Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Friday, September 29, 2006

Some sound and lots of fury

Hello to everyone who's stopped by, looking for that clip of WXYT's Mike Valenti going ape$#!+ on his beloved Spartans earlier this week. Sorry to disappoint you guys. I don't have the clip, but I'm happy to help out.

You can find it here, via The House Rock Built. And you can find Mr. Valenti himself at the site for his radio show, where the rant is being discussed on the message boards.

Meanwhile, the audio clip/podcast I've been enjoying is Jason Whitlock's appearance on Detroit's other sports talk station, WDFN, yesterday. Fresh off his dismissal from ESPN, following some negative comments he made about Mike Lupica and Scoop Jackson to The Big Lead, Whitlock aired out some dirty laundry in his paper, the Kansas City Star, and has been making the rounds to various sports talk shows (including Gregg Henson's show in Philadelphia), aiming his six-shooters squarely at Lupica, Jackson, and... Mitch Albom.

On the podcast of his appearance on "Stoney & Wojo," listen to Mike Stone completely clam up (and get kind of miffed) once Whitlock starts taking shots at Albom (who Stone used to co-host a show with, back in the days before Detroit had 24-hour sports talk radio) for toeing the ESPN company line on the Barry Bonds steroids scandal. Whitlock can't resist bringing up Mitch's little mix-up with fabricating a story last year, saying Albom essentially "got busted for steroids" in his own industry.

(And while we're on the subject of ripping Mitch Albom, did you see the review of his new novel by Slate's Bryan Curtis? Whoo! That kind of thing leaves scars, man.)

Plenty more is discussed in the interview, which makes it worth a listen, but if you're pressed for time, it's toward the end of the podcast (part 4).

I haven't always been a fan of Whitlock's work (especially for his views on how Notre Dame treated Tyrone Willingham vs. Charlie Weis), but I do like that he's often willing to take some unpopular stances in the name of bringing an issue to light. (Unlike, say, Rob Parker, who does it simply for the sake of playing contrarian.) Maybe he sometimes tries too hard to be controversial, but his columns aren't usually boring to read.

(I remember when Whitlock worked at the Ann Arbor News and skewered Magic Johnson's butchering of the English language in his color commentary for the 1994 NBA Finals. As a young journalism student, I didn't think you could do that in print and still have a job the next day. Though I'm not sure anyone but Whitlock could've gotten away with it...)

I used to be a huge fan of "The Sports Reporters" on ESPN, though with the advent of sports talk radio, blogs, and daily programming such as "Pardon the Interruption," the show isn't nearly the novelty it was ten years ago. So I haven't watched in quite some time. And after listening to Whitlock's peek behind the curtain at how the producers (allegedly) dictate discussion, it might have to be a damn boring Sunday morning before I watch it again. That young journalism student sheds a tear as something else he once admired spirals down into the circular file of disappointment.

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  • At October 02, 2006 4:14 PM, Anonymous Doug Hill said…

    Amen to everything Whitlock says/said regarding TSR and Mitch. I worked with Jason for the better part of a year at the AA News and though I didn't always agree with what he had to say he always, as you note Ian, had support to back it up.

    Thanks for the links to his and Valenti's rants. I can only imagine Valenti had a whopper Monday what with MSU, the Lions, and Tigers all taking the gas pipe late.


  • At October 04, 2006 6:48 PM, Anonymous Evan said…

    This may prove to be an unpopular opinion in this particular forum, but nonetheless, here it is: Sports talk radio absolutely, positively sucks.

    An overwhelming percentage of it is devoted to infighting, inside jokes, rumor spreading, and game-by-game speculation. It exagerates and uses hyperbole in order to keep each day tolerable for the majority of listeners.

    Obviously, to form this opinion, I have to be a listener. So why do I listen if I rag on it so much? Well, between all of that, there's often 2-5 minutes of valuable information or the occasional player interview that's worth listening to. Sometimes I'm willing to sort through the utter shit to get to the good stuff.

    Mitch Albom fucked up. Everyone knew it last year, and everyone called him out on it -- bloggers, amateurs, professionals, writers, sportscasters. Why bring it up now? Because he wrote a pop novel, which is, by the way, what half of ESPN.com is for sports fans, by the way: "pop" sports culture. Page 2, Bill Simmons, Power Rankings, et cetera. It's fluff. Most people who are part of that industry engage in the same trite crap all the time anyhow.

    OK, rant over. :-)

  • At October 04, 2006 9:57 PM, Anonymous susannah said…

    I too dislike The Sports Reporters. When the Sunday political talk shows are more riveting, that's a problem. I should point out that I do not hate The Sports Reporters nearly as much as I hate the Yankees.

    (Hope you're feeling better, dude.)


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