Friday, June 02, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, you might have expected that there would be no post this evening following the unfortunate Tiger collapse. But more important events have induced me to launch the new feature I have been promising for quite some time now. Miami defeated the Pistons and eliminated them from the NBA playoffs. More importantly, Antoine hit a devastating 3 down the stretch, and I saw a sight that could make up for any number of late inning rallies by my mortal enemies. The Walker Wiggle was seen tonight. And, for the purposes of this site, it couldn't have come at a better time. Without further eloquence (or whatever quality I possess that stands in the stead of eloquence)...


For those of you who don't know, Max Mercy is the parasitic sports writer from the classic Bernard Malamud novel The Natural ( proper MLA documentation eludes my skill as a writer in the present format, forgive me for not pacing greater emphasis on the title). He is played quite well by Robert Duvall in the film version.

Max Mercy is a weasel, a scumbag (and yes, I'm aware of that word's original meaning) and a jock sniff. For those qualities and more, in my way of thinking, he stands as a perfect avatar for the modern sports journalist. There are obvious exceptions, who may be named later provided that I have more time and am infused with a sudden influx of industry. Furthermore, as long as the Red Sox manage to win more than they lose, there is no place in this site for positivity.

Based on the preceeding paragraph, and the earlier posts (if you're crazy enough to have read them), you might expect the first member of the Max Mercy Hall of Fame to be the CHB. I do have a number of problems with the CHB as a writer, and rest assured he will be enshrined in this pantheon eventually. Tonight's lucky inductee came to the Boston Globe from New Jersey, via Boston College, and that about sums it up for him. He is...
Bob Ryan.

As a writer, Bob's prose style is no worse than any other sports journalist. His voice does have a nasal quality that resembles a dentist's drill in the middle of a root canal. It can be particularly annoying when he forgets to use his inside voice in one of his inexplicably frequent television appearances. All of these are reasons to dislike someone in Cincinnati Kid land (for those of you keeping score at home, that is how I refer my own little corner of paradise, the island of normalcy in Red Sox Nation).

My biggest problem with Bob Ryan, and the reason he vaulted over the CHB (and others who will join them in time), is his delight in kicking someone when he (or she, I can't think of an instance when Bob's done this to a woman, but I'm sure an enlightened gentleman like him wouldn't discriminate based on gender) when he is down.

A case in point is the recent (and long delayed) departure of Nomar. I don't know whether he was the first, but Bob Ryan hinted that some of Nomar's injury problems might be related to steroid use. I don't know whether Nomar did or did not use steroids. I never liked him. I was glad to see him go. I don't miss the braying morons screaming "Nomahhh." I am quietly amused a how quickly the morons who insisted that Nomar was better than Jeter shut their faces.

I still don't like Nomar. But even more than I hated him, I hate it when a guy facing a deadline throws somebody under the bus because they lack creativity and the effort that it takes to do legitimate research (this blog is exempt from that statement, as it is a monument to my misanthropy, bitterness, negativity and above all insanity). That is what our beloved Bob Ryan did with that one, as far as I can tell.

Then there is Butch Hobson. I was too young to remember him as a player. I do remember him as Red Sox manager, and I remember wishing ill on him professionally. I had no real interest in seeing him suffer personal tragedies, I just wanted the Red Sox to lose every game. Then one night, he was arrested for cocaine possession. Here in Cincinnati Kid land, we do not condone the use of illegal drugs, but the man was going through a rough patch.

In minutes, it seemed, a column appeared under the Bob Ryan byline in the Boston Globe. In it, we found out that Butch Hobson the player was not a very savory character. Among his great sins, Butch never seemed to miss a last call. Intead of asking questions like how would Bob Ryan know he never missed a last call, I, good guy that I am, assume that Bob Ryan acquired that red nose of his picking cherries (if you don't know that expression, feel free to look it up) and not frequenting the same drinking establishments that Mr. Hobson visited. Butch had enough problems without Bob Ryan taking his soap box and getting all moral majority on us.

Then there is the case of Antoine Walker. When Danny Ainge is his infinite incompetence traded Employee Number 8 to Dallas for magic beans, of course Bob had an opinion there. He called Antoine a punk. Brave words, indeed, when over a thousand miles intervene. I will not go into a long discourse on Antoine's virtues. Bill Simmons did that over a year ago (I might be inclined to quote him if the ESPN archive fee weren't infinitely in excess of this site's current budget).

I merely offer this as an illustration of how much it meant to Antoine to play in Boston. The day after his trade was announced, he put his ad in the Boston newspapers thanking the fans and the organization. Johnny Damon signed with the Yankees on December 23. His ad ran in the local papers in February. Only a cynic would assume that the erstwhile darling of the Inside Track and the 80 IQ set in Fenway deliberately waited until the weeks between the Super Bowl and March Madness to ensure his artificial display of magnanimity received the most media attention.

Watching Antoine do his wiggle tonight, and seeing him go to the Finals with a new team should have hurt. It didn't. Celtics fans have Wyc and Irv and Danny, a veritable confedracy of dunces. Boston fans didn't appreciate him because he shot a low percentage and complained to the officials (no more than most players, and much less than the more visible stars like Kobe and Dirk). The Boston media didn't appreciate him either, ostensibly for the same reasons he didn't inspire the fans but more likely because he refused to pay homage to the graven image of each individual writer.

This was quite a post, in addition to attacking a famous writer from a major metropolitan newspaper, I think I worked in some nice touches. There was at least one use of the royal/editiorial we in there. A couple of references to myself in the third person brought a lot to the table. But I have to say, I was glad I managed to throw a furthermore and an erstwhile in there. Words like that really dress up a post. Throw in a Warren Harding allusion (he ran for the White House in 1920 advocating a return to normalcy) and you're off and running. Good night and go Tigers.

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