I see Mariotti misspelled Stalking…again.
Why sports? Why still? This one, I like. Why continue to embrace a craft that literally almost killed me, a profession currently diluted by so many unskilled bloggers and corporate suckups that it has lost much of its soul?
My answer remains the same as it has for three decades: Because I still love sports, and because I still love to write. Sports + writing = sportswriter. And the fond memories still dance like nude women at Burning Man, whether it’s Michael Jordan’s wrist-pose final shot in Utah, or Michael Jordan’s flurry of threes in the Portland series, or Michael Jordan’s… er, Kirk Gibson’s gimp-limp home run at Dodger Stadium, or Michael Phelps’ eight gold medals in China, or Ben Johnson’s too-good-to-be-true sprint that turned on the sewer pipes for sport’s Steroids Era, or Tiger Woods winning a U.S. Open at Torrey Pines on one leg, or Jack Nicklaus winning the Masters at 46, or Lance Armstrong winning dirty in Paris, or the White Sox winning the only Chicago World Series trophy most of us ever will see, or the freaky goal that returned the Stanley Cup to Madison Street, or Super Bowl XX and the most dominant single-season team (sorry, Don Shula) in NFL history, or Michael Jordan’s six titles in six tries, or Michael Jordan’s…
I am blessed to have seen so much. How much do I love sports writing? I have a way of going through hell on the job and coming back for more. I had a heart attack during a bowl-game assignment, ending up drugged in a New Orleans hospital and watching groggily on closed-circuit TV while a stent was threaded through my leg and plugged into an artery. I’ve had my life threatened so often by cowardly cyber assassins, many from the South Side, that I’ve decided to have my ashes scattered at U.S. Cellular Field. I had Jordan angrily tell me that he kept my columns on his refrigerator door for motivation.
...As I begin to write this, I’m watching four baseball playoff games in a 12-hour span, also known as Bud Selig’s wet dream. You have Buster Posey proving why he’s MVP. You have Dusty Baker, a postseason flop again, running his team out of a potential big inning and losing another series. You have the Cardinals still carving out late-night miracles without Tony La Russa and Pujols, and the Washington Nationals flopping, in part, because management foolishly shelved Stephen Strasburg. You have Joe Girardi managing hours after his father died, and a night after he showed the wisdom and guts to pinch-hit Raul Ibanez for useless Alex Rodriguez. You have the payroll-lean Oakland Athletics, in a story that one-ups “Moneyball,” taking the potent Detroit Tigers to five games. The lords who run the game don’t deserve such theater after dulling down baseball to a distant No. 3, behind the NFL and NBA, as a spectacle. Anyone for a 20-second clock between pitches?
Posted: October 16, 2012 at 10:26 AM | 24 comment(s)
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