Earlier this week, I asked readers, in the tradition of Festivus, to list a few of their minor grievences with the world of sports, then promised to print some of the submissions. As a man of my word, here are a few of the things that bothered you this week, edited only for punctuation, and only when necessary.
-- Kevin Van Valkenburg
I read your article: "Getting annoyed? Me, Too" and since I was ranting in my kitchen with my wife I wanted to let you know I feel your pain; My Brother from another Mother.
2 minutes before I read your article, I too was reading about how Jay Gibbons was going to go to the minors while being paid $5+ million.
The fact this guy is still on this team constantly baffles me. Frankly, my Mrs. is tired of hearing my rants about this guy. However the fact that made me even more upset this morning which you didnt include on your rant list is the fact that John Maine (former Oriole thrown in with the trade for stellar performer Kris Benson) threw a one hitter and struck out 7 in a
6 inning clinc against our O's. According to the Sun, he walked off the field to a standing ovation. ... And Cory Hall from the Oriole's ticket office wonders why I don't return his calls.
KVV Response: Former Orioles seem to have a knack for performing better once they leave town, don't they? I mentioned Erik Byrnes -- who, to be fair, was just terrible here -- in today's column, but Maine is another one. Even LaTroy Hawkins improved last year after a dreadful 2006 and he went to the thin air of Colorado, for the love of Angelos.
It's probably too early to be annoyed, but in my gut I know the Ravens won't try to trade up to land Matt Ryan from BC, and it will be like Big Ben going to Pittsburgh -- the stud who got away. I'm ouching already. You can get tackles and guards in free agency/trades, but QBs are tough to find.
KVV response: I'd be willing to gamble on Ryan if I ran the Ravens, because college starts are, statistically, the best indicator of success in the pros. Ryan started three years for the Eagles, and completed 59 percent of his passes or better all three years. But the Ravens aren't the gambling types, especially after the Boller Experiement. (By the way, Boller seems to be the exception to the starting rule. He started 28 games at Cal.)
Here's one I'm sure you don't hear much about: How about The Sun covering hockey as much as you cover the other sports?!
Don't make the case that we don't have a hockey team because I see at least 1/2 page basketball coverage everyday, including box scores, and I have not seen more than a small "blurb" on hockey in several years.
We don't have a basketball team either. In a time when The Sun wonders where their readership went, I'd think that covering more sports, not less, would bring some people back from the 'net.
KVV response: Mike, I feel your pain, because I enjoy hockey, but we're talking about a sport that gets worse ratings than beach volleyball on television.
Unfortunately, we have only so much space and so many resources at the Sun. More hockey coverage, sadly, might mean less Ravens, Orioles and Terps coverage, and I doubt anyone wants that.
On the sports front page of the Sun (3-25-08) Tiger Woods is shown because he lost. Geoff Ogilvy's picture should have been there because he won. I am so damm sick of the media following Tiger Woods on everything he does. Next thing they will follow him to take a pee. Yes he is a great player. All golfers should be seen also. Enough already
KVV response: Gerald, Tiger is one of those few athletes that seems to transcend sports. Even my lovely wife will watch Tiger Woods on TV (although she doesn't approve of his cursing). As a golf fan, I love seeing other players, and get overwhelmed by Tiger Madness sometimes, but for the most part, he's the guy people want to see, win or lose. In the instance you cited, Woods hadn't lost in six months. I'd say, regardless of Ogilvy's victory, Tiger was still a story.
Kevin, in case you and your boss did not know it, horse racing is a sport in Maryland and it goes on 4 days a week. Not once or twice a week like baseball and football. It is disgusting how The Sun ignores this sport. I bet if you had the entries and results back in the sports page your subscriptions would double.
KVV response: Subscriptions would double? Can you guarentee this? Can I get it in writing? Because my bosses would definitely be interested in that scenario. Look, in all seriousness, my boss is a big horse racing fan. Huge. And we do our best to cover the sport with the space we have. We wish we could do more, but the economic realities of the business mean we have to make tough calls, and sometimes cutting back coverage is one of those calls.
I think we all have to admit that Tiger Woods is a great golfer. We have watched him mature over the years and he no longer has his little fits as he did when he was younger. He is magical with what he can make a golf ball do. Lets not forget there are hundreds of other professional golfers out on tour.
Why do the headlines always have shout "Tiger Wins" or "Tiger Loses"?
Give the headlines to the guy who wins. Talk about his wonderful shot selection or his perseverance. Not how Tiger failed. Give credit where credit is due.
Duane E. Campanello
KVV response: I'm not sure the headline is ever "Tiger Fails" but I do understand your point. How many people out there know who Henrik Stenson is? Or Camilo Villegas? Or even Americans like J.B. Holmes? Those are all some of my favorite golfers, and it would be great to hear more about each of them, but none of them is going to pull in the number of readers like Tiger Woods, and that's why he's usually in the headline.
Here's my grievance for the day: If I hear one more general manager, manager, coach or sports writer say that this pitcher or that pitcher is invaluable to his team because he chews up innings, I'm going to do an uncanny imitation of Jack Nicholson's character in "The Shining." Since there's obviously no distinction between quantity and quality, pay me a couple of million dollars a year and I'll be happy to stand on the mound and lob the ball up to home plate for 7 or 8 innings. Like all the other pitchers on the Orioles, I'll get pounded into submission and head to the clubhouse with a smile on my face. Then Dave Trembley can lie in bed at night and mumble to himself, "man, that guy is horrible....but he sure gives us innings!"
KVV response: Sometimes at night, I lay in bed and wish that above-average sports writers (a group I try desperately to claw my way into each day) were paid like average or below-average veteran pitchers. Seriously folks, teach your kid to throw left-handed when he's 5, whether he wants to or not.
Yes, I and every golf fan I know cheers for Tiger's opponents. But it's not necessarily because we're rooting FOR the underdog. No. Everyone is rooting AGAINST Tiger. Rooting hard. As we watch golf, the rallying cry is always, "Anybody but Tiger!"
Why does everyone root against Tiger? Why does it ruin the Masters or the US Open or the British Open when he takes the lead so that we end up turning off the TV in the middle of the 3rd round? It's because, unlike all other golfers since Tommy Bolt, Tiger pouts and nearly cries when he's not doing well, he scowls at the fans, and he slams his club on the ground and curses when he hits a bad shot. He's a poor role model and an embarrassment in a gentleman's game, and so it's hard to watch him win. And, he's won enough.
In the gentleman's game of golf, you won't see any other golfer do any of those things. Does Fred Couples act like that? How about Retief Goosen? Ernie Els? How great it would be to see a gentleman like one of these, someone who controls himself, win the Masters this year! That's why everyone was delighted to see Zach Johnson come out of nowhere and win last year. We'll all be watching, and hoping, If only that would happen again...
KVV response: Tiger's attitude makes me grumpy too at times, but I do admire the way he manages to channel that intensity into his shots. Sergio Garcia just manages to channel his misfortune into excuses.
What really ticks me off is when ESPN or any other highlight show shows you the play, but between the crawl and the commentators name or score, you really can't see the highlight because it takes up 1/3 of the TV screen.
KVV response: Tom, some mornings, when I haven't yet had my coffee and I'm still bleary-eyed, I worry that the graphics are trying to suffocate Scott Van Pelt.