Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Sports Writers Fix [J. Mark English]

Surfing the web today, and these are just some of the topics the beat-writers are talking about:
  • Damien Cox of covers Wimbledon: To be fair, after all the excitement and terrific tennis delivered the day before, including a virtuoso and historic triumph by local hero Andy Murray under the new Wimbledon roof, it would have been nearly impossible for yesterday's competition to keep pace....More than 12 million British television viewers tuned into the Murray match, which pushed the 10 o'clock news on the BBC back 40 minutes. To some degree then, yesterday felt like a day of rest....As it was, you could still scoop up a fabulous Court One seat yesterday about an hour before the match between five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams and Poland's Agnieska Radwanska commenced, while even Centre Court had a few hundred empty seats as temperatures in excess of 30 C made for a broiler of a day....Both Venus and her sister, Serena, delivered devastating performances en route to easy quarter-final wins, suggesting at least one of the remarkable Williams women will be in the final for the ninth time in the past 10 years.
  • Marc Berman of the New York Post details Stephon Marbury's warning to players tempted to sign with the New York Knicks: Stephon Marbury, who becomes a free agent again today, believes star players should be cautious about signing with the Knicks because of Mike D'Antoni's offensive scheme and the way the organization treats people...."I wouldn't want to play in that system,'' Marbury told The Post. "That system can't win championships. You can't win championships if you don't talk about defense. In Boston, the coaches even play defense.''
  • Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press talks about Joe Dumars and the busy off season for the Detroit Pistons: Things change. Sometimes this is true in a slow way and sometimes true in a fast way, and right now in Pistons Land it's true in an avalanche way, and Michael Curry just got buried underneath it...."The fact is, we're going through this transition right now," Joe Dumars told me Tuesday afternoon, shortly after letting his coach go, "and I think it's imperative we have someone who has more experience to help guide us through."...Curry was not that guy....He was not that guy when hired last year....But last year pieces weren't moving on the Pistons' board faster than the props on a "Saturday Night Live" set. By the time you read this, the franchise may have lassoed a high-priced free agent like Ben Gordon or Charlie Villanueva (or maybe both). It already has unofficially parted company with Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson and maybe Antonio McDyess. It drafted three forwards last week, all of whom are expected to make the team....In Dumars' eyes, that much change at the player level requires more experience at the coaching level. Curry didn't have it. And that was not just Dumars' view. There was grumbling around the Pistons' locker room that Curry was not ready for Prime Time, and although the front office might have believed the 40-year-old former player eventually could get there, the luxury of time is gone....Things change.
  • Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times says that Tiger Woods is ready to win his own event: Tiger Woods has won Arnold Palmer's tournament this year....And Jack Nicklaus'....Now it's a matter of winning his own....The top-ranked player in the world, who has finished in the top 10 in all seven stroke-play events he's entered this year, is eager to collect his first AT&T National title this week...."I always put as much as I can to win an event," Woods said Tuesday at Bethesda's Congressional Country Club. "Certainly, I love being a greedy host. It's fun winning your own event. It's awfully fun to do that and hopefully I can do that this week."...If it doesn't happen this week, it will not happen in the Washington area for a few more years....With the 2011 U.S. Open set for Congressional, the AT&T National will move to Aronimink Golf Club in the Philadelphia area for the next two years. The tournament will return to Congressional in 2012.
  • Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times speaks of homophobia among sport fans: Although I saw a few fights break out in the stands at the Cell over the weekend, most of the back-and-forth between Sox and Cubs fans seemed to be of the trash-talking variety. Cubs suck, Sox suck -- you know, the usual elevated discourse on the relative merits of the two organizations....Numerous fans wore T-shirts proclaiming "F--- the Cubs" or "F--- the Sox." Others opted for the universal "Giving the finger" logo on their shirts....And then there was this (above). I saw this one quite often, on T-shirts, signs and bumper stickers: Homophobia lives on...Get it? Sox fans are winners, but Cubs fans are GAY. Ha ha ha ha ha ha....A company called Chi-City Tees is among the many online vendors offering variations on this theme. Their pitch for the $19.95 T-shirt says: "The hottest and truest T-shirt on the South Side. We all know the Cubs have their parade . . . gay . . . and the Sox had theirs . . . championship parade."....Look. I'm not going to pretend I'm Joe Sensitivity, or even Rich Sensitivity. I've been going to Sox games forever, and while I still cringe when I hear adults dropping f-bombs left and right in the presence of children, and while I'm not inclined to purchase a T-shirt with a giant cartoon hand giving Cubs fans the finger, whatever. This is the world we live in. (Although I have to admit I was taken aback by the female, twentysomething Cubs fan sitting behind me on Sunday. Wow could she swear. If she was in a Tarantino film, he'd be asking her to take it down a notch.)....I see this all the time in the chat boxes in the online poker tournaments. A player will lose a hand, and he'll call his opponent "gay" or a "homo." It's never intended as a compliment. Nobody says, "Wow, you're a great player. You must be gay!" It's always, "What a stupid bet, you gay douchebag."....As hundreds of thousands were declaring their gay pride or their support for gay pride at a parade last Sunday, there were myriad reminders at the Sox/Cubs game that for many, it's still considered an easy insult to call someone "gay."

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