June 11th, 2009 by John Krolik

I’m going to be honest: I have no idea how to fill a blog every day during the off-season when nothing is happening. None. So we’re just going to go with bullets that have little to no relation to each other. Again, my suggestion box is always open.

-Right now, Draft Express has us taking a Mr. Jonas Jerebenko with our 1st-round pick. Yipee. I have little doubt that he won’t be the actual pick, but his profile has a couple of hilarious things:

-Under strengths, it has “role-player potential.” Wow. Your first round pick should generally be a role player or a player with potential.

-Also, his best-case scenario is Matt Harpring and his worst-case scenario is Matt Barnes. For my money, Matt Barnes is a much, much better basketball player than Matt Harpring. Curious.

-If you ever look at the times these posts go up, you may have made the observation that I don’t sleep at night. Fun fact: last night, the only people active on my gChat while I was writing were Kurt Helin of Forum Blue and Gold and Ben Q. Rock of Third Quarter Collapse. And Ben’s on East Coast Time.

-Following up on my semi-callout from yesterday: Say what you will about Josh Tucker, formerly of and currently of Silver Screen and Roll, but he wrote the article blaming LeBron for his mistakes in the ECF, and then he stuck to his own standard when it came to Kobe. Props to the guy for not backing down from his rhetoric, even if I feel it’s too harsh on both guys.

-Two series tonight prompting sports-esqe thoughts:

Ultimate Fighter Penultimate Episode:

Sometimes I wish I was an MMA blogger. Once basketball obsession dominated a thoroughly unhealthy portion of my life and I realized I couldn’t do the work to be a true baseball fan anymore, despite the fact baseball was my sport in high school, MMA has been fantastic. It’s low-maintenence to follow, 0 BS, one-on-one combat, the best guys are virtually undefeated, there are belts to decide who’s the best, it’s highly technical with little referee responsibility (sport-wise, although they have to keep guys alive.)

Seriously, after doing LeBron-Kobe bullcrap as an unofficial part of my job for so long, there’s something truly refreshing and fantastic about a sport where two guys get into a cage and one comes out less hurt and he’s the one who wins. Simple is fun. And if you want to throw superlatives around about athletes, look at guys like Lyoto Machida. He has guys come into the ring trying to hurt him and has never LOST A ROUND in MMA. That’s the type of guy you can start calling perfect.

-I was going to write about the Real World/Road Rules finale here and how it looks like way too much fun to be on that show, but that got me to Bill Simmons’ statement (that I agree with) that RW/RR Challenge should replace hockey as the fourth major sport, and I remembered how I was going to call out Simmons yesterday before my post ran 1,300 words anyways.

-I have the Michael Moore question when I read Simmons columns like this one about Lakers/Magic game 2- what are you hoping to accomplish with this? People who hate the Lakers are going to love it. People who love the Lakers are just going to tune it out. Nothing changes. The tone is so clearly biased and over-the-top that all of the salient points in the article are going to get lost and dismissed as “hating” by all of the people who didn’t already believe them coming in. Between this and his frankly inexcuseable refereeing column, Simmons is in a Mo Williams-esque slump this playoffs.

And I know, I know-it’s the voice of the fan, yadda yadda yadda. (Disclaimer: I am stealing this point from a friend of mine, who happens to be exactly right about this.) Here’s the thing: you want the voice of the fan, write on a message board, start a blog, be the wacky guy on Page 2 at best. Don’t expect to be ESPN’s juggernaut and foist a 650-page “Book of Basketball” on the public because you believe you’ve established yourself as an authority.

As much as I hate blockbuster psych, I’ll allow it from myself because Spider-Man 2 is my favorite thing ever created by man: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.

Simmons has mentioned multiple times how important Peter Gammonds’ Sunday column was to Boston when he was growing up, because everything Gammonds said was accepted as gospel. That’s the sportswriting ideal. But when maybe the best-known sportswriter on the planet is writing columns that are literally impossible to take at face value, that ideal dies a little more and sportswriting as we know it veers closer to the “info-tainment” that we get on conservative talk radio and with politics on the internet, trying to find the truth as a collage of what lies in between the ridiculous and biased viewpoints of Rush Limbaugh, Arianna Huffington, Drudge, and whoever else.

Like I say, we like sports because they’re pure, because there should be a correct way to analyze them, as there isn’t really with things like politics and life. The sports are the story. When we try to make the analysis of entertainment into entertainment in its own right and ignore the responsibility to try and inform people of what really happened on that court and why, a bad cycle starts. People should at least be able to read sports news and expect something approaching the pure truth.

* Disclaimer: I realize this may seem hypocritical coming from a team blogger. My two defenses are that I write a certain way because I know I am writing a team blog: my posts for other publications are in a different voice, and one meant to show none of the slant one may see from a team blogger. The front page of ESPN, of course, carries a high burden of objectivity, in my opinion. Second, I may not always succeed, but my goal with every post I write here is to not only help Cavs fans but to be on-point to the extent where Laker fans or the staunchest of LeBron haters could get useful information from the post.

**2nd disclaimer: Of course I love Simmons, have read him religiously for a few years now, think he is tremendously talented, think he’s changed sportswriting in a solid direction in terms of the myth of the necessity of access in the internet age, and would probably crap my pants if I ever saw him in person or something. And I plan to buy his book on the 1st day. I just think he’s reached a crossroads in terms of being the fan vs. being the journalist, and think it would be much better in the long term if he went towards being a journalist.

-Peace, everyone. This time tomorrow, the Lakers are probably going to be up 3-1. Enjoy the day.