Wednesday, August 6

Jim Caple: Lowering the Bar Once Again

You will read many stupid stories in the weeks ahead about the Olympics, but none will exceed the stupidity of Jim Caple's latest at

To wit:

Sportswriters moaning about Internet firewalls and governmental snooping in Beijing are both flattering themselves that a Chinese bureaucratic gnome actually cares what we write about LeBron James' shooting percentage ...

Actually, Jim, nobody in any country wants to read your drivel. What the complaints are centered around is the fact China blocks sites such as the BBC, and not because of sports reporting, but because of political reporting on stories within China.

And yes, Beijing is so polluted there may be more toxic waste at the Games than at any sporting event since Lenny Dykstra retired. But Vancouver, which hosts the next Winter Games, dumps untreated sewage into coastal waters.

I live in Vancouver, and I can confirm that, yes, Vancouver does dump sewage into its waters. But to compare Beijing's skies to Vancouver's waters - wow, that's a leap of idiocy only a Bush Administration official would attempt.

For its faults, the nation continually offers more options and freedom to its citizens than one or two generations before.

So, if I understand correctly, a woman whose husband previously beat and raped her should be happy when he only beats her? That's called improvement?

You can color these Olympics any way you choose, but the fact remains that the China is the most repressive nation to have hosted the Olympics since the USSR in 1980 or Germany in 1936. The fact Jim Caple gets to stay in swanky hotels and eat dinner on ESPN's dime doesn't change any of that, in spite of all of his whimsical nonsense.


Anonymous said...

Yep, ESPN drivel. Most sports writing is abominable. There are rare exceptions, but in general this is low-level, uninsightful, cliche-riddled journalism. There is rarely a new perspective. China? Oh, let me tell you all the stereotypes I know...there's my column.

Sportswriters rely on exaggeration to make a point. They are thinking-challenged. They think jocks should be role-models. Just dumb. They are down on Eric Bedard becomes he doesn't play verbal-footsie. They act morally superior when it comes to womanizing, drugs, being-a-good-clubhouse-guy.....but rarely go after Greed (except at the owners and agents level), the biggest problem in sports. The AP writers are pitiful. Cliches are rampant. Token blonde interviewers say "take us through what it was like to face his knuckleball." Inanity reigns. They think it's insightful to point out that "Joe Blownot is facing his former third-base coach for the first time since the trade."

In the early '70s, after some big Dallas game, Tom Brooksheier, on national TV, inquired of Duane Thomas, running-back supreme, a question so ridiculous I cannot do it justice. Paraphrasing greatly, it was something like "You run faster than you appear to be running". It took minutes of gibberish to get it out. Duane glared an appropriate period of time, and then answered with one word: "Evidently". Wonderful.

Of course, sportswriters would all fail logic. There is no such thing as "Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers". Since he is one of the Lakers, that would make two of him. But, ya gotta mention the STAR somehow, right? More dumb.

Sportswriters believe in tradition. That way, they don't have to think. They defend things like inconsistently-sized baseball fields. Gee, the Seahawks have a power-running game this year, let's bring the sidelines in closer.

You are right to warn us about imminent drivel coming from the Olympics. Up close and personal. Would that the sportswriters stuck to what they know, which is.....?

Anonymous said...

Wow. Interesting rant. Let me play devil's advocate. First, that was actually one of the more unique Caple articles I've read in a while. I actually enjoyed it, despite my initial distrust due to this post.

Second, to the comment above, complaining about sportswriters and today's information is a chicken and egg argument. Trust me. There are many times I suggest a great article to friends and coworkers, intelligent people with college degrees who often love sport, and see them turn down the opportunity because "it is too long." You complain about the sportswriter, but I promise you those that COULD write at a higher level are likely told to "dumb it down to the audience."

Finally, baseball SHOULD have inconsistently-sized diamonds. It is unique like that, let it be. And I really can't recall on a frequent basis anyone suggesting changing the park dimensions for the team.... though the Mariners would be wise to eventually get around to changing the team for the park dimensions, but I digress.

Relax, for God's sake. Sports journalists are no worse than any other journalists, and rarely and worse (or better) than their general audience deserves.

You want to change it? Stop complaining. Write your own blog and top them on a twice weekly basis. Otherwise sit back and enjoy the show. At least Nuss has the right to complain since he does that. You, I've not seen anything. Don't complain till you do!

Paul said...

gay..stop with this drivel..

Thanks for the comment, "gay". We'll stop writing about the Sonics just as soon as you stop reading our blog. Honest. In fact, I'll even sign a contract promising to "make every effort" to do so.

(Also, is "gay" really an insult anymore? What century is Oklahoma in, anyway?)

Anonymous said...

Yes this article was stupid. But please remember to praise Caple for speaking about the Sonics when nobody else was. He's the only guy on ESPN that really nailed it on the head when it came to the unjustices and lies Bennett spewed. He also was the only one to talk about it when everyone else had moved on to talk about the draft. He even wrote after the settlement happened. I know this article is stupid, but give the guy a break. He's one of us.