Big Lead Sports Bar


We’ve Got Enough Media Hype Here, Thank You

There’s something oxymoronic and just plain moronic about The Week Leading Up To The Big Game. Were you at all surprised that a credentialed scribe-to-be wearing a wedding gown proposed to each team’s quarterback at Media Day? Are you at all alarmed that most of the questions were about the “hype” and the enormity of the game rather than the actual game?

Gisele's not going to be happy about this

Didn’t think so.

The farcical fodder of this football fortnight –– alliteration, can you feel it!?!? –– is trivial enough to break a threshold where it’s OK to be ashamed our own misguided sporting interests. Here’s my question: Why limit this to two weeks?

There’s enough manufactured non-stories covered in Pittsburgh during any given week, and, to a greater extent, enough call-in shows, blogs and message boards to equally blow a story out of proportion and marinate it in our cynicism for awhile.

The media set the tone for discussion and sentiments, but there aren’t enough renouncing voices to squelch every story that makes every yinzer yawn or yak over nothing at all.

So here are a few Pittsburgh musings from This Week In Sports Talk, Newspapers and Television (we’ll call it T.W.I.S.T. ‘N.A.T. –– anagrams, can you feel them!?!?!)

Exhibit A, Item #1 for the week was the Big Ben-Whines Hard controversy. Everyone has taken their side by now, but overlooked is the media’s role. Mark Madden said on his show Monday that Ed Bouchette milked Ward so much that he was probably mooing by the end of the interview.
Was Bouchette really creating The Jerry Springer Show on the pages of the Post-Gazette to keep the Steelers in the news? Not when “The Dean” of pro football writers has been known to throw a wet sopping blanket on several hot rumors and ideas. Let’s be real. Half, no, make that more than half (726 words for 55%, I counted), of that article was quoted material by Hines. Remember after Ward broke the Steelers receptions record and talked unsolicited for 20 minutes about himself during the post-game? Yeah, that’s what happened.

Edd-ie, Edd-ie!

This story should not have any legs –– or at least short, possession receiver legs –– for as long as it has. Sorry, John Fedko, this is not going to send “shockwaves” into mini-camp and even into training camp in August.

Submitted for your approval

That, by the way, was my early favorite for Mind-Numbing Exaggeration of the Week until KDKA’s Rob Pratte told FSN viewers that watching the story of “The Game” between Central Catholic and Gateway will “change your life forever.” (That’s explains why my girlfriend left me, but that dadgum hook-and-lateral play there at the end sure did get me right with Jesus again. Thanks, Rob.)

So Hines Ward is diminutive and dismissive. Here are some other musings from the week of Pittsburgh sports media:

Hey, look Pitt has two talented athletes in two different sports, and, you’ll never believe it –– this is where it gets good –– they are both FRESHMEN. Thank you, Post-Gazette, for that revelation. Oh, and you too, Tribune-Review.

Why are people so thrilled –– and in some cases appalled –– about the Pitt women’s basketball team making the front-page, above-the-fold of the P-G?

Joe Starkey has a nifty proposition for all your all-star game fans who are waxing existential.

Dejan, those people who approached you with a “curious glare” at PirateFest, they feel sorry for you being the Bucco beatwriter. If I were you I would stop answering Q&A and start writing obituaries to practice for the season.

Finally, here are my favorite calls on late-night TV sports call-in shows from the week:

Rich from Coraopolis on the Subway Nightly Sport Call claimed –– admitted, more like –– to working in the Pirates front office during the Cam Bonifay Era. He suggested the Pirates sink $5 million into training facilities in Pittsburgh rather that the Dominican Republic. Great idea, Rich, train no-talent ballplayers in the few warm months we have so they can be drafted by other teams. Latin American players are better and exempt from the draft.

Jim from Upper St. Clair, also on the Nightly Sports Call (see a pattern here), was happy to tell us about his arthritic hip and his hip replacement surgery. He suspected that Steelers LB Lawrence Timmons has the same problem after hearing about his symptoms and suggested that the Steelers were hiding something. Yeah, Jimbo, they drafted him when he was only 20-years-old because he’s quickly mutating into a middle-aged retiree from the suburbs. I wondered why Timmons was wearing that “Ask Me About My Grandchildren” shirt.
Stan from Blawnox (probably not) tried to ask newbie-host Jory Rand if the signing of Kris Beech off waivers meant there would be a fire lit under him and former love interest Sonni Abatta. Jory, without missing a beat, answered as if the caller left off the word “and Sonni Abatta” from the question.

If she married Kris, would she be "Sonni Beech"?

Finally, Mike, on the Fedko Fone Zone –– who sounded like Chris from the Family Guy and still came across more informed than the host –– asked three or four questions with the word “awesome” in it and after interrupting Fedko mid-sentence said “I gotta go, man.” You have to love a call-in show when the inmates run the asylum and the host sways back and forth with his hands in his pockets and talks to some inaudible off-camera voice that answers to “Digby.”

Is that you, Mike?

That’s all for now … I’ll hang up and listen to your comment.


Justin said...

A+ Post. Loved it.

The Duke from Dukes Court said...

reporter's boss:
"ok we are sending you to the Super Bowl and we want you to dress in a wedding gown and propose on media day to Tom Brady and Eli Manning."

The reporters response:
"You have to be kidding, I have to propose to Eli Manning?

Anonymous said...

This post deserves some sort of major award.

Robert Ullman said...

Great post, loved it up until it was revealed that Jory has left Richmond for Pittsburgh?!? When did this happen! Whose name will I make fun of on the rare occasions I watch local sports coverage?

Seriously, doesn't "Jory Rand" sound like a Bruce McCullough KIDS IN THE HALL character? Somebody stop me...