Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Friday, January 19, 2007

Happy Hour 01/19: Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

Between counting all of the hits The Wayne Fontes Experience has recently received for a blog-time of ripping on Rob Parker, Big Al wrote an excellent post yesterday that detailed all of the various fires that currently need to be put out in the Detroit Pistons locker room.

However, after the drama that's ensued over the past couple of days at The Palace, I'm beginning to wonder if this soap opera is a reality or a flame started and stoked by the media - especially the national press.

That's not to say that there aren't many real problems with this team. Things most certainly aren't clicking with the Pistons. Injuries and new players that simply haven't worked out have prevented the Pistons from establishing any kind of rhythm, and I'd bet that frustration over these misfires is a large reason for the current existing tension.

But then a national writer comes in, notices something worthy of attention (especially if he's not familiar with the situation), and runs with it. Perhaps the biggest problem he made, however, was not checking with any of the local guys to see if such behavior might be out of the ordinary.

Maybe that's not standard operating procedure for ESPN.com guys. Obviously, Chris Sheridan has covered the NBA for a long time and knows what's going on. But it seems to me that if you want information on a team you might not regularly cover - and I think a lot of columnists would say this - you check with the beat reporters.

In my handful of press box experiences, I saw it frequently. Beat writers from the home team swapping notes with the guys from the visiting team, and vice versa. Granted, such chats are more difficult courtside at the Palace with everyone shoehorned behind a couple of tables than at, say, the more spacious accommodations at Comerica Park. But there's plenty of opportunity to pull a colleague aside at halftime or when the media throng is huddled together looking for post-game quotes.

And I shouldn't presume that Sheridan didn't do that. (He seemed to have for a semi-mea culpa on his ESPN.com blog.) Again, he's been doing this a long time.

But it sure didn't look that way when he slipped the word "hate" in the "Daily Dish" column that spawned assorted blog entries (from the aforementioned local beat writers) and after-practice tirades, and generally been the topic du jour of Detroit sports.

According to the dictionary, sensationalism is defined as "subject matter, language, or style producing or designed to produce startling or thrilling impressions, or to excite." I don't know what you think, but that sounds pretty much exactly what Sheridan when he decided "discord and disharmony" just didn't do the trick, and opted for "hate" instead.

Of course, that may have been exactly his intention. If so, mission accomplished.

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