Correcting ESPN The Mag, Part 1

Regular readers might be familiar with my occasional posts — “Correcting Bill Simmons” and “Correcting Rick Reilly” — where I try to help out my better-paid, less-informed counterparts by pointing out when/where they’re wrong. This time, I’m going to tackle ESPN The Mag as a whole. I know I’m going to hear some guy at the sports bar regurgitate this “analysis” as his own opinion and I won’t have the wherewithal to call him on it.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite blowhard — and I doubt he’d take that as an insult given his commentary stylings — Stephen A. Smith. In his “Up Front” column, he criticizes Oscar De La Hoya for not knowing when to give it up.

Help, someone! Pretty Please!

It would be really nice if someone could muster some plausible explanation as to why a fighter like Oscar De La Hoya, beyond his prime for quite a while before the Manny Pacquiao bout, still chose to step into the ring and get his brains beat out. The mismatch was so obvious that Oscar’s wife, Millie, was screaming for him to quit before he had the common sense to do it himself.

It’s really easy to knock De La Hoya after the match is over when it’s clear that he shouldn’t have fought the fight. But one quick look at the pre-fight odds (-165 Hoya / +135 Pacquiao) reveals that this fight fooled a LOT of people, not just the Golden Boy. According to the betting public, De La Hoya was the clear favorite in the fight, so why would Oscar think that he was about to step into a beatdown? The betting public clearly doesn’t know everything, but it’s a pretty good gauge of public opinion and if the public is fooled, why would De La Hoya — who has an ego of a big-time fighter — know any better?

If Smith writes this column before the fight, I’d give him props. But this is classic kick-’em-while-they’re-down writing.

Let’s move on to Mike & Mike (Golic & Greenberg) who answer “The Big Question” — if the best players in college sports don’t make any noise in the pros, what’s their legacy?

Read the rest after the jump...

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Mike Golic comments on “Lionsgate”

So, according to Golic, it’s okay for Favre to answer questions about the Packers’ tendencies as long as he didn’t initiate the call. Golic compared the situation to players that were signed for a week by a team just to give their new team info about their old team. But Favre wasn’t signed by the Lions.

Is Golic saying that it’s not okay if Favre called the Lions to BS about something else, and then they asked him about the Packers? Or is he saying that as long as Favre didn’t initiate the discussion about the Packers, that he’s in the clear.

I don’t know why whether or not Favre initiated the call even matters. As soon as the Lions asked him about the Packers, he should have ended the call.

For his part, Favre has denied that he called the Lions and helped them game plan.

Mike Greenberg said something stupid today

I was watching the Best of Mike & Mike in the Morning on good ol’ ESPN2 (the same network that brings us the daily rantings of Skip Bayless), and heard Mike Greenberg say the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard him say. I’m not a regular watcher/listener, but I’m familiar with the guy.

He and Mike Golic were discussing John Lackey’s near no-hitter against Boston, and “Greeny” said that since the Red Sox were going to lose anyway (they were down 6-0, so the chances of a comeback were indeed slim), if he were a Boston player he would root for the no-no because he would want to witness history.

This is the problem with having people who don’t have a competitive sports background commenting on sports. He does a fine job of giving his opinion of an average sports fan, but in a case like this – when he’s saying that the Red Sox players should be rooting for Lackey to complete the no-hitter – he’s spouting utter nonsense.

Anyone who has played sports at a high level – I’m talking about most college programs as well as a few of the more successful high school programs – would cringe at this thought. No one, and I mean no one, who considers themselves a true competitor would want to see a no-hitter thrown against their team. It’s not just a sign of great pitching; it’s a sign of inept hitting. No competitor wants the opposing team to have its way.

To my point, Golic, who had a long NFL career, disagreed with Greenberg’s comments.

My advice for Greeny is to stop trying to put yourself in the shoes of the athletes – just comment on sports from a fan’s perspective.

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