General Sports

Lost in Translation

Tomorrow, I’m going to Best Buy and picking up a microphone.  I’ve got to start practicing five minutes ago.Answer:  AOL has it.  Yahoo! does, too.  And you can cue it up on MySpace, YouTube and a host of other sites spanning the URL bandwidth.  

Question: who has the video – of gravity-defying 720-degree slam dunks, eight-year olds channeling their inner-Tony Hawk at skate parks and Aaron Rowand’s face-crippling catch.

Imagine tuning in to a SportsCenter marathon bereft of witty banter and teleprompters, the essence of viral video exponentially redefined by the mouse click.

That’s the world we read in today; an infinitely shrinking, on-demand, word-of-mouth, “DID YOU SEE THAT?!” email-a-link-to-it ecosystem that threatens the hollowed ground of traditional information delivery systems.  Or at the very least, challenges them to strap on their digital game day uniform.  

Jockstrap not optional.

In the online sports media universe, podcasts and RSS feeds run parallel to Ray Lewis’ pyrotechnic pregame two-step (and the inlaid jersey microphones that often accompany his teeth-chattering tackles), marquee facets of the NFL’s audiovisual assault on the National Pastime title.

The major-market players in the newspaper and magazine industry have thrived alongside the Internet revolution, tying national columnists to mouse potato regional bloggers and redirecting readers to their web pages for an overabundance of in-depth, expert analysis.

Subscribers can even create member logins and read the copy on their HD flat panel monitors.

As an undergraduate student and aspiring journalist, I often argued with my professors – many with steep backgrounds in the traditional print mediums – that “nobody reads anymore,” a frightful bit of discourse not lost on the profusion of writers and editors at incessantly merging (and folding) newspapers and magazines in the wake of drastic circulation declination.

And here’s why that’s worse than Andy Reid in spandex:  the number of journalists whose persona even remotely translates across the mediums is akin to the “1.3 percent doctrine” ESPN’s Scoop Jackson dropped on Page 2 yesterday.

Simply stated: more than nine times out of ten, seeing and hearing that writer in high definition destroys the magical essence of their written message.  For every Stephen A. Smith, there’s 99 John Claytons.  

Glaring example: Rick Reilly.

Sports Illustrated’s closer is unquestionably the best in the business.  But can anyone honestly tell me that his “Riffs of Reilly” come off as whimsically as SI’s back page?

And how about Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun Times?  Watching him bobble-head on ESPN’s “Around the Horn” floods the imagination with alibis for Ozzie Guillen’s gender-bending account of his talents.  

The whole dynamic is supernaturally strange and fantastic.    

Because keyboards don’t spittle.  And they don’t gyrate.  

But they do have mute buttons.      

9 replies on “Lost in Translation”

wow I thought this article was “different”, and then I go and read the 1.3 percent doctrine. Good job to you, no comment about the latter.

am i to get from this that you think Stephen A Smith is somehow good on tv?

 the guy sucks ass in every medium.

Stephen A. It’s not about him being “good” or not.  Just the authenticity that translates across the mediums.  Like Jim Rome, love it or hate it, at least it’s real.

it’s not real it’s a schtick.  Stephen A figured out that by yelling so much, ESPN loved him and had him on more guest appearances while he was a columnist for the Philadelphia inquirer.  And like any good rat, SAS learned from the experience and decided to go for more cheese.   What happened to substance over style?  Stephen A knows basketball but he knows very little about any other sport yet loves to talk about everything.  He sucks.

Stephen A and Around the Horn Stephen A dramatizes everything so he sounds like he is saying something important, I would much rather hear someone just state the facts and sometimes an opinion. There is a reason ESPN kicked Stephen A out of that primetime slot an into a TV time that nobody will watch his show. He is a useless TV personality. Personally, I think Around the Horn is a genius show for sportswriters to really get throught to the public. It really is a great idea.

i like ATH ok it’s got its moments but I’m not a fan of Jay Mariotti.  

Mostly I tune into Around the Horn because i’m waiting for PTI.

not an ATH fan I really cannot stand that host. He doesn’t seem to know anything about sports and drives me insane.

I Love ATH Woody Paige is the king of saying things that are off-topic.  He’s also the funniest and the most likeable (everyone hates Mariotti).

Woddy Paige, may be, THE single worst spoken sports columnist in the world.

Unless, of course, you look across the table.  At Skip Bayless.

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