As the guest editor of this year's edition of the Best American Sports Writing anthology, American sports television host Michael Wilbon, a former columnist, seized the opportunity to hold forth on the sorry state of the craft. Here he is, for instance, discussing the book in a November interview:
There's not as much good stuff as there used to be. Don't get me wrong. I turned down some good pieces. But I know what it used to be. There's not enough stuff that compels me. The volume (of quality writing) is not close.
We're all chasing the same story. Most of it I don't care about. Where's LeBron going? Even the great writers aren't as great as they used to be. They're smarter. They may be good reporters. They may get information we care about, but they're not as good at writing. I'm not as great as I used to be.
Sportswriting's loss is sports shouting's gain, however. What better example than Wilbon himself, co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption—a man who abandoned prose so he could be adamant about things on television? Given the current landscape, in which the best work of our finest sports commentators is now being yelled into microphones instead of typed onto a screen, Deadspin is proud to introduce The "Best" American Sports Shouting 2012, a new anthology for a new era. Sports shouting has never been better.
Dan Sileo, WQAM
Talking about his beloved Miami Hurricanes, Sileo offered some perspective after the once-proud college program fell to Kansas State, 52-13, earlier this year:
his Canes disaster. I have never seen our defensive tackles this bad. Ever. Horrific. Poor. That's a bad football team right now, the Miami Hurricanes. Bad. There needs to be some accountability. There needs to be some leadership. There needs to be some Come to Jesus conversations. You cannot go to Manhattan, Kansas and get your ass drug up and down the field from a team that's ranked 21.
By the way, what was Kansas going into the game ranked? Do you know what they were? They were 21. Do you know what they did after they beat the living piss out of us? Twenty one. There's no respect for our program anymore. How did it get to a point where we don't have respect? Hey, it's one thing to get beat, it's another for people to look down on us now like we're like Eastern Michigan. Mother fu—[redacted by radio station].
I'm telling you if I see another defensive tackle on the University of Miami sittin' around lookin' for girls in the stands and not running to the football and putting a hat on someone's ass, you're going to be held accountable. I'm going to have an aneurysm in here. I'm going to have an aneurysm the next time I see somebody not hit somebody. Son of a bitches. Hit somebody. How much do you think Luther Robinson would have made on that team? Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
Hit somebody. Dude, when you got a quarterback standing there and when he does a quarterback sneak, do you know what I want someone to do? Pull a knife on him and stick him. Gouge his eyes. Hit him in the knees, kick him the balls, do something. Show me you care. Jesus Christ almighty. If I see another kid wearing a University Miami helmet with the U on it and you allow a quarterback to go through the line of scrimmage and you don't put a hat on him you [redacted by radio station].
Where's my dollar? David? I'm gonna take a timeout here because I need to, I need to cool out here because, look, I'm not gonna put up with this. You know what? There are so many people that keep telling me about freakin' talent we have on that team. Stop it. Stop it. Talent. Do you think talent is 82 points and 1,000 yards in two weeks? Son of a bitches. Son of a bitches. It's embarrassing. You play at the University of Miami. Not for freakin' FIU.
Mike Francesa, WFAN
Here's Francesa dropping some much-deserved criticism of the New York Mets after a sweep against the lowly Colorado Rockies back in August. Francesa has the soul of a poet:
he Mets have become such an embarrassment they have become a bigger embarrassment than they were under Manual. I mean Terry Collins is starting to sound like Kotite. And he is accepting. I watched it last night. All they talked about after the game—and this drove me crazy—all they talk about, ‘Well, you know, we got a couple good at bats late, we were within a run.' You're playing a team that stinks. You're playing a team full of minor leaguers. That comes in here and sweeps you four games. 'Well you know you know, you know, we're in these games' In these games? The team is forty six and seventy three. When they came in here. They beat you four straight games. And they don't have anybody in the lineup. The Mets and Terry Collins have become completely accepting of this garbage. 'Well you know what are we gonna do, we'll just come out here tomorrow and try again, thank god the Astros are here, we might be able to beat them in a game.' Their 6-33 in the last 39 games. The Mets are 12-30 in their last 42 games. 12 and 30. Do you know they—they have lost 14 of their last 16 home games. They have not scored more than two runs in a week. You have to go back to '82 which was the black hole of Met baseball to see the last time that happened. This team has reached a low point that is unbelievable.
That this season could become like this. And now you can see it, you know the idea, the thing we talked about and raved about about Terry Collins was that he was not accepting of this garbage. He has become accepting of it. Last night, he wasn't even angry after the game. 'Well you know we had a couple of good—.' Why? 'Cause Ronnie Cedeno fouled off a couple of pitches before he made—now that's what you're looking for!
