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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 

Ranting About Writing

As The Cox Turns

As it turns out Damien Cox is as much a fan of mine as I am of his. As you likely know by now, I am a huge Elias booster. A recurring theme on Sports Guy North comes up when I do my "watches", one of which has been my "Elias Watch". In the watch I have highlighted his accomplishments, kept track of the Devils record since his return, and his scoring performance, etc. The main theme is that Elias is one of the most under rated impact players in the league, and one of only a handful of guys whose presence in the lineup can turn games around on a regular basis. I have spoon fed this idea to my readers over and over again, almost as a form of brain washing.

As it turns out, the brain washing seems to be working (which means you can expect a "Jessica Alba Loves Kent MacDonald Watch" in the near future), as I appear to have influence Toronto Star reporter Damien Cox over to my side. He wrote an article yesterday in which he labels Elias the best free agent of the coming summer, and calls for the Leafs to do their best to bring him on board. Armed with my array of Elias hype in his pocket, he list his accomplishments from this season accordingly. He does go on, in much more detail, and raises some great points - the Leafs don't need to bring in a goalie or defenseman as they are stacked with youth in those positions and they should be in a rebuilding mode - but they could use that one accent to finally take Sundin to the next level. Elias does have the power to steal a few games while surrounded by young talent. Also, throughout Sundin's career the has for the most part always been alone on the top line. He has always been flanked by the likes of Hoglund and Berezin and Modin and so on, and while Roberts was a decent linemate, he really has never had that one main guy to make him click. As he grows a little slower in age, Mats really does need someone like Elias to help keep him in the upper tier of the leagues players. And hopefully, as Damien says, the Leafs realize the need for someone like Elias when the offseason rolls along. A big part of me, however, is hoping they don't, just for the reason that my wallet can't afford as many games as I would want to go to with Patrick in the old blue and white.

In reality, I'm pretty certain that I have had no influence whatsoever on Mr. Cox, but it is nice to pretend sometimes. A lot of you aren't from Ontario, so you may not be familiar with who this Damien guy is that I keep mentioning. He is a sports writer for the Toronto Star, and really the only reason that I would ever bother with the conservative side of the Toronto newspapers. The reason a lot of people who I know have started sports blogs is that the quality of sports writing and broadcasting has really deteriorated in the last 15 or 20 years. Most of the time ideas aren't new, or you have people like Kelly Hrudy who just say things that make no sense in an attempt to be new. Then there are the likes of Piere Maguire who adhere to the school of if you don't have anything worthwhile to say, then say it very very loudly and hopefully no one will notice that it's nonsense. Then you have the Don Cherry clones who are self-explanatory awful, and the over the top goofy people who are even worse (has anyone ever tried to read James Duthie's blog? Yikes).

If nothing else, however, the big commonality among them is that what they are doing is a job first and foremost, and it obviously does not include personal expression or emotion, which is the big draw that Blogs have going for them. Fortunately, however, there are exceptions, although they aren't easy to come by. Of note that I can think of, are Kathryn Humphries from City TV, John Buccigross at ESPN, and the guy who surprised me most of all, Jay Onrait from TSN. He had all the makings to be one of those really annoying goofy guys, but lately he has really come into his own, and is by far the most entertaining anchor on the Canadian sports offerings.

Anyway, another one of the exceptions is Damien Cox. He writes a few quality articles every week, on top of his blog, which he keeps up quite regularly. The blog itself is always worth a read, which is commendable, but his articles are his bread and butter and stand out over the rest of the Toronto writers. For that reason, I would love to take credit for influencing him onto Elias' side, and although I have no real basis for that, I'm going to anyway. The Cox is totally in my pocket.

Pretty Lady

Now, speaking of sports bloggers, it is always great to receive positive feedback from another such sports fanatic. Actually, yesterday was a bit of an anomaly, as I received multiple glowing emails, some advertising offers, and no hate mail. Not even a quick "you suck" from one of my favourite Celtics fans (which reminds me, I have to write something about the Celtics again soon, it has apparently been a while). Anyway, one of the emails I received was from the Zany Sports Lady who is a radio personality in Dallas and an absolute sports fanatic, even more hardcore than my mom. Need proof? How does a wedding at a hockey game sound. Even my mom has a line.

Fortunately for us, the Sports Lady doesn't, and it shows in her blog. Forgiving the fact that it's more than a little bit pro-Dallas Stars, it is a very interesting read. This is a point that Dr.Blogstein is trying to help us miss, as if most people needed more reason to. The Doctor is having a Miss Blogger 06 competition on his site right now and although the Sports Lady is admittedly gorgeous, that shouldn't be the point. It's hard for women to garner respect in the world of sportscasting, and these types of things don't help. Someone sould have a real Miss Sports Blogger 06 competition, and there should be no photos involved. The contestants should be judged purely based on the quality of writing, because as far as I'm concerned, that's what blogs are and should be about. You wouldn't pick your evening news based on if Peter Kent was hotter than Dan Rather, so why should it be different when females are concerned? Great writing is great writing, and it should be properly recognized.

Off the top of my head, I can think of the Stephanie the Zany Sports Lady, Christy at Behind the Jersey , and Alanah, who is one half of the Vancouver Canucks Oped tandem who deserve mention. If you can think of any other female sports bloggers out there who are worthy of note, let me know. Maybe if I get enough suggestions I'll be the one to tackle Dr. Blogstein, and do his competition the way it should be done. If nothing else, though, these three women deserve credit for the work they've done. Hardly a man who isn't a Cox could do it better.

a wedding at a hockey game?...you had my hopes up there for a minute!

sorry, ma, there will be no leaf game wedding for you to attend. didnt mean to dissapoint you like that!

how about Anne Ursu aka Batgirl over at http://www.bat-girl.com/ . I think that her picture would be fitting with your tirade there - http://www.bat-girl.com/archives/000006.php

for someone who puts so many pictures of women on his site, you've really surprised me with you stance on women there. is there anything not to like about sports guy?

Sounds like a fun idea, Kent, and thanks for mentioning me. :-)

I would also add Bat Girl to the list, as suggested in a previous comment.

The problem is, while there are many women readers, there really are so few women sports bloggers out there. But maybe I'm wrong? I hope so. I'll be interested to see whatever list you come up with!

wow. a very well-wrtiten and well done post all around, kudos sports guy, through the sarcasm you're really a class act

jay onrait? really? well, other than that, good job. i would add the Acid Queen over at Sweet Tea, Barbeque and Bodychecks to your list of femalw sports bloggers - http://acidqueen5426.blogspot.com/

its funny how all of them are hockey related, isnt it?

Wow, another day of kind words. I'm not sure how to handle this. I think tomorrow I'm really goign to have to do a post outlining the Celtics season to fix this!

As for those of you who have suggested writers from smaller papers as not following the "norm" I mentioned, I agree. Local sports writers do tend to work with a greater love of sports, because they are more submersed in it. They go to local games, they support their old schools, etc. From that comes a greater passion. A good example is a local writer for the Kitchener Record, Karlo Berkovich. I have been reading him for years, and was excited to find out that he started keeping a blog recently - http://therecord.blogs.com/sportsblog/ - and again he writes with consistency and effort. The problem is local writers are just that - local - and thus dont have as big an influence as writers for national papers, or television channels. They are the ones who influence more the views on sportscasting, and as such they are the ones I looked to for exceptions to the norm.

If there is a local writer you like, feel free to keep the names coming into me. I always like reading peoples work that are new to me.


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