By Mike Wise
Saturday, June 23, 2007
The Boston Globe's fine account of Curt Schilling's one-hit masterpiece in Oakland two weeks ago went on for more than 1,000 words, which is long for a baseball game story in an American newspaper.
Except that Schilling wrote more about his near no-no, much more. On his blog, 38 Pitches, he wrote 2,766 words, which is Ken Burns long.
In his last paragraph, Schilling eviscerates a non-believer on a Red Sox fan forum, Sons of Sam Horn, in a way that would have made Ted Williams proud:
"BTW, to the folks at SOSH, cool game thread and Lucen you suck! 30,000 posts into your SOSH career and you know better than to mess with baseball karma you dolt. "
Following in Schilling's footsteps, Kobe Bryant demanded a trade last week, Gilbert Arenas said he has no interest in leaving Washington (despite his desire to opt out of his contract), Tiger Woods announced the birth of his baby girl and Mark Cuban described his colonoscopy, which, according to the Mavericks owner, "was easy and breezy :)."
Via their own blogs, without the assistance of napping journalists, they all wrote bylined stories and broke the "news" themselves.
So all I have to say is, Uncle.
The Post. The Globe. The New York Times. The Sanger Herald. It's over. You don't need us anymore.
After centuries of being told the pen is mightier than the sword and legal fees, they finally get it. The athletes and sports personalities of the new millennium have now eliminated the middle man. The flacks and hacks have been edited out.
Before they thought we were just spineless and insensitive. But spineless beats useless.
Now we get "THE TRUTH" from KB24.com -- "Wassup y'all" -- or at least Kobe's version of it:
" I've heard many people say "the Lakers are letting Kobe take the bullet for the Shaq trade" but I always just let that go," KB writes. "But now when I hear 'Lakers insider ' it makes me feel so unsupported that a Lakers 'insider' is tryin to spin Dr Buss' decision about Shaq on me."
We get Tiger thanking well-wishers for respecting his and his wife's privacy. He said he would send photos shortly of Sam Alexis, indicative of his desire to become his own paparazzi, too.
Arenas comes across a few fries short of a Happy Meal on his blog -- while injured he said he would play on one leg "like Heather Mills on 'Dancing with the Stars.' " But the other day he went into a lengthy and smart discussion about the NBA and economics, concluding with: "I don't have an agent. My counsel is myself. I just go through all the rules and read up on stuff."
Unfortunately, you also have to hear about Cuban's flatulence. Under the headline "My Colonoscopy," it reads, "Like every guy, the thought of being violated by a long tube is at the very bottom of the list of things I want to do on a summer day."
Like every guy, if there is a list of 73 things better left unspoken, details of Cuban describing his colonoscopy like a golfer describing his round is no better than No. 73. But at least he makes a seamless transition into his next post: "Hedge Fund IPOS: Individual Investors should be careful."
Blogs are essentially the home now of athletic self-indulgence, a broadband cry for help. Whatever two neurons happen to be snapping at that moment comes out unfiltered, the message sent straight to the masses -- which usually means other self-important bloggers who tell them what they want to hear. (These people save their innermost thoughts for their swell blog friends while disconnecting from their families.) For the athlete, it's cheaper than a posse or a therapist.
Fans, meanwhile, are granted authentic intimacy.
Kobe actually gave up his blog to sycophants the other day to bolster his point that the Lakers have morally wronged him.
"I love you, Kob," one poor soul writes. "There is no doubt in my mind that you wouldn't be doing this had J. Buss not misled you. Not trading for Kidd because we wanted to keep Bynum was a huge mistake. One of many, I'm sure. If indeed you are heading to Chi-Town, I will be right behind you."
Schilling's prose is not to be confused with Red Smith's or Jim Murray's. "First pitch outs are always huge," he writes. "First pitch outs in close games are doubly huge. First pitch outs in 1-0 games in which you have a no-hitter are extraordinarily huge."
But beyond the blather, the man does have some keen insight that neither a writer nor a broadcaster can touch in his memoir about his one-hitter. Windbag or not, he takes you inside the world of a future Hall of Famer in the twilight of his career.
Unlike your friends' annoying blogs, Tiger doesn't tell you about the mundane parts of his life: "Hey, sparkling water is 79 cents a bottle at Rodman's! I got rain-checked." In one paragraph, he is succinct and cordial.
Frankly, it's a godsend the Internet was invented just the last decade. How many more of us would have no career prospects had blogs been around, say, 200 years ago?
Lewis and Clark: " Wassup Y'all. We're in Montana. Man, they could use a 7-11 around here. Uh-oh. Blackfeet tribe across the river! Gotta jet."
Babe Ruth: "Hit No. 700 today. Ate 12 hot dogs. Met a nice girl on the train. You seen my socks?"
Ali with a blog wouldn't have needed Cosell to tell him, "You're very truculent today, Muhammad." Bundini Brown could have merely typed, "Frazier's be-hind will be mine by Round 9" into a laptop and that would be it. End of Howard.
Clubhouse confrontations over the years sadly would also have been avoided. Mitch Albom once had a bucket of water dumped on his head by a pitcher upset about something he had written. To the astonishment of cowardly journalists everywhere, the late Will McDonough of the Globe once clocked Raymond Clayborn in the Patriots' locker room. This was great fodder and made for more columnizing. Today, Schilling just skewers his detractors online and saves himself the aggravation.
The battle is over. They now have the pen. We're flat-out dispensable. What to do while waiting for the next revelation on KB24.com?
"Oh, me and my dog are driving cross-country. She is so cool. I hope we don't run out of sparkling water."