Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hang it up, you worthless old hack


America's Worst Sportswriter, Mike Celizic, makes this tired, plaintive plea:
The Twins are quite a baseball team. So are the Rockies, the Phillies and the Angels. If baseball’s fondest wishes were granted, none of them will get to the World Series.

This isn’t a put-down of teams I enjoy watching. It’s merely a fact. Times are tough and baseball needs to put on a big show that will suck in fans from across the nation, pull attention away from the NFL, put up big ratings and remind everyone that this is still America’s pastime. It needs the kind of postseason match-ups that will make the game the center of conversation in offices and chat rooms and bars.

What it needs is the Yankees and the Dodgers in the World Series.

That would be the best, with Manny Be Manny and Uncle Joe Torre and A-Rod and Jee-tah on the field, a passel of A-list celebrities in the stands and squads of paparazzi at the exits eager to follow everybody into the night.

Yankees-Cardinals would be OK, as would Red Sox-Dodgers or Red Sox-Cards. Either one of those match-ups will at least get the attention of a nation that lives on celebrity and a familiar story line. Those are second-tier matches, but good ones.

And then, once baseball gets the great match-up, it needs a great series that goes the limit. No four-game sweeps. No five-game yawners. A seven-game barnburner full of thrills and chills and controversy.

This is a problem with baseball. The game rarely gets to showcase the thrill of a seventh-game, winner-take-all game. The NFL doesn’t have any other kind of playoff game; everything is one-and-done, so we can’t afford to ignore any of them. Baseball gets them just a couple of times a decade — if we’re lucky.

Of course, teams from other cities are just fodder for a bi-coastal bias espoused by idiots, aren't they? Except for the fact that the best baseball team in America is St. Louis, well, it all makes sense when you're a confused old man (I'm 65 and I'm no where near as mentally old as Celizic) trying to relive some hoary baseball nostalgia.

He says it isn't a put down, but what he really wants is for baseball to dispense with the Division and League series games, pick the Yankees and Dodgers to play in a fixed World Series, and then leave it at that. It's as if Celizic doesn't realize that the fans are there because the games aren't fixed, and that fixing the games is what drove people away at one time.

I never, ever gripe about who makes it to the championship game. It's about parity, sportsmanship, and giving the integrity of the game a chance to show us something new. A New York-Los Angeles World Series would be fine, but pining for it out of some misguided need to get ratings is antithetical to fair competition and the integrity of the sport. If those are the best teams, so be it. Whining about it is akin to showing everyone you've lost it as a writer, and that you should hang it up and spend the rest of your days howling out the window at some imaginary kid in a yard that you don't own.

How does MSNBC.COM continue to employ such a poor sports writer? It's a disgrace and an embarrassment. Celizic must have someone's personal sex diary or pictures taken with a telephoto lens stored in a lockbox somewhere, ready to bring out in case someone tries to fire his worthless rear end.

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