It is the last Monday of October, and the beginning of the final week of an excruciating midterm election cycle. With that in mind, today’s musings will leave out the politics and focus on television and sports. Surely there is enough corruption, misplaced priorities, and cultural strife in those two subjects to fill our need for political drama. For this column it is important to note, for full disclosure, that I can always root against teams from Texas if my favorites are doing poorly. With that fact highlighted, my turmoil should be evident to many who know my loyalties. As a Dodger fan, I am incapable of accepting any success had by the hated San Fransisco Giants; I am now forced to root for the Texas Rangers.
On a brighter note, former Texas Rangers owner and current mindless baboon Tom Hicks is no longer the owner of my beloved Liverpool Reds. The theme song for the denizens of Anfield Road, You’ll Never Walk Alone, will NOT be sung for him at his exit. He has been replaced (happily, it was against his will) by the owner of the Boston Red Sox. Hope shows itself at winter’s onset, and the promise of life’s renewal is again kept! My joy was fulfilled when the Cleveland Browns shocked the New Orleans Saints on the strength of two interception-returns for TD’s by former WIU standout David Bowens. If you are keeping track, my Browns have as many wins as the Dallas Cowboys…I guess that makes us America’s Team.
More sports and TV after the jump (Note-If you have a man-crush on Brett Favre, it would be best if you didn’t read the rest of this column)…
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is young, reasonably talented, and relatively successful. He is now siting behind a badly injured, hollow shell of a future Hall of Fame member in Brett Favre. Injured and ineffective quarterbacks don’t play in the NFL when there are alternatives…period. Brett Favre will go to the Hall of Fame, but NFL teams don’t win on the strength of credentials…Favre is not a Hall of Fame quarterback now. Favre is the 30th most efficient QB in the league, out of 33 men qualifying for the list. His production is just ahead of Derek Anderson, and just behind Bruce Gradkowski. Not only are folks defending this guy, they are supporting his me-first attitude and attacking the head coach of the team that EMPLOYS him.
Moving back to baseball; I must offer my congratulations to the N.L. champion Giants and A.L. champion Rangers. The players and staff for these two ball-clubs refused the invitation to roll over for the anointed squads. It is refreshing when the “powers that be” don’t get the World Series match-up that they mandate. I am also thoroughly enjoying every Subway commercial starring the smug Joe Girardi, and every other commercial that Derek Jeter haunts; one only hopes the Yankees get tired of them on commercial breaks for the games they are no longer playing.
I admit to really enjoying the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Over the years, many adaptations in film and television have been produced. The versions starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce are probably the most famous, but they also established a Dr. Watson far from the one written in the original form. Doyle’s Watson was not a bumbling old dotard, but a young gentleman adventurer forced home from military service by injury. PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery series, home to a number of outstanding “who-dun-its” (and the series Lewis…look it up), is showing the most recent adaptation, titled simply, Sherlock.
Far from Robert Downey’s Holmes (which while modestly enjoyable was NOT, emphatically, Sherlock Holmes), this new version by the producers of Doctor Who is a surprisingly faithful reproduction of the Doyle stories set in 2010. The writers used the somewhat disconcerting parallel of Watson’s wartime service (in the books, he was recently returned from the Second Anglo-Afghan war in the 1870’s) to tie the current version in beautifully. The first episode, an adaptation of the first Holmes story A Study In Scarlet, is entitled A Study In Pink. I would encourage all with a taste for this genre to read (or reread) the original, then seek out a replay this week on your local PBS station.
Finally tonight, we come back to Brett Favre by way of television. ESPN, otherwise known as the worldwide mis-leader of sports, is nothing short of world-class when it comes to hyperbole. Everything is the greatest of all-time; Lincecum vs. Halladay was the “greatest pitching match-up in N.L.C.S. history”. Nothing is ever undersold on the network, including the anchors’ salivation over stars that network brass determines to be untouchable. Brett Favre was anointed long ago as ESPN royalty, and he has received a free pass since then for every transgression or period of poor play.
When other quarterbacks are guilty of poor judgment, Brett Favre is a “gunslinger”. When the in-game antics of a wide receiver (after they have scored) are called detrimental to the spirit of the game, Favre’s ridiculous me-first contract saga is “well-earned”. This evening, I watched the bombastic, plastic, and increasingly irrelevant ESPN pre-game panel drool on Brett while bashing the head coach of the Vikings, Brad Childress. How dare the coach, the thread goes, criticize Favre for poor play in a post-game news conference. Players are criticized for poor play in every post-game news conference, and coaches don’t have to be blameless to be correct in calling out the poor play. This notion we have arrived at, where criticism is “disrespect”, is ridiculous. The parade of excuse-providers, yes-men, and shoe-shiners in the Brett Favre circle of media love has got to go.
Brett Favre needs to be put on injured reserve, and the Vikings need to move on. Only then will ESPN be able to have closure, and find some other athlete to whore for.
The Rational Middle is listening…