully, awkwardly folksy, he also shows us again that so many sportswriters love to churn this crap out in a vacuum. He rails about how the Seahawks have gotten lucky all season long in the league-worst NFC West, with a cupcake schedule full of teams with bad records. Like this is the first time that's ever happened in the history of the National Football League. Sorry, "Skip Bayless's beloved NFL." Like no other team has ever cakewalked to the playoiffs before. The bad record part seems to be true, but I don't really care. And of course, the Seahawks couldn't have gotten this far on skill. No way. They only beat Carolina because the Pants are banged up, and God knows, no team near the end of the NFL season has ever had injuries before! Holy Starbucks, Captain Blindspot!

He hedges his bets a little, praising the Seahawks left side linemen for opening holes for Shaun Alexander, then goes right back to the bullshit by questioning the validity of Alexander's concussion the previous week against the Redskins, and then suggesting the Seahawks played better after Alexander went out not because they wore the Redskins down; oh no, it was because they hate Shaun Alexander. Dude, you tried that shit on Barry Bonds once. It didn't stick then, either.

I know's editors (and the producers of Cold Pizza, aka Woody and Skip:Hey Ladies!) want him to say this shit. But he's a columnist, not a reporter. Not that if he were a reporter, he'd get a free pass. But sports journalism, as irrelevant as it may be, needs to be treated like the real thing, not like fucking entertainment junket journalism. Stop pretending that things that directly affect the outcome of events a)exist in a vacuum unknown to time, and b)involve you personally as anything but a detached observer. Bayless is welcome to cheer and boo for, and even overrate, whichever teams he likes. But not on my time, and not in the God-damned press box.


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