I ended up talking to the FBI: Recollections of a sports message board mod

June 28, 2020

Working for a major sports media company in the late 2000s was good, on balance. I met colleagues whose friendship I cherish to this day, got to write for a reasonably large audience, and spent all my time thinking and talking about sports with other people as passionate about them as I was. Well, almost all my time. I also had to answer customer service emails and phone calls and help moderate the message boards. This post is about that part of the job.

Mike Gundy seems to have won this time, in spite of himself

June 19, 2020

Oklahoma State’s football players fumbled. At a moment when they possessed tremendous leverage over their program’s coaches and administrators thanks to the coronavirus crisis and head coach Mike Gundy’s propensity to align himself with racists, they announced they were satisfied changes are in the works and they’re back to the business of playing football under those coaches and administrators.

Stop pretending that hosting the RNC is a big deal

June 12, 2020

This year’s Republican National Convention is essentially leaving Charlotte, North Carolina, because the GOP can’t agree with the Democratic governor and Democratic city officials on how to hold that kind of event during the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Republicans will spend one day in Charlotte conducting some business and then the rest of the convention will be held in Jacksonville, Florida, where a Republican governor and Republican mayor will let Donald Trump put on the television show he wants.

So, of course, when the Charlotte Observer published its update on this issue, the report highlighted an unlinked and unsupported claim that the convention was projected to bring 50,000 visitors and have a positive $150 million economic impact on Charlotte’s economy. The number of visitors might have some basis in reality, but the $150 million number, as with virtually every other “economic impact” projection proffered by boosters of various events, is the product of a public relations effort designed to garner your support for the event or program and ought not be taken seriously.

Orange Cassidy is pro wrestling's logical next step

June 5, 2020

The world’s most famous and popular pro wrestler is also one of its funniest. From the start, The Rock was exceptionally charismatic both in the ring and on the mic, and at his peak he took multiple opportunities to perform extended comedy sketches and long standup routines. But when it came to the wrestling, itself, he usually stuck to the established combat format.

Orange Cassidy might be the funniest high-profile wrestler today, but instead of snapping off funny one-liners to the crowd, most of his work is physical in-match comedy. Even though I haven’t been a regular wrestling watcher in more than two decades, his character feels like a logical step in pro wrestling’s evolution because everything he does is a commentary on pro wrestling, itself.

Watch any of his many matches posted to YouTube, and you’ll see someone who completely subverts what wrestling “is”. As he explained in a short documentary posted in 2017, the Orange Cassidy character is driven by not wanting to wrestle and therefore does the bare minimum to get by.