Sid Sexiero Should Succeed Solomon

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062915 Sid Sexeiro Should Succeed Solomon

For regular readers of this blog, it comes as no surprise how much I despise activists who call themselves sportscasters. They could care less how well or how bad your team is doing so as long as you remember there are poor black people out there getting beaten up by police. I shouldn’t be singling that group out but they are currently the Flavour of the Month in the progressive circles. There are quite a lot of these people out there: Keith Olbermann, Bob Costas, and Bryant Gumbel just to name few. Here in Canada, there is Sid Sexeiro.

Whenever you see Sexeiro on TV, or hear him on the radio, doesn’t he sound like he is the least bit interested in talking about sports? He certainly likes to be mad as hell about everything, but so does Mel Gibson. Sexeiro’s new TV show with Tim Micallef on Sportsnet will launch on Canada Day. And if you follow the mantra of the Pension Plan Puppets, Sexeiro should be ridiculed for replacing a woman (Hazel Mae) on the supper hour sportscast. But since the two are on the same left side of the political dial, I’m guessing the PPP will bite their tongue on this one.

Sexeiro is part a long list of people in the media who have been put in a prime position on network television and does not, and will not, do what he or she is supposed to do. In this case, talk about sports. But I also believe his level of talent should not go to waste. With Evan Soloman being shown the door at the CBC, who better to take over Power and Politics on state media than Canada’s version of Olbermann? Frankly, Sexeiro will do a better job on CBC than Olbermann did at MSNBC.

This move kills two birds with one stone, we are rid of an annoying talking head on sports television and the peaceniks get someone who can articulate the corruption in the Harper government without the baggage of his predecessor. It is a win-win situation. I believe Power and Politics is where Sexeiro belongs. This is his calling.

Also see:

In Defense of George Stroumboulopoulos
Sports is Not a Platform for Activism
Sports Media is Becoming Boring

 

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Keep Your Head Up People!

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060915 Keep Your Head Up People

When I see sports fans on TV getting hurt by a flying bat or a foul ball, my first thought is not if they are alright but shaking my head saying “pay attention people”. There was a woman in Boston who learned things the hard way when she was hit by a shattered bat while watching a game at Fenway last week. She had to be taken out of the park on a stretcher with what authorities are calling “life-threatening” injuries.

Not to make light or lessen the seriousness of her injury but I would guarantee you that had she had kept an eye on that bat, she would not have been as badly hurt. I would go as so far as to say she would have walked out of the park on her own. This of course has prompted calls for netting around the seating area. We have seen this at hockey arenas because some dad didn’t remind his son or daughter to be careful of flying pucks that could be headed their way. Safety has overtaken fan enjoyment as top priority.

This is a reminder that when you are coming to see a game of any sport, you have to be aware of the situation at all times. The fan next to you or the usher that showed you to your seat is not responsible for your safety. If it is that important that you need to text your friend, or take a selfie, or chit chat about something unrelated to the game, don’t do it at a sporting event. While you may have paid hundreds or thousands of dollars to sit there, it does not give you exemption of personal responsibility.

Now, that is not to say people will not get hurt if they pay attention at all times. But I would say that there would have to be some serious intention or premeditation if the fan gets hurt despite taking precautions. In other words, you have to convince me that Brett Lawrie intentionally threw the bat into the stands as he was swinging at the pitch. That’s pretty tough to do but knowing the political motivation of my detractors they will go to great lengths to try to prove me wrong.

Here’s another example of where things could have gone wrong if you are not aware of what’s going on in the game. As Don Cherry would say, “keep your head up!”

Also see:

Outsiders Strikes Again
People Don’t Watch Sports, Fans Do
Hockey is a Tough Sport, Get Use to it

Don’t Judge a Game by the Scoreboard

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060115 Don't Judge a Game by the Scoreboard

I am always dumbfounded that sports fans and media can tell you how great or how dull a game it was simply by looking at the final score. The final score tells you who won and lost but it fails to mention the how and the why. It is the last two that puts the game into context. A 4-3 score in a baseball game won’t say that the winning team got four runs in the bottom of the ninth on a grand slam home run after the opposing pitcher retired the first 26 batters he faced.

Many experts will tell you that a 1-0 or 2-1 game is boring, uninteresting. That maybe true but unless you actually watched the game, who are we to judge? Even those who did watch the game often point to the scoreboard to tell you how the game went. Take Friday’s Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference Final. There was no scoring in the first 45 minutes of the game but it was hardly boring. Both Ben Bishop and Henrik Lundqvist made some big saves off of tremendous scoring opportunities. Lundqvist in particular had to make a few stops from a talented goal-scorer in Steven Stamkos.

Same goes with the Memorial Cup final between Oshawa and Kelowna on Sunday. Like the Rangers-Lightning game, this one was also low scoring but had plenty of chances from both ends. Players were able to move freely and there were very few penalties. I witnessed a 1-0 game in the GMHL playoffs this past season. It was both interesting and compelling to watch despite the score. This coming from a league where lighting the lamp is common. In contrast, I’ve seen games where the scores were 10-8 or 9-7 and those games were not exciting mainly because how easy those goals were scored. But people will look at the score and say it must have been a great game to see.

I would argue that it is not to lack of goals (or points, or runs) that makes these games seem dull to many people. It is actually the lack of scoring chances that gives them that impression. I will also argue that the rarity of scoring makes the game interesting because there is now a premium on it. The next goal could be the difference and it compels people to stay in their seats and pay close attention. Both teams like to get that next goal while at the same time preventing one in their own end. That makes the players battle harder to generate chances and we all like to see that.

Part of the excitement is also appreciating the sport for what it is. Much as been made about the lack of scoring, no matter what sport you follow. As exciting a 3-run home run by Josh Donaldson is, a complete game performance by Mark Buehrle can be just as interesting to watch. There has been a lot made about soccer (or football for the European readers) and the criticism about the lack of scoring. But the natural pace of soccer is not as quick as hockey and while that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there are those who seem to be more comfortable with that.

Think you can tell how good a game is by reading the final score in the newspaper? Well, you are a better man or woman than most of us. But I can tell you that making that determination only shows how lazy we as a society have become. The next person who tells me how boring a game it was, I’ll say, “I’ll be the judge of that”.

Also see:

Firing Exposes Incompetence… Among Fans and Media
People Don’t Watch Sports, Fans Do
Sports Media is Becoming Boring