Soccer and Olbermann: An Unfocused Look at the Past Week in the World

The Sports Guy: One-half of the Great Internet Nerd War.

Because we can’t cover everything, and we don’t work weekends, each Friday, Sports Casualties’ two co-authors will write two separate reviews of the past week. These startling pieces of immediate nostalgia will cover whatever topics the writers care to include. Consider this a wallet-sized picture that you can carry with you the entire weekend to hold yourself over until Monday when we will be back and better than ever. To read Robbie Hilson’s far more thoughtful take on the week, click here. My name is in the lede, so it’s probably pretty good.

This will likely be the last time that I report to you, loyal Sports Casualties reader, from the spring break paradise of Tampa’s Carrollwood oasis. Over the last week, I have admittedly slacked off and let this raucous environment get the best of me. I come to you with no apologies, only hangovers and X’s on my hands (13 more days, 13 more days).

When I return on Monday, it will be from the familiar confines of my Gainesville apartment. University, as our foreign friends like to call it, will be back in session, and my life will be consumed by this sacred Web site and over-demanding professors.

But for now, the skies are clear and the Coronas are flowing. And by that I mean that I still haven’t changed out of what I slept in last night, I carry the aroma of a smoke-filled bar and Tampa hasn’t seen sunlight in roughly two days. The cloud cover and rain are so thick that I am beginning to feel as if I am in a real-life version of “Independence Day.” Russell Casse please save me.

Make it sunny again.

Let’s do this.

We honestly wouldn’t be a real sports blog if we didn’t address the ongoing Internet feud between MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and ESPN.com writer Bill Simmons. Before we begin discussing this issue, I must say, in the name of journalistic objectivity, that I’m not really objective at all in this area.

I like Bill Simmons. I don’t like Keith Olbermann. I enjoy sports and pop culture. I’m not a huge MSNBC kind of guy. Anybody who has read SC can probably tell that Simmons is one of our larger influences. You can think differently about this and jump to a pretty clear conclusion on my personal beliefs. I promise I won’t judge you for it.

The reason why I can't watch "Football Night in America."

The aspect of this that I believe everyone will agree with is that this is a clash between two men who A) made names for themselves in rather untraditional manners and B) have quite sizeable egos. Olbermann went from Sportscenter anchor to “political analyst.” Simmons went from small-time Holy Cross graduate and bartender to television writer to ESPN Internet sensation who writes as a fan instead of a journalist.

The clash is pretty elementary: Olbermann doesn’t think that Simmons has any talent, Simmons doesn’t want to be Olbermann when he grows up, neither thinks the other deserves the career that he has.

Robbie Hilson might have put it best when he said that “America loses” when two egomaniacs go after each other like this. It is unlikely that either will gain any new fans or admirers because of this. I hereby declare myself done talking about it.

Thanks to random Google Reader updates, this morning I discovered that Major League Soccer is likely on the brink of a player’s strike. To say that this is a dumb idea is like saying that this blog is kind of sarcastic. If this strike actually happens, it will be one of the more ignorant things in sports today.

MLS is the only real major outlet for professional soccer in America. It is already at-best only the second-most popular soccer league for Americans, so things aren’t exactly riding glorious for MLS efforts.

Add that into the fact that Americans get excited about soccer exactly once every four years, meaning that players would be striking during their one opportunity to capitalize on that momentum. Nobody will ever confuse me with a FOX Business Channel analyst, but I just don’t see the economic upside in this train of thought.

Fox Business Name-Drop: Solely an excuse to include a picture of anchor Sandra Smith.

Sticking with strange ideas, baseball announced their latest concept for “freshening up the product” this week. The plan? Rapid realignment. Let’s just let everybody choose what division that they want to play in on an annual basis. Why the hell not?

The scary thing about this is that there were actually a couple of mildly decent explanations that MLB gave for this revelation. For example, teams like the Tampa Bay Rays could escape the yearly grind of being trapped with the all-powerful Red Sox and Yankees while the Cleveland Indians could take their spot in the AL East to help boost attendance during a rebuilding year.

Examples like that almost make this ridiculously impractical theory sound practical.However, I won’t allow you to fool me again this time, Bud Selig. Better luck next year.

Also in baseball, Nomar Garciaparra offically announced his retirement on Wednesday and was able to sign a one day contract with Boston meaning that he would get to retire as a member of the Red Sox. This brought some closure to a career that can only be described as weird.

Taunting Boston fans with his name's surplus of the letter "R."

I’ve never been a fan of the Red Sox (correction: I despise the Red Sox and all that they stand for). However, this was truly a classy gesture to a man that legitimately deserves such. Garciaparra’s career became an awkward blur after he was traded out of Boston six years ago and it is nice to see it end in a circular motion instead of a cliff jump.

College basketball is dominating the sports landscape right now with conference tournaments seemingly never not on television and Selection Sunday just a couple of days away. It is with this in mind that I make a shameless and almost certainly pointless plug for my hometown team.

Dear NCAA selection committee, please find it in your hearts to let the USF Bulls partake in the 2010 edition of March Madness. Yes, I know that they needed to win more than one game in the Big East tournament to be a realistic consideration, and I know that almost everyone is assuming that they’re NIT bound. But please, if there’s a team that needs this more than anyone, it’s my Bulls.

It’s not like they have a terrible resume. They’re a 20-win team in the best conference in college basketball. Could Washington, Arizona State or Florida (me universidad), have done that? I say no.

C'mon NCAA, do it for the fans.

Yes, the NIT is a step-up from the Bulls previous seasons of futility, but this year should be different. This team is different. So NCAA, it is with humble desperation that I beg you one last time. Please let USF into the big dance. I can’t deal with too many more “NIT Appearance” banners.

While finishing on the topic of basketball, here is an example of SC utilizing the latest in technological reporting.

“Feel free to include something about U basketball’s second straight upset.” – text message from Robbie Hilson.

There you go, Robbie. Enjoy the short ode to Miami basketball.

AND NOW…(drum roll)

WHY I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK: The Never-Ending Saga

In no specific order, and with no real explanation, this is my weekly look at some of the things that kept me distracted while I was trying to write.

Mike Leach doesn’t want to hear your Bible-thumping on his football field.

I believe the words “epic fail” apply here.

Umm…yeah.

What to Watch on Television this Weekend

Because although we live in a country where we are free to watch whatever we want, deep down inside we still want people to tell us what to watch.

NCAA Conference Tournaments – A lot of channels – A lot of times

I can’t really pick one to target, but conference tourney weekend is typically one of great excitement. It’s also fun to watch because deep down it pisses off Skip Bayless.

Enjoy your weekend.

-Bryan

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Soccer and Olbermann: An Unfocused Look at the Past Week in the World

  1. Olbermann’s comments were totally uncalled for. You can disagree with the guy but attack the opinion, not the journalist. Maybe he’s jealous that Simmons has passed him by….

    • bholt11

      Won’t hear any disagreements from myself here, Davey. Olbermann talks like there is one concrete way to make it as a writer. In other news, he claims that he doesn’t vote in order to preserve his “political objectivity.” Not to ruin the suspense, but I’m pretty sure that I don’t need to hear how Olbermann is voting to know which way he is leaning.

      Thanks for reading.

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