Friday, October 28, 2005

More Beef

My attempt to cease reading newspaper columnists is a little like ending a fling with an ex. It works for days at a time, but every so often I slip. And it really all boils down to two reasons: familiarity and accessibility.

When you break up with your girl, you’re bound to still see her, because that’s all you’ve done for the past X months, years, whatever. Sometimes self-control can be displayed, and the acquaintance can be made without a physical outburst. However, sometimes it just feels so natural (and she’s showing some skin) that a knocking of the boots is inevitable.

While Mike Lupica has never shown any skin to gain readership, the teasers on newyorkdailynews.com do the trick. Once I read that first paragraph, I’m so familiar with reading his column that I always break down and say, “okay, what does this idiot have to say today?”

(Aside: I don’t really think Lupica is an idiot. I just think he exaggerates and sensationalizes ideas that are, in reality, pretty minute. He’s a great storyteller and knows how to stir the pot, hence him being the top guy at the New York Daily News. But I just have to question him when it comes to articles like “Top Ten Reasons The Yankees Failed” that don’t give any concrete reasons at all. It should read “Top Ten Sensationalized Reasons The Yankees Failed (Without Providing You Any New Information).” Okay, I’m done – for now).

The light at the end of the tunnel here: I don’t still have flings with recent exes. So, naturally, I’ll one day be able to browse a daily newspaper and filter out the opinions and read just the facts that didn’t pop up on the front page of ESPN.com. But until then, I’ll always be tempted by the likes of Lupica, John Harper, Dan Graziano (who thinks that a homer in the top of the ninth is a walk-off), Joel Sherman, Bill Madden, Mike Vaccaro, and George King.

This goes beyond Yankees columnists, too. Daily, I peruse ESPN’s Page 2, and daily I find myself dumbfounded by some of the writing contained there. I’ve already weaned myself off of Jason Whitlock and Skip Bayless (both are the kings of exaggeration and terribly thought out ideas), and Jim Caple’s newest work, “24 College Avenue,” has made me swear him off, since I don’t particularly need a journalist to describe exaggerated college life to me. I was there, I lived it. I don’t need some 30-something journalist who is unable to escape his college days.

Three guys there, Eric Neel, David Schoenfield and Rob Neyer (though I despised Schoenfield and Neel’s “Second Guessing” bit during the playoffs), still catch my attention, but less and less lately. Obviously, I’m still an avid fan of Bill Simmons, and actually find myself spending much more time on his website than Page 2.

This isn’t to say there aren’t good columnists out there. I actually enjoy Lisa Olson of the Daily News. She is wonderful with language, and provides bits of insight here and there. Tony Kornheiser remains a staple of my reading, mainly because he’s one of the funniest sports columnists out there. I read Bob Klapisch once in a while, just as long as he’s not offering up prospects for Torii Hunter. And let us not forget my favorite newspaper columnist, T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times. The guy has a sense of humor, he’s not afraid to call out ballplayers, and his opinions seem well reasoned.

The question born of today’s post: will I continue to voice my displeasure with the mainstream media on a weekly basis? Chances are I’ll get tired of it after a while, especially after I’m done with the ex for good. But for now, it’s a healthy release. Plus, when the biggest news item of the day – aside from the World Series – is Sheryl Swoops coming out of the closet, well, there have to be better things to write about.