Today Valdespin couldn't get a bunt down, blew a ball in centerfield in a nothing nothing game and did you watch as Baxter on a base hit got forced at second. If I saw that in a little league game I'd be upset. On a base hit in front of him, he got nailed at second base. This is major league baseball. You're actually paying to watch this. The eight people who were there today, give them their money back. You've got to be kidding me. If I was the manager, I'd jump off the roof. If that was my team.
Well now all you hear is, "Oh Harvey, oh you know he struck out more guys than Nolan Ryan?" Are you trying to tell me Harvey is gonna be Nolan Ryan? See what the Mets are trying to do now is sell you these pitchers who until a couple weeks ago you never heard of, is now the reason to believe. When was the last time the Mets talked about McHugh before yesterday? Now today, "Oh he did something today that hadn't happened since Juan Marachiel." He's facing a Triple-A lineup. You forget one thing. They just got swept by a team that came in 46 and 73. They didn't get swept by the Giants; they didn't get swept by the Nats. Colorado came in here and pitched their starting pitchers three innings. It was like watching a spring training game today. They pitched their starter three innings and the Mets didn't score a run. "Well you know we're in these games." Really? he's starting to sound like Kottie.
This has reached ... I'm telling you right now, If I were the owner—if I was Jeff Wilpon, if I was Sandy Alderson, I would be afraid to show my face in public if this was my team. That's how bad this has been now.
You gotta be kidding me. I'm not watching anymore because I'm too mad, I can't take it. Can someone explain to me what Baxter was doing today? How he got forced at second on a base hit in front of him? Listen, I know Valdespin doesn't know how to play. OK, I understand that. We understand that. He's not an outfielder, he can't lay down a bunt. Yeah, he ran into a couple of fastballs as a pinch hitter. That is going to be his whole career. But you can see what the Mets are trying to do to you now. They are trying to make it seem like Seaver and Koosman are around the corner. You know what? They're not. Maybe one of these guys will be a star, but I can guarantee you, they're all not going to be stars. The Mets have tried this nonsense before, OK? Do I have to bring back the names? Want me to tell you how many times they've tried this before with the kid pitchers? "We're waitn', we're watin' for Generation K. We're watin'." We're still waitin' for Bill Pulsipher, and I like him. We're still waitin' for him.
These guys. In the last couple of days they pitched against a Colorado team that is awful. That has nobody in the lineup. Now Colorado came in and bunted, and you threw away bunts, and ran a couple of gimmick plays, and made 'em all work. And the Mets made errors, made errors on the bases, made outs on the bases. Never got a clutch hit. Never scored a run. And yet the manager had the gall to stand there last night and, "Hey you know we had a couple of good at-bats." Why? Because he fouled off a couple of pitches?
Twelve and thirty. Two and fourteen in their last sixteen games, and they just got swept at home by a team that came in 46-73 with the worst pitching staff in the major leagues. The last time the Mets hit a homer, Cleon Jones was on the team. You gotta be kidding me. I mean how do you watch this? I don't wanna hear about these pitchers. The first eight questions last night, "Well what'd ya think? Are you amazed? Are you amazed that he threw 97, are you amazed that he threw—" They stink.
Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, ESPN
Why do we talk so much about Tim Tebow? Often criticized for propping up Tebow, Smith and Bayless decided to wrestle with the topic head-on shortly after a trade brought the quarterback to the Jets. Smith starts things off by tsk-tsking Bayless for going after Donovan McNabb, who had criticized Tim Tebow for this tweet.
mith: You are beyond ridiculous. This is a man that played in the NFL all of these years that you yourself have acknowledged, OK, tremendous things in his career and all the man did, he had the temerity to sit there and say get off of Twitter. And you're going to attack him? Your sensitivity towards Tim Tebow has far exceeded embarrassing. You should be ashamed of yourself. You need to look at them right now, you need to apologize. All the man said was get off Twitter, stop trying to sit there and ingratiate yourself with the fan base with the words and smiles and always ending a sentence with God bless. All he said was, "Dude go out there and learn to play the game of football."
Because guess what, Skip Tebow? He can't play. Your little pet cannot play football. He cannot throw the football, to be more specifically. You need to get over it. You need to let it go. Let the man come into the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and learn how to throw the doggone football. You think we don't know that he's six comebacks by now, that he went 7 and 4, that he had a seven wins in eight-game streak. You don't think we know that by now? You won't let us forget it. Get over it. It's over. It's a new season. Grow up and stop attacking everybody that just slightly disagrees with you even though they're being actually nice. 'Cause Donovan McNab should be saying, "The boy can't throw." Be happy that he didn't say that. Do I make myself clear, mister ageful one? Do I make myself clear?
