Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It Must Be Idiot Day

So I was driving to lunch and in the space of five minutes, Colin Cowherd directed an interview with Peter Gammons about Joba Chamberlain starting to a discussion about how Boston teams are run so much better than New York teams because the culture in Boston (not the sports culture, mind you, but the culture of the entire metropolis) is based on being smart, while the culture of New York is based on "Trump-style flash without substance." (I'm paraphrasing a little there, but not much.) ESPN is apparently so powerful that they can take a mediocrity like Cowherd from the West Coast and turn him into a Boston homer. Well done.

In case you can't figure this out on your own, here's why Cowherd's position is idiotic:

1. The Red Sox didn't win a World Series title for 86 years. The Patriots didn't win a Super Bowl (or an AFL equivalent) for the first 41 years of their existence. The Bruins haven't won a Stanley Cup since Bobby Orr was on the ice. The Celtics haven't made the NBA Finals for 21 years. I'll grant you that Boston teams have been incredibly successful this decade, but for Cowherd to be right, Boston must have collectively gone from dumb to smart this decade. In other words, if the culture of Boston truly infects its sports teams, then why were its teams (save for the Celtics) such notable failures for decades prior.

2. Maybe I missed the result of the last Super Bowl, but I seem to recall a New York team beating a Boston team. Am I mistaken here?

3. The Celtics are in the NBA Finals because former Celtic Kevin McHale gift-wrapped one of the top ten players in basketball to the Celtics. In so doing, he got significantly less in return than he could have gotten from other teams, most notably Phoenix. In so doing, McHale made the trade to his former team while negotiating with a former teammate. The lesson from McHale's actions? Apparently, the Boston culture that makes its citizens smarter apparently skipped him. Also, it helps to be lucky...but why acknowledge that when we can make grandiose claims that a city's teams are winning because the residents of the city are smarter than the residents of other cities?

Incidentally, Gammons was agreeing happily. What the hell happened to him? Also, Gammons was complaining about how much he has to pay for season tickets at Fenway. Aren't journalists supposed to watch games for free from the press box? Aren't season tickets supposed to be for, you know, fans?


Hobnail_Boot said...

This is the most bogus NBA Finals of my lifetime. Both teams acquired huge talents from other teams whose GM's are legends in the towns with whom they traded. Jerry West and Kevin McHale would be arrested for collusion in any business outside the sporting world.

Anonymous said...

And in a column that should surprise nobody, Bill Simmons picks the Celtics in six.

Ryno said...

A 4-0 Lakers sweep would be fantastic.

Michael said...

Somehow, you knew that Simmons couldn't stick with his "we have no chance against the Lakers" schtick from a week ago and would return to hubris-world. He really can't help himself, especially when everyone is picking the Lakers and he has a chance to play the "no one respects us" card that defines the existence of Boston fans. Strong column, though. I liked the quotes from the Phil Jackson book, although they did represent a cheeky turn of the knife in a way.

Hobnail, I agree with you. Simmons pissed and moaned about the Spurs getting Kurt Thomas for nothing and he never stops complaining about Chris Wallace pulling the trigger on Gasol, but he seems to forget about getting Garnett for very little (after Garnett was convinced that he could play in a town full of racists).

Anonymous said...

Fwiw, here's how BS justifies the KG trade (from his chat)

Joel T. (Santa Barbara, CA): You constantly harp on Chris Wallace and Memphis' gift of Pau Gasol to the Lakers (true) . . . yet you seem to constantly overlook an even BIGGER gift - ex-Celtic Kevin McHale handing Garnett to his former team for the poo-poo plater of Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, and Sebastian Telfair. Legit omission or another "Kevin Garnett for MVP" homer moment?

"Bill Simmons: The Lakers got two tangible things in that trade - Al Jefferson and the rights to their own No. 1 pick back (which could have eventually been top-3). The grizzlies got back NOTHING. They got back a young PG when they altready had 2 young PG's. They got back Pau Gasol's FranK Stallone brother. They got back Kwame Brown. They got back two first rounders that will be between 28-30. And that's it. That's a good trade? How does Gasol go for half as much as Jason Kidd or Shaq? How? Explain that to me. "