Monday, April 13, 2009

If I hate Yahoo! Sports so much, why don't I just stop reading it?

Because it's not all crap, doesn't cost a dime, and provides valuable lessons in how not to write.

So let's talk about bad writing. I don't even want to get into it with Tim Brown on the sports end of things. Honestly, I wouldn't know where to start.
Oh, the stuff Manny Ramirez will miss when he’s gone, off finishing his career not in Mannywood, but in Cleveland for, like, 40 cents on the dollar.
How does it help to call it "Mannywood" and not just "Hollywood"? Furthermore, think: consistency! I know "Mannyland" sounds dumb and vague, but once you start something, you need to see it through.
Oh, the sights and sounds that will pass him by when he’s hangin’ with a 40-year-old Jim Thome, and not Andre Ethier and Orlando Hudson and Chad Billingsley, when he’s sittin’ by the lake and not the sea.
Very cryptic and creative! I can't fault you there. But in the future, just tell me what the fuck is going on. Also, "hangin'"? Tim Brown, this is you:
Look at you. You're a tiny little white guy, about the size of a squirrel penis. You really can't afford to short change a single gerund.
It’s a different world here, of course. Not better or worse, just different. So much different.
I'm not skipping around, I'm just letting you, the FTC faithful, take a break to make sure you're caught up with Tim Brown's stream of consciousness.
For instance, two singers (one for the anthem, the other for “God Bless America”) who go by one name (Charice and N’Kenge, respectively), believed to be a franchise record, Brooklyn and L.A.
I don't see what the relevance of any of this is, or really what's at stake here, but I get the feeling that Tim Brown thinks L.A. may have a leg up on midwestern shit hole, Cleveland. One named stadium singers, though? That's what he deems important? I guess he never heard of Rocco Scotti. Had two names, and earned both of them with the pipes.
Where’s Manny going to get that at his next home opener?
Isn't his next home opener in L.A.? I thought you had him signed for two years?
For another, the Jonas Brothers behind the visitors’ dugout. C’mon, the Jonas Brothers! They, like, sing, too!
Tim Brown, you're hurting the economy!
Manny told USA Today that he and Thome – currently in the employ of the Chicago White Sox – talked recently about finishing their careers where they began, in Cleveland. Could it be anything like this?
USA Today did a straight forward job of printing some insane thing that came out of Manny Ramirez's mouth. Tim Brown read that article, didn't have anything new to contribute, so he just warped the story and added a bunch of bullshit up front. Kind of like what the Church of Mormon did.
He arrived for his second Dodgers season from over the left-field wall. He descended from a stairway on wheels, the kind they shove up against the side of the plane on the tarmac at Burbank Airport, waving, the last player announced, the benefits of being No. 99.
Hasn't Joe Torre said anything mean about his former players recently? Can't you write about that?
He arrived batting .286 and reaching base half the time, left batting .304 and reaching base well more than half the time.
Where is any of this coming from, Tim Brown?
He arrived with his dreads most of the way down his back, full-time employees apparently held to a different grooming standard than the seasonal help he was last summer. He left wheeling coach Mark Sweeney’s roller luggage behind him, and in a hurry.
Know why I can't disprove what you're saying using PECOTA and a third-grade reading level? Because you're not saying a goddamn thing!
Oh, the stuff he would have missed Monday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, where his opener drew the largest crowd in the history of the 47-year-old ballpark, where Vin Scully threw out the ceremonial first pitch and then hummed into the mic, “In all these years, I have needed you a lot more than you needed me.”
Things he would miss more than Vin Scully being sentimental should he end his career in Cleveland, Ohio:
-about $20,000,000 per annum
-Runs Batted In

