Wednesday, February 04, 2009

If Smith says might be true. Maybe.

Does Stephen A Smith know what's he's talking about? Does Chris Bosh want out of Toronto?

Who the hell knows.

But, what's interesting about the fall-out of the Smith's assurance that CB4 is about the become the next Air Canada or T-Mac is how it shines a light on the modern world of sports journalism.

Smith is an acquired taste. He's loud, contrarian and, well, urban. A lot of people are rubbed the wrong way by him, sometimes for reasons that don't seem all that, um, pure of heart.

This afternoon Jack Armstrong and Doug MacLean ripped into Smith on the Fan590's The Game Plan. Missing the irony of that fact that they are on a radio station that employs about 3,842 NHL insiders, they called Smith's credibility into question.

MacLean sarcastically praised journalists that fight to get a scoop "30 seconds" before their competition (I guess he won't be in Sportsnet's studio on NHL trade deadline day then. You know, on moral grounds). Armstrong talked about people "sitting in their basement" (at least it wasn't "parent's basement" I guess) causing trouble for teams and players.

Here's the thing. "Insider" sports journalism exists because there is a market for it. Ultimately those insiders will be judged by their audience. If they are making crap up, as many are accusing Smith of doing in this case, the readers will eventually tune them out. We don't need watchdogs like Armstrong and McLean to protect us from the big, bad insiders that are out to take down our favourite player/team.

As for the rumour? The fact that Smith says that he is going doesn't mean that he is. But, the fact that Bosh and Brian Colangelo are denying it means even less.

1 comment:

sager said...

Bill James absolutely nailed "insider-dom" many years ago.

"Inside looks, inside glimpses, inside locker rooms and inside blimpses; within months we shall have seen the inside of everything that one can get inside of without a doctor's help, and now that I think about that I remember seeing a sample copy of a Las Vegas tout sheet that featured an 'Inside Medical Report.' In the collapse of the original 'Inside Sports,' perhaps the nickname shattered and the shards landed across the horizon.

"What has really happened, of course, is that the walls between the public and the participants of sports are growing higher and higher and thicker and darker, and the media is developing a sense of desperation about the whole thing."

"I've never said, never thought, that it was better to be an outsider than it was to be an insider, that my view of the game was better than everyone else's. It's different; better in some ways, worse in some ways. What I have said is, since we are outsiders, since the players are going to put up walls to keep us out here, let us use our position as outsiders to what advantage we can. Let us back off from the trees, look at the forest as a whole, and see what we can learn from that."

Point being, you're not going to learn much from the 3,842 insiders and all of them offer so little for the mind.