Thursday, August 21, 2008


1. So apparently Microsoft is hiring Jerry Seinfeld as the spokesman to help them save Vista. This seems apropos, given the Windows demographic. "Hey guys! Remember how much better the 90s were? Yeah, so do we."

I wonder if John Hodgman's contract with Apple has an exclusivity clause -- I mean, as has been pointed out before in places elsewhere, one the charms of the ads is that you end up identifying with him, even though you're supposed to go forth and buy a Mac. It'd be perfect for Microsoft to just steal him.

2. Dear ESPN: When you have a lead story about the death of former NFL player/Players Association Leader Gene Upshaw on your Website, and the top story in your video feeder is a still of Gene Upshaw at a podium, it makes it look as though Gene Upshaw has returned from the dead to give a press conference about his own demise. Or perhaps that of the Oakland Raiders.

3. On baseball: I don't care for this introduction of replay. It reeks of technological...-sim. And I don't care for that.

In all seriousness, watch this bit by George Carlin about baseball and football, and then you'll understand why a technological innovation like instant replay belongs in football, whereas we who love baseball first should stick by our human error. Really, I can't stand it when they pause a football game for 5 minutes to take a look at the videotape. At least when this happens in baseball you get to watch an argument between two hotheads. In football, they just stand around, listlessly.

EDIT: 4. I remembered the other thing that put me off today. There were at least two columns on Sports Illustrated today whining about how major league baseball players don't go to the Olympics, and therefore Olympic baseball is a crying shame, and nobody gets to see their favorite players in international competition there, it's just amateur hour.

Full disclosure: I'm totally engrossed in the MLB, and don't really care at all about the Olympics. Would that change if MLB players were there? No, because I'd be so annoyed at the breaking of the regular season, and the inevitable delay of the World Series into November, that I'd hold a grudge.

Look at soccer -- the world's game is played on every inhabited continent, unlike baseball, which is geographically compartmentalized. Yet nobody cares about Olympic soccer, which is an under-23 tourney with three exceptions allowed per team. They don't have to -- there's World Cup, and Euro, and African Cup of Nations, etc. Besides, all the big European leagues are starting up right now.

The MLB doesn't need the Olympics, and if people really care about international baseball, the World Baseball Classic is a perfectly fine place (and more importantly, time -- before the season) to contest it. It just seems huffy and self-centered to cry about the Olympics losing America's pastime. Also, this is one area in my life where I allow myself to slip into traditionalism -- I like the rhythm of the seasons, that the World Series happens in October and not November, which should be reserved for football and Thanksgiving. I don't mind a long midseason Olympic break in hockey, because even though I like hockey, it's not the tradition and statistic-fest that baseball is. At least not for Americans.

Once again, memo to sports fans: not everything is about you. If the college kids want to go play in the Olympics, let them go play. And if the IOC axes baseball, so what? You weren't watching, anyway. It's just an excuse to write another sappy SI piece. This isn't much difference than the plethora of bowls -- yeah, they're unnecessary, but what do you care? Nobody's holding a gun to your head. If you don't care to watch two 6-5 teams play a postseason, turn off the tube and spend some time with your family.

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