Thursday, January 18, 2007

Mouron Mail - Spourts Editioun

Jim Rome has two rules that his callers must abide by if they do not want to incur the surly sportstalker's wrath:

1) Have a take; and

2) Do not suck.

Romey would be all up in da greeeeel of these two short bussers who pooped out back to back Strib "Letters of the Day."

Take that sucks number one:

Whatever respect I had for the Baseball Hall of Fame has been extinguished. Mark McGwire did not get votes ostensibly because of suspicions that he had used steroids. Of course, there was no proof of any of this. Barry Bonds can expect similar treatment.

No proof, but gobs and gobs of circumstantial evidence. First there was his famously evasive testimony before Congress. Or, you could just compare the lithe French fry-armed and pencil-necked Rookie McGwire to the ginormously beefy Popeye-forearmed McGwire in his Cardinal years.

No. I have a feeling you believe you are smarter than everyone else and therefore you alone possess the Truth that would make William of Ockham weep.

But there is something deeper here. There is, and has always been, a cabal among baseball writers and commentators who refuse to accept that anyone can ever be the equal of Babe Ruth when it comes to hitting home runs.

And here I thought Hammerin' Hank Aaron was in the Hall. I mean, he was the guy that broke Ruth's career home run record. But according to this guy's logic, he surely must have been stymied by Ruth worshiping sports writers. Right?

Wrong. And don't call me "Shirley".

In 1961, Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in a season, beating Ruth's record of 60. The cabal was furious. It exercised its power to put an asterisk on Maris' record in the books in an attempt to lessen his achievement, and it launched an ad hominem attack claiming Maris had questionable morals.

And here we are 50 years later, and none of those same sportswriters are dead; kept alive solely by the motivation to prevent anyone else from ever being honored in the Hall for home run hitting.

Now, McGwire just didn't beat Ruth's record, he demolished it. The cabal can't do anything about the home runs, but, just like with Maris, they sure can launch personal attacks.

If you consider not voting some player into the Hall on that player's first ballot a "personal attack" then Bert Blyleven must be crying himself to sleep every night because of the pain from all those psychological wounds.

As Yogi Berra said, "it's déjà vu all over again."

Also as Yogi Berra said, "You can observe a lot just by watching."


Take that sucks #2:

Since the impending arrival of David Beckham to our shores pushed the soccer to somewhere toward the front of the sports section, you knew that some soccer meathead would once again seize the opportunity to lament about the sport's popularity stateside, and attempt to shame us athletic troglodytes into falling in line:

You gotta love Jim Souhan, who is usually a marvelous sports columnist. Columnists like Souhan, who write about soccer once every four years before each World Cup to tell us how much they dislike the game, are now authorities on David Beckham and MLS.

Actually, opinion among knowledgeable football people (that's real football, as played with the feet)

- no that's soccer, as sounds like "sucks" -

is split on whether Beckham still has much left in his tank. Great players from the past -- like Alan Shearer -- and present players -- like Paul Scholes -- are living proof that there's plenty of life after international play. Don't know about them?


I didn't think so.

Well, aren't you little Mister Smartiepants...

Beckham will add glamour

STOP! I will not be silent about the annoyingly pretentious use of the itinerant "U"! You know: "The flavours of my neighbour's hors d'ouvres do not mirrour their colours." I f-ing hate that shit. Even though this is hardly the mosegregiousus example ("glamour" and "glamor" are equally accepted here in the States), I cannot help but surmise that the writer intentionally chose that spelling of "glamor" because he wanted testablishsh his bona fides as some super-intellectual Euroweenie soccer doof. Since I've been wanting to rant about this for a while, this seems as good of an impetus as any.

Listen. If you learned how to spell in America, you learned that "honor" and "color" and all those other words that end in "or" are spelled without a "U". Therefore, there is no good reason to start inserting that "u" now, since the European spelling is not considered any more correct than the American one. If you now insert that extra "u" you force me to stop reading and consider whether you grew up or were educated in Europe (which may or may not make you interesting) or whether you are a pretentious twit (which may not). There is absolutely no point in inserting an extra letter, when the conventions of your mother tongue have long ago been settled.

Let me put this to rest for you. You may think that spelling "favour" with a "u" makes you seem enlightened, elegant, sexy or erudite. It doesn't. At best it makes your writing read like a wedding invitation. At worst, it makes you look like a snotty twit. So stop it.

Now, where was I?

Oh sucks.

Oh - that's another thing. In America, we call it soccer. We call it soccer because we already have a wildly popular, but extremely different sport, called "football." If you insist on calling soccer football over here, your going to fool a lot of people into thinking that you're not talking about the kind of football that is embarrassingly dull. It's not an American exceptionalism thing - it's a communication thing. So please spare me this "true football" crap that - it occurs to me now - I should have addressed after your second drooling paragraph.

-- and yes, great skill -- to a league that desperately needs both. His youth academy in Los Angeles will help grow the world's most popular game in its final frontier -- the United States.

I'm sorry. It appears that I cut off the letter in mid sentence. Unfortunately, I no longer have any idea what he's talking about.'s probably for the best. We've heard all this pro-soccer propaganda a million times before.

Maybe by the time we see the next football column in the Star Tribune -- to make fun of the game before the 2010 World Cup -- we'll know more about Beckham's true effect on the beautiful game in this country.

Not that anyone would care...


European football: more exciting than the Vikings' offense!

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