The art of sports writery

September 9, 2006 at 10:30 am | Posted in clif, fespn | 9 Comments

I don’t know how many of you regularly read sports articles on online sports sites such as foxsports or espn (I’m assuming most of you), but for those of you that don’t, let me tell you a bit about the writers. They’re almost all completely awful. They load their articles with inside jokes and pop culture references about the shitty reality tv shows they watch. They love similes like my sister loves Hanson. Did that last sentence seem irrelevent, retarded and a little embarassing? Good. Then you’re starting to understand the sort of tripe you have to bear with when reading an online article about the upcoming football game, the basketball draft or the U.S. Open.

I think there is some sort of simile-per-paragraph quota that sports writers have to reach in order receive their paychecks. And their comparisons usually contain pop culture references that have no bearing on the subject on which they are writing, shed no light the point they are trying to make, and make you worry a bit about what the writers do with their personal time. They might go something like this: “Saying Eli Manning is as good a quarterback as his brother is like saying pre-nose job Ashley Simpson is as attractive as Jessica.” Alright, that wasn’t a good example, but I don’t pay much attention to pop culture (especially to the bits that would make me, a grown man, seem creepy) and I’m not drunk/high right now. It’s only 10:00 am.

Anyway, I just read the best (worst) example of the kind of article I just described. It was this one which, eventually, is a bunch of predictions for the week 1 NFL games. I’ll give you a minute to read it. Done? Okay. WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? I can’t believe Foxsports actually posted this thing. What’s the deal with the Betty Ford joke (please, God, let it be a joke) that takes up half the article? Anyway, if you got through that part and still had the stomache to continue, this guy (Andy Nesbitt), spits out example after example of the requisite jokes and similes most sports articles contain. He really is a pro. In his short blurbs on each game, he manages to hit on the Big Three of the sports simile trifecta: the Irrelevent (see Cleveland vs. New Orleans and Dallas vs. Jacksonville), the Creepy Pop Culture (see Atlanta vs. Carolina and Philadelphia vs. Houston) and the Emberassing Similes (see Baltimore vs. Tampa Bay and Indianapolis vs. New York Giants). And, in one master stroke, he lumped the Holy Trinity of Sports Similes into the rare, vomit-inducing Godhead Simile (see Minnesota vs. Washington). Wow. I’m in awe that people like Mr. Nesbitt get paid to write this stuff. But, I take solice in knowing he’s not being paid enough to buy an ipod (see Denver vs. St. Louis).


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  1. You’re a blogger. he has an article. End of story. He’ll continue to get paid, and you’ll continue to work out of your parents basement.

  2. hey anonymous — you probably thought it was a good article, so who needs you?

  3. The irony of this post doesn’t hit you until you scroll down a few posts and see: 1. A long post about a fantasy football draft, which is the single most overused cliche column topic on internet sports sites, complete with lists of do’s and don’ts (like “a good draft doesn’t always equal a good team.” Thanks, Socrates). 2. A post on the World Cup, only two months after it ended. You’re really on the ball there, maybe this month you can do a story on the Winter Olympics from February.

  4. Who is this anonymous fella? Nesbitt? Is that you?
    Yeah, I’m pretty sure that of all the sports articles I read, foxsports has the worst. I was going to post one about an article I read “covering” the us open tennis tournament. I have yet to read a good article, by a sportswriter (see DFW’s essay on Federer), about tennis.

  5. Perhaps I didn’t hit on this firmly in my post, but the difference between myself and the professionals at Foxsports is the stage on which we write. And I’m not talking about my parent’s basement (which is very nice, I’ll have you know. I even have my own minifridge and hotplate). Foxsports is a huge, (inter?)national sports authority, second only to ESPN globally (I’m guessing). As such, it is responsible for supplying millions of readers with sports news and insight of the highest quality, something I feel they have failed to do. This guy knows what i’m talking about is a blog created and maintained by a group of friends and has, if we’re lucky, 6 regular readers. Plus, since our anonymous critic doesn’t seem aware of this, a blog, by definition, is a place for people to put opinions, ramblings and passing fancies. A blog is not a source of up-to-date news and we have never made that claim. Besides, the fact that we post cliched and outdated posts (both of which had disclaimers, if you paid any attention), doesn’t make the points I made any less valid. However, if you think you can class us up, Anonymous, I’m sure we’d let you join.

  6. why would you dis on a blog and hide your identity? either it’s one of our own writers posing as an idiot (possible an hunky idiot) or dusty is right and it is nesbit (or someone who likes him [get it?]) orthe person (or computer) is too scared to take us on.

  7. since the world cup article is mine, i feel like i need to defend it. i’ll start by challengning the pussy-who’s-too-scared-to-leave-his/her-name’s logic (but first i want ot be fair and say i liked the socrates jokes): the world cup ended in july so the article was only a month or so late and as clif pointed out the opening paragraph explained why it was late. so there’s a big difference between a world cup article in august and a winter olympic article in september. next time stick to the socrates jokes.

  8. I liked the Socrates joke, too. I wish he/she had said Socrates Johnson, though.

  9. that nesbitt article was worse than my blog about tattoos as forms of advertisement. and that’s pretty(very) sad.

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