How glorious is that?
Not as glorious as listening to Bob Feller curse into a hot mic.
The Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants, 11-1, which meant almost nothing unless you liked the looks of Billingsley, at 24, being yards better than Randy Johnson, at 45. And by “yards,” you meant the velocity and effectiveness of their fastballs, and the promise for more like it over 32 more starts.
I hadn't gotten this far into the column when I decided to tear into it. Feels very vindicating, right about now; like this was a wise use of my time. But let's not beat me off, there's work to do:
And by “yards,” you meant the velocity and effectiveness of their fastballs, and the promise for more like it over 32 more starts.
Not only does he write the single craziest thing ever, EVER... he then attributes it to "you." That's right. It wasn't Tim Brown that meant all that nonsense about... YARDS!... it was you! Fuck the heck, let's move on.
Had Manny been able to follow his heart to Cleveland, a very decent place to live and play ball, he’d have missed Billingsley standing on the same mound he did last Oct. 15, when he fell apart, when the Dodgers followed suit, and they were all out after five games of the National League championship series.
What was it that was keeping Manny from following his heart? The price of gas wasn't it? Blah, blah, Billingsley is promising. So are a dozen other guys of his age and experience, playing for competitive teams. You better keep talking, Tim Brown, you're losing me.
But, apparently, Billingsley’s not going to let a couple of meltdown postseason starts define him, because he’s been close to unhittable in the first two starts of his fourth season. He had 11 strikeouts and no walks against the Giants, making that 15 strikeouts and four walks in two starts, which is going to go a long way in a rotation soft on the back end and now without Hiroki Kuroda for at least another couple weeks.
What do you know? Actual baseball stuff being discussed. Kind of.
Manny would have missed Joe Torre say of Billingsley, “He is getting more and more mature,” and have Billingsley and his catcher, Russell Martin, insist they really had no idea what Torre was talking about.
Back to the not-really baseball.
“I don’t know,” Billingsley said.
I'm sure that this quote was taken way out of context from some press conference where the dude said a lot more than that. I'd like to take this opportunity to again state, none of this column is out of context or arranged for dramatic effect. What you're seeing is the exact selection of words as found on the original Tim Brown folio.
You can’t get that insight in other places.
I believe that.
Nor, for this afternoon, the kind of at-bats he witnessed – but would have missed – from Orlando Hudson, who by the sixth inning had gone single, home run, double and triple, the 279th cycle in history. The cycle was the second ever at Dodger Stadium and – Manny undoubtedly would marvel at this coincidence had he read it in the Cleveland Plain Dealer – the other guy to hit one here was sitting in Aisle 1, Row K, Seat 1, directly behind home plate.
Your syntax, sir, is a war crime. And assuming Manny read the Plain Dealer when playing for the Indians, presupposes he can read at all.
“You tell Hudson nice going,” said Jim Fregosi, who hit for his cycle at Dodger Stadium as an Angel (against the New York Yankees) in 1964. “Tell him he tied a helluva ballplayer.”
Another thing Manny could not have lived without. Literally, he would have taken his own life had he not been in the same stadium as some other guy who said something cagey to a Yahoo! sportswriter.
Fregosi laughed. He is in his ninth season as a consultant and scout for the Atlanta Braves.
If you don't have anything at all to say about anything, stop getting paid! It's unfair to unemployed people like me.
The notion that 45 years would pass between cycles in the park, and that he would be sitting a couple hundred feet from home plate when it happened again, was, “Unbelievable,” Fregosi said. “Just unbelievable. Actually, I was wondering why he was running so hard on that last one.”
What the fuck happened to Manny Ramirez? Wasn't he supposed to be the point of this column? By now Tim Brown is just letting the cough syrup do the writing.
That was the triple, the resultant cycle being how Hudson formally introduced himself to the people of L.A. Manny certainly would recall how that would feel, considering the two knocks he had last Aug. 1 before a full ballpark of people who did not know him, only of him. He wouldn’t have wanted to miss that, right?
“Thank God for it,” Hudson would say later, “and in the house that Jackie Robinson built.”
This? Yo, Jackie was out of baseball right before the move to L.A. He was arguably the most influential athlete in American history, but his era with the Dodgers really had nothing to do with house-building, and if anything, the end of that era was marked by the destruction of Ebbet's Field. I'm just going to assume Orlando Hudson said something brilliant (I mean, the man did hit for the cycle after all!), and that Tim Brown took it out of context.

Jesus this column is going on forever.
And, heck, Hudson won’t even crowd him.
“I’m a country boy, man,” he said. “I’m going to stay as far from Hollywood as I can.”
All yours, Manny.
What's all yours?
Or, Cleveland.
If I read this out loud, will it make more sense?
So, with the final out still warm, Manny went shooting from the clubhouse.
From the guy who brought you "yards" as a measurement of pitching success, Tim Brown presents "The Thermodynamics of Outs."
“I’m not talking,” he said, towing that luggage behind him. “I’m walking.”
Just think, Manny would have missed evading the L.A. press corps. had he decided not to re-sign with the Dodgers. Good thing we don't have to live in that alternate universe.
What about Cleveland, he was asked. What about going to Cleveland?
Bring it on home, Tim Brown.
“Naw,” he said, smiling, laughing. “We were just joking.”
Did NOT see that coming.
Yeah, he wouldn’t want to miss this. You know, what are the chances the Jonas brothers can make it to Cleveland next year?
And that's that. That's how it ends. It's almost Beckettian, only with more of a bittersweet aftertaste.

Take this as a warning, Jeff Passan: you're all on notice.

1 comment:

t. s. said...

I want a Saturday morning cartoon show about the LA Dodgers in which they travel around in a van solving mysteries. And Manny says "MANNY HATE MISSING THINGS!" at least once per episode.