Thursday, March 13, 2008

SmartSports 3/13/08

As always, please do send me links to smart stories in sports news, and comment/e-mail if you like this feature. I always have a lot of ideas in my head, so I could kill this idea and move to something else if my readers aren't too excited about this. (That's code for "I'm lazy and really, really bad at hyperlinking, so let me have an excuse to quit!").

This article in the OC Register spoke about how NFL players are getting business training from some of the nation's top schools.

Continuing the coincidental business theme for the week, see a discussion on how newspapers lost the web war. It's a very relevant topic for bloggers, and the article is written for the average person. Try it out.

Finally, check out this WSJ video on the pressures of recruiting.

D-Wil is the first blogger I've seen to make the connection between Arlen Specter, Comcast campaign donations, and Arlen's one-man assault on the NFL for various and sundry crimes. I've never cared for Arlen ever since his rudeness to Anita Hill. To hear he's attacking the NFL because Comcast (who is legendary for their poor customer service) paid him makes sense to me. And D-Wil's account is supported by some links in the comments that you should also check out.

At first, I thought I had written the best review of God Save the Fan so far. Then, I read the Deadspin Book Club's entry and bumped myself down to second. It's a bad week for the ol' ego (and a good week for common sense), as at best my review of GSTF is third. Look at this review from Noel Murray of the Onion!
I have to excerpt some of the better quotes for you to prove its insight:

As a blog, Deadspin sometimes betrays its own principles by treating sports so flippantly that the site's writers are the ones taking the fun out of sports. But as a book, God Save the Fan is smart, funny, and largely consistent in its philosophy.

See, there is a difference! I'm not crazy for noticing it in my review!
and later on:
If there's a major lapse in God Save the Fan's worldview, it's that Leitch romanticizes "the fan" too much. He conveniently forgets--probably because Deadspin comments are moderated--that fans too often ruin sports by behaving like louts and bigots.

Although I sometimes disagree with the tone or style of Deadspin commentland, I quickly realized the intelligence of a majority of the commenters. That's not par for the sporting course.

Tech Tool: Congoo is yet another news aggregation site among the hundreds that already cover the web. But the reason I like it is the way it groups the top news stories of the day. If there's a big sports story out there, I don't want to read just one paper's take on what happened; I like getting a menu. In its design, Congoo is almost like a Google News/CNN mash-up, showing all the top stories but allowing you to see multiple sources for each story. I found out that there had been some interesting developments in the Sean Taylor murder case by perusing the sports section of Congoo.

Flawed Logic:
Like I said, I'm leaving the bloggers alone for a little while, but had to speak out on another topic. Outside the realm of sports, but I was displeased to see the New York Times linking to the Myspace of Eliot Spitzer's call girl friend. The logic used to defend such actions insults my intelligence. Just because I make a Myspace page doesn't mean I'm inviting the whole world in to berate me. I'm saddened to see all the mean comments left on her site (although others tried to help her by telling to get a lawyer, make the page private, and otherwise defend herself). Now this girl has to deal with thousands of ignorant strangers rushing to call her "whore" while pretending that their pejoratives indicate a courageous act.

Although I think that prostitution is an inappropriate career, I also strongly disagree with the blanket condemnation of every prostitute as being less than human. The New York Times Metro people will win Pulitzers by dragging every piece of newsworthiness out of this girl's sad life, leaving her in a heap with her life even more messed up than before. But they won't care; they'll be off to the next story! Yeah for journalism! Which leads to a possible Bloggolalia topic; is it right to use Myspace/Facebook/Webshots to gain info on athletes? I certainly have used those tools in the past. But I'm starting to wonder about the ethics of such actions, and if there is such a thing as a "right to privacy."

Question for Debate: Is Oscar De La Hoya the most well-rounded athlete of all time? The evidence is the boxing titles to prove his athletic exploits, the Latin Grammy to prove his musical abilities, and the millions of dollars in promotion of sports events and his part ownership in MLS to prove his business savvy. The MLS acquisition sounds dumb at first, but suppose soccer one day becomes a major sport in the US. Then the investment will at least double in value.

EDIT: I owe Michael David Smith a link, as that's where the MLS info comes from. The "Is Oscar the most well-rounded?" idea is 100% mine, but I still owe the hard-working MDS a link for providing the inspiration. Thanks to Matthew for reminding me of that. All of you, feel free to jog my memory if you think I miss an attribution; I want to write this site the right and fair way.

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