Bayless: Is he finished? Really? I'm sorry, what did you say? You put me to sleep with all that rhetoric.
Smith: It's not rhetoric. It's not rhetoric. I'm just getting tired of you. And I'm getting tired of attacking people—
Bayless: You know what? You. You are the biggest perpetrator of this. You are leading the charge against Tim Tebow day after day after day. We say, "Do we have to talk about Tebow again? And you come into the meetings and you say, "I have to talk about him, I want to talk about him." We both get bombarded on Twitter—"Let it go. Quit talking about Tebow." It's your fault we talk about Tebow. You call in the show, you're not supposed to be on the show today. Because you can't stop it. You can't help yourself. You're on a mission to undercut and discredit this kid.
"Bulldog" Bob Fescoe, 610 Sports Radio
A Kansas City radio host gets very angry about the Chiefs' Week 2 loss to the Bills:
top embarrassing yourselves. You're embarrassing your mother, you're embarrassing your father, you're embarrassing the city, you're embarrassing your wife and children. And your dog and your cat too. You're an embarrassing train wreck to the two point five million people that call this metro area home. You've let down all the old ladies that are on life support rooting for you trying to pull out another day. You give people nothing to live for. You suck. That's what you are right now. You are an embarrassing, sucking train wreck of a football team. From top to bottom.
But the onus, to me, this week is on the players. Get your ass out there and play like a man. Play like you mean it. Play like you care. I've got more passion at 6:18 this morning than you have for eight friggin quarters. Every one of you sucks. And we're tired of paying for tickets and parking and hot dogs and wasting friggin' Sunday afternoons watching you play. 'Cause you're not playing hard, you're not playing like you care, and you're not playing like you want to be there.
And you know what? Fans are going to stop coming because fans aren't going to support your crap. We're done. What the hell has this city done to deserve to be treated like complete total crap by both sports teams? Both teams in this town make no effort for their fans. At all. We're done. You guys all suck. Every professional athlete in this town blows right now. Perform like you care. Perform like you want to be a part of a professional team. Don't go out there and run around for 60 minutes and go, "We just didn't play today, hats off to them, it's a long season, it's a marathon and a sprint."
No. Admit you suck. Admit you have no idea what's going on, admit you have no idea that you care. Just come out and tell us. 'Cause we'll stop going. Because you know it was a nice Sunday yesterday. I could have gone pumpkin picking. I could've had doughnuts in Louisburg and cider. But no, I watched your sorry ass play. All of us watched your sorry ass play when we could have been down at Louisburg enjoying cider and donuts. No more. Why should we invest our Sundays, one of the two days we get off a week, to watch your complete trash. Nobody should have to watch that. They should make prisoners watch the Chiefs. That should be punishment. That. You want to talk about torturing people. The Chiefs are torturing the city right now. You're torturing us. We're tired of it. We're tired of the losing. We're tired of the excuses.
Hawk Harrelson, WGN
This is Chicago White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson melting down after a strikeout call. Harrelson takes aim at umpire Mark Wegner for tossing pitcher Jose Quintana after he'd thrown behind Tampa's Ben Zobrist. Put it on the board:
h what are you doing? He threw him out of the ball game? You've got to be bleepin me. What in the hell are you doing? What are you doing Wegner? You've got to be kidding me. That is so bad that is absolutely brutal. That is unbelievable. I'll tell you what. They have got to start making guys be accountable. That is totally absurd. That just tells you—here's an umpire in the American League that knows nothing about the game of baseball. That's unbelievable.
Joe Simpson, SportSouth
Simpson, a broadcast guy for the Braves and booth partner of Chip Caray, interrupted a perfectly pleasant Mets-Braves game in August to talk about what someone had said about him on Twitter.
impson: Speaking of Hollywood, there's a guy by the name of Joe Simpson out there who's the father of Jessica Simpson, the actress, who was arrested for a DUI a couple of days ago. So, whichever one of you idiot tweeters tweeted that Braves broadcaster Joe Simpson was arrested for a DUI, I'd like to meet you. We'll be home after the game tomorrow. And I'd like to meet you and we can probably get this straigtnend out. But it was not me.
Chip Caray: Here's Daniel Murphy. I'll even leave the tickets for him.
Simpson: Oh there are some tickets that'd be punched. No question.
Caray: Bases clear for Murphy. One ball, no strikes.
Simpson: My suggestion would be just find something better to do. With your life.
