July 16, 2008

About The Name... (and why I love blogs)

I realize my blog name might strike some of you as being pretty unrelated to sports, and might draw some of the wrong traffic (those of you looking for nugget porn or beastiality, I'm sorry to disappoint you but certainly appreciate the hits!), so I figured I'd explain the name of the site and how it relates to my viewpoint as a sports fan.

Growing up, I remember the first jersey I ever owned was a #84 Randy Moss jersey from when he was still on the Vikings. He was my favorite football player at the time (for more than that awesome last name of his) and continues to be among my favorites even though he plays for a Boston team (more on my hatred of Boston teams and fans later). I loved those late-'90s Vikings teams before they got broken up and I turned my interest to the Bucs, and, much later, the Eagles.

At any rate, back to the name. I remember watching the 2005 Wildcard game between the Packers and Vikings at Lambeau, during which this now-infamous incident occurred:

I laughed out loud when I saw Randy's salute to the Green Bay crowd and it demonstrated the spontaneity and attitude that were part of the reason I loved (and still love) Randy Moss. FOX commentator Joe Buck apparently disagreed. He called the celebration... get this... "A DISGUSTING ACT". I'm too lazy at this point to look up further details (plus YouTube is blocked at my workplace) but I seem to remember Buck continuing to overreact to this celebration, which, it turns out, was a response to Packers fans' practice of mooning the Vikings team bus when it came to town.

I remember actually being somewhat offended by how despicably Buck played up this essentially lighthearted and very humorous act (except to Packer fans whose team also got drubbed in the game) as tantamount to the genocide in Darfur or the Holocaust (oops, Godwin's Law strikes again!). I'm not sure if Mr. Buck just has very gentle sensibilities or dislikes Randy Moss as an individual or what, but the fact that Cris Collinsworth was close to laughing on the telecast seems to suggest Buck's reaction was not exactly typical of his colleagues.

Up until this particular incident, I was pretty much beholden to the Mainstream Media's portrayal of sports- I (then as now) avidly watched ESPN and relied on MSM sources (SI, ESPN, CBS, FOX, et al) for most of my sports news. However, following Buck's reaction, I began to notice more and more that the big-time sports media was not quite in tune with their audience. Most of my friends, like me, found the celebration very funny (although, this being Philly, were looking forward to rubbing it in Randy's face the next week when the Eagles hosted the Vikes in a Divisional Round game). I began to notice that the sports (and news, but that's another time) media was becoming so caught up in sensationalism and their image that they didn't appreciate the competitive spirit of the game as much anymore, and that often times the view of the media wouldn't quite match up with the average fan on the street. Though the big boys might suggest that their expertise and experience enables them to some sort of a "more refined" opinion on the big issues in sports, to me, that sort of inherently arrogant opinion is precisely the problem.

On a side note, at this point I was a big fan of ESPN's Page 2 editorial/humor section, especially its best-known and most popular columnist... yes... you guessed it... this guy. Despite his Boston homerism and really obscure pop culture references, I found the fan's-eye view with which Simmons wrote very refreshing and interesting (he might've sold out with E:60 and his podcast and celebrity status and Hollywood access, etc., etc., but I admit I still read every one of his columns). I liked him precisely because his obvious passion for not just the game itself, but specific teams and his quirky perspectives and outside interests were organic and differed from many of the unoriginal, bombastic media types out there (*cough* Bayless *cough cough* Mariotti) who just bask in the attention their media pedestal provides without using their influence to contribute anything meaningful or fresh to the major debates in sports.

In due time, I discovered sports blogs and the opportunity this newfangled Interweb offered to (mostly) well-informed and passionate sports lovers to share their reflections and opinions with the world (as well as pictures of hot girls, which are nice). Today I really only check ESPN for hard news updates, stats, standings and the like- I get the vast majority of sports opinion and analysis from blogs (many of which will soon be listed on my blogroll).

Whew... what was intended as a simple explanation of my blog's name turned into a veritable soliloquy (yay! big words!) on the state of the sports media in general... sorry about that. Those of you who made it through this marathon of a post- congrats!

No comments: