Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Around the horn

A few non-hockey sporting things...

**A few months ago when I tossed out rather casually that Tiger Woods is "the most dominant professional athlete of my lifetime", a couple of commenters came back with No, it's Federer. I don't think so, for the two reasons I touched on in the comments. One is that tennis has had a talismanic figure for most of my life -- either men's, women's, or both. The name changes every so often, but I have a hard time agreeing that this name has been so unstoppable that his dominance exceeds that found in any other sport.

The other is this clay court/French Open thing. If Tiger Woods had never won the U.S. Open because his game isn't very well suited to narrow fairways and high rough, he'd surely be about as rich and famous as he is now anyway, but most sports fans wouldn't even consider him to be the greatest golfer ever, let alone putting him with Jordan, Gretzky, and a few others in the pantheon. Bigger tennis fans than me are free to argue about Federer's rightful legacy in his sport, but that gaping hole in his resume means he ought to be set aside in discussions of Most Dominant Pro Athlete.

**I'm right back into baseball now. My enthusiam was pretty damp early on, when my Alberta Baseball Confederacy fantasy team (The Willie McGee Helmet) went 1-11 in the first 3 weeks, but now that Shaun Marcum has turned into a near ace and C.C. Sabathia has stopped bringing a gas can with him to the mound, it's a lot more fun. Also, it's nice having the closers for the two best teams in the majors.

The other thing that has really amplified my enjoyment of MLB this season and last is having XM Radio in the car, which carries the home feed for every single game of the season. Not only are you able to catch any game you're particularly interested in following, but you get to develop an appreciation (or hate) for some of the crews.

Much like hockey -- TV and local radio both -- baseball has a LOT of PbP guys and analysts who have been on the job for a long time. And it's a pretty mixed bag. Some of them are clearly losing their chops and/or their interest (I'm not too high on the Mariners' Dave Niehaus), but some of them remain absolutely golden.

Jon Miller, better known to most fans as the English-speaking half of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball booth team, is a hell of a treat to listen to as the Giants' guy. And my absolute favourite is the Padres' Jerry Coleman, who is apparently in his 36th year as their radio voice.

My absolute favourite thing, as it turns out, has been listening to the home broadcast for Blue Jays' road games where Roy Halladay is the starter. In all sports, hearing the regular crew extol the virtues of the local hero gets old, and lord knows the national broadcasters are always intent on making everything about the superstars (Crosby). So there's something kind of thrilling about listening to the other team's broadcasters spend an entire game saying -- and I paraphrase -- "Christ, this guy is good!"

These are the times I wish I carried a notebook around. One of the few comments I do remember is the Tigers' crew last year, with Detroit coming up in the bottom of the 8th. "The Tigers must be hoping this is Halladay's last inning... while they trail only 2-0, they've only managed 3 hits tonight, and all three were batted off the dirt in front of home plate."

**And speaking of enjoyable broadcasting, I commend you to the LiveBlog-thingie that Yahoo! UK runs for the Euro 2008 matches. They write just like they talk!!! (Example: "Real fizz about this game now... High drama here. A goal now would be priceless for either side... TURKEY HAVE WON IT AT THE DEATH!!!..." etc.)

**The CTV purchase of "The Hockey Theme" seems like a resolution that should satisfy everyone. I hope we can stop talking about it now.

**Go Flames.


I'll just add to this that Peter Puck just sold his rings. Those Trappers rings actually went at a nice price.

Vin Scully is still the best. The guy called the 55 World Series win for the Dodgers, and sounds pretty much the same today. Hasn't skipped a beat.

Good to see Marcum get all that run support again today.

Turkey over the Swiss?
sounds like what i had fer lunch!

[cymbal crash]

Thank you. I'm here all week…

Every time I tune to a Dodgers game lately, it's Charlie Steiner, not Scully. I think Scully only does a few innings a game now. (?)

Good to see Marcum get all that run support again today.

The Jays lineup looks thin at the best of times. When Rios and Rolen are resting, it's atrocious. (Lyle Overbay batting 5th? Pfft.). Also, BJ Ryan is a real fucker. Isn't his elbow ready to explode again yet?

When did you come up with the new Helmet logo, btw? And what do you think the odds are that you will repeat as ABC champ?

The Guardian's live blogs are excellent as well, with extra snark added. Here's the opening from today's Turkey v. Switzerland match:

This tie could have been as bland as a cardboard casserole, if it wasn't for the fact that these two sides beat seven shades of poop our of each other following a World Cup qualifier back in 2005. Pity poor Stéphane Grichting, who ended up with a perforated urinary tract. Credit to the Turks though, even the second world war couldn't get the Swiss going, so it was some impressive baiting to get them a-fighting. This one could have more instances of blow than Chelsea-era Adrian Mutu.

Credit to the Turks though, even the second world war couldn't get the Swiss going, so it was some impressive baiting to get them a-fighting. This one could have more instances of blow than Chelsea-era Adrian Mutu.

Ooh, that's good. It's no H.G. Bissinger, of course, but it's pretty damn good.

I echo Cleave's thoughts on The Guardian's live blogging for the matchdays. Always has been excellent writing (even the rugby and cricket, yes I follow those too).

As far as hockey broadcasting goes, apparently Roger Hundreds will be replaced by Peter Loubardias for Flames hockey on Sportsnet.

Vin Scully only does games in California, these days, and he's always split games between TV and radio, even when Don Drysdale was his partner-in-crime.

What about Michael Schumacher. IMO he's in the same league as Tiger at least.

What is athletic about what Schumacher does? Or Woods for that matter?

Hey, my unofficial-unauthorized Willie McGee Helmet logo finally found a use! Rockin'.

The problem with not considering Federer for the greatest of all time title due to his lack of a French open title is that it invalidates Sampras, a guy many would say holds that title. In fact, Sampras only made one FO semi.

Federer has been to, and lost, 3 French open finals, and has clearly been the 2nd best clay court player over that time frame, to Nadal. Nadal, says MacEnroe, is the greatest clay court player of all time, so is it then just bad luck that Federer happened to come along at the same time as Nadal? it then just bad luck that Federer happened to come along at the same time as Nadal?

Well, regarding the rather narrow question of Most Dominant Pro Athlete of My Lifetime? Yes, absolutely. Federer's not it, unless the definition of "dominant" has been revised.




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