Monday, March 19, 2007

Most point-having NCAA article ever!

In the latest round of ESPN downplaying the excitement of a sporting event which is not broadcast on ESPN, Pat Forde wrote a thoroughly pointless article about how March Madness is going to be boring because there's no Cinderella team this year. Three quick things that anger me before we get to the article's gooey inside:

1 - Would ESPN be talking about how boring the tournament is if it weren't being broadcast on CBS? If the tournament were on ABC, we'd have 30 minute breakdowns of every matchup on Sportscenter, with everyone in the studio raving about how Thursday at 12:10 ET can't come soon enough, and every tickerbar for the next five days would have a lengthy section devoted to every matchup, with the date, time, and different facts about each matchup scrolling by throughout the day.

2 - Is anyone actually saying "aw, man, you mean we might have to watch Florida vs Kansas and Georgetown vs UNC? This sucks!"

3 - Every year, people talk about how much they don't care about the World Series when the Yankees and Red Sox aren't involved. Apparently, a young Tigers team just a couple years removed from a joke season and a banged-up, falling-apart Cardinals team that managed to crawl through two rounds of the playoffs don't count as Cinderellas? I'm not saying I was thrilled to watch the Tigers and the Cardinals in '06, but come on, sportswriters, pick a mindset - do you want to see underdogs or not?

As if the purpose for Forde's article isn't stupid enough, the actual article itself is some of the most substandard (non-NHL) journalism I have ever seen on ESPN.com. The article begins:

Cinderella, the plucky princess of March Madness, died a quick and undramatic death over the weekend. She was 12... Pause with us while we mourn Cindy's passing for a moment.

This sure is awfully literal - did he really have to give a specific age to this dead little girl that he's describing? At first I thought he picked '12' because of the 12 seeds, but no 12 seeds played in round 2, VCU and Winthrop were 11s. Forde literally just made up the age of a symbolic child who was killed by high-seeded basketball teams this weekend. She was also "plucky."

The 2007 version of a glass-slippered party crasher is No. 7 seed UNLV, which is a joke. As I've been saying since the brackets were unveiled, Vegas was criminally underrated by the selection committee. The Runnin' Rebels were a 4- or 5-seed in underdog's clothing.

I give Forde props for jamming Cinderella analogies into every paragraph, and he's on such a roll, he kind of mentions Little Red Riding Hood too? A 4-seed dressed up as an underdog? Didn't Little Red Selection Committee notice what big ears Grandma UNLV had? What a pointlessly angry paragraph.

This doesn't mean she can't (and won't) rise from the dead in years to come. But for the time being, we'll have to stuff a sock in all the parity talk.

Now we're talking about supernatural zombie Cinderella possibly rising from the dead? I have a simpler, albeit crazier explanation: out of sheer probability, one of the twenty-eight double-digit seeds usually manages to win two games in a given year. This year, for the first time in a while, none of them did. This does not mean we have to stuff any socks into any types of talk, nor does it mean that a fictional girl is going to have to undergo a miracle resurrection next year for an underdog to make it through. If anything, one could argue that the fact that almost all the high seeds won is kind of an exciting anomaly in itself.

If either [Butler or Southern Ill.] wins, we'll be back to rhapsodizing about the achievements of the little guys. But neither will qualify as Cinderella. She's stretched out on a cold slab in the March Madness morgue.

What?? Now there's a literal morgue in fairy tale land? I also love Forde's complete dismissal of any potential excitement that might arise (on CBS) next week. "If Butler or Southern Illinois knock off the one-seeds, it'll be a huge upset that everyone will be talking about. But it can't be fairy tale girl, because she is in a morgue, so don't get too excited when you're watching the games on not-ESPN this weekend. Did I mention how exciting NASCAR, which ESPN is expanding its overage of, is?"

1 comment:

k.w. said...

espn can suck it. what was the problem with being a legit sports news channel? what was wrong with televising the mlb, nba, nhl and trickshot competitions? fuck.