Caray: So guessing you and the Twitterverse are not going to be best friends anytime soon?
Simpson: That's a head-shaking no.
Andy Pollin, Chris Knoche, and Steve Czaban, ESPN radio
Why transgender women shouldn't play women's college basketball. A remote news item is batted about by ignoramuses submitting to their dumbest, most illiberal sports-douche impulses. This is what sports shouting is all about.
ndy Pollin: Before we do the Cam Newton story, I want to recommend a very long piece that Eric Prisbell, formerly with the Post, now with USA Today, wrote for USA Today today. It's about a junior college women's basketball player—Mission College in the Bay Area—six-foot-six-inch Gabrielle Ludwig. You would say, yes, that's a snoozer until you find out that Gabrielle Ludwig was born Robert Ludwig. And played junior college basketball—
Chris Knoche: That's a man, baby!
Pollin: Yes, and played junior college basketball as a man 30 years ago. Gabrielle is 50 years old. Now a woman, now a part of the women's junior college team. This photo won't help you if you're in the car but let me give you the reaction of Knoche and Czabe. Tattooed, big biceps.
Knoche: Oh my God. That could be a Russian chick.
Pollin: Do yourself a favor! Look it up online.
Knoche: How does this work? You lose testicles and gain eligibility?
Steve Czaban: This combines the worst of both worlds. One, granting out-of-age eligibility, which should never happen. I think all college athletics should have an age limit, and it should be something like 25. That's number one. Number two, the whole gender-bending thing. You know, whatever you gotta do, to scratch that inner itch or to quell those inner demons, that's fine, but don't go playing sports then. Don't go playing sports saying, "But I've got the rights as everyone else." Yeah, you've got the rights to live as a human being, you know, with other people respecting you and everything else. But athletics is different. And a man's body and a man's DNA is different than a woman's. That's why we have separate leagues for separate genders.
Knoche: I don't care how loose the rules are in that junior college league, that's just not supposed to happen.
Pollin: I mean, if Knoche had eligibility, he would not give up his testicles to go play women's basketball. He'd think about it, though.
Knoche: I'm gonna think about it
Czaban: So what's the net-net of the story, because I'm not gonna read it.
Pollin: Well, the net-net is she, he has had a lot of problems in his, her life.
Czaban: I think it is the politically correct term.
Pollin: Whatever it is. And this basketball is helping him, her to transform his, her life into a better life, such as it is.
Andray Blatche, Holden Kushner, and Danny Rouhier, 106.7 The Fan
Here's what happened when former Wizards player Andray Blatche called into a DC-based radio show hosted by Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier. Blatche invited the pair to offer up some criticism of his time in Washington.
ouhier: Andray, listen man, hey. Really appreciate you comin' on this morning. In all sincerity, I think it's awesome that you stood up and you talked to us. It was great, but I just want you to know this: There are a lot Wizards fans that have a lot of resentment towards you, and that's never going to change. The idea that you had these excuses for each one of these incidents, that's wonderful, whatever helps you sleep at night. I just know this—
Blatche: It's not excuses—
Rouhier: This franchise paid you to go away. They paid you to go away—
Blatche: It's the truth. It's not an excuse, it's the truth.
Rouhier: Wonderful, your version of the truth is awesome. We paid you to go away, the Wizards did. You were an embarrassment while you were here, and you made so many people frustrated and sad because you're talented. You have gifts that none of us have, and you squandered those gifts. Not just when you were out of shape, but other times. You never got better. You were supposed to lead this team, they put their faith in you—the fans did, and that's we were disappointed. So all this act and all this stuff, I know you were childish and immature, you were in the league for seven years before you bounced out of here.
Kushner: And I mean, it's just enough with the Wizards. Move on, man.
Blatche: OK, listen, when I sent that tweet, that was my point. I'm trying to move on, but everytime I turn around you got a reporter in DC talking about me still. It's kind of hard to move on—
Rouhier: Andray, here's how you move on: Keep the Wizards name out your mouth. Don't mention us again.
Kushner: And go play with the Nets. Go have a good time with the Nets.
Rouhier: Best of luck.
Kushner: Seriously, I hope you get it down and you turn it around. And I want to thank you again for calling man, I really do.
Blatche: Appreciate it so much, man.
Mike Francesa, WFAN
And lastly, here is Francesa once again, talking to Yankees reporter Sweeny Murti. This is a minimalist masterpiece. As with great jazz, sometimes, it's about the notes you don't play.
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ... [Wakes up. Is very alarmed. Says something to his producer] ... All right, we're talking with Sweeny obviously as we get ready for a trip to Boston and then back again this weekend against Tampa.