Monday, March 28, 2016

Foot In Mouth Again?

Not content with a mere tweet about the UConn women's basketball team kicking ass and taking names, the Grandmaster Troll of the Boston Globe bangs out a column about it, where he further expands on his 'thoughts'.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s not because they win championships every year. We love dynasties.

It’s not because they are female athletes. We love women’s sports.
What the hell is that supposed to mean? Contradict yourself much?
It’s because they have no competition. It’s the margins of these victories. The defending champion University of Connecticut women’s basketball team is virtually never tested. They seem to win all their games by 40 points. This is not UConn’s fault, but it’s also not good for the promotion of women’s basketball as part of our national sports landscape.

Competition is why we watch sports. Who is going to win? Without that drama, sports would be no different from the theater, ballet, or symphony. The UConn women are so good they have stripped their sport of all drama and competition and made it similar to performance art.

This is good for the game?
Stolen from the comments section - "The average winning margin by UCLA during their streak was 23.5 and it was 30.3 in the 1970-71 season. The Oklahoma football team won 47 straight games from 1953-7 with an average margin of victory of 28. Obviously both of those streaks were bad for their sport."
That was it. I went to dinner and didn’t think much of it.

Whoa. Husky Nation was not happy. My Twitter feed and e-mail box were peppered with angry UConn fans.

Fortunately, I’m used to this.
Dan Shaughnessy - pissing off his readers since 1981!

Then, UConn's coach drops the hammer:
At least that’s what I thought before UConn coach Geno Auriemma returned fire Sunday.

“When Tiger [Woods] was winning every major, nobody said he was bad for golf,’’ said the coach. “Actually he did a lot for golf. He made everybody have to be a better golfer.

“We don’t appreciate people for how good they are and what a good job they do, we always have to compare it to something. It’s only in women’s basketball. It’s the only sport where that happens.’’

Then came the zinger: “There are a lot better writers than Dan Shaughnessy, but that doesn’t mean he’s bad for the game.’’

Good one, Geno. And so very true.
Sports don’t grow in popularity unless people watch them on TV, and I don’t know a lot of sports fans who enjoy 98-38 in a tournament game.

The Huskies have no competition. Sorry, but how can this be a good thing for women’s basketball?
I think a comparison can be made to professional cycling and soccer. Did cycling grow in popularity during the Greg LeMond / Lace Armstrong dominance in the Tour de France? I think it was marginal at best. Is soccer, the world's favorite sport, growing in popularity in the United States? I think a lot of people watch the World Cup, and that's about it.

It's pretty clear to me that Shank wrote this just to piss people off, even if he made some valid points. That's the mark of the Grandmaster Troll.

UPDATE AT 8:18 PM: This column, in conjunction with the obligatory Deadspin pile-on post, is definitely bringing a little more attention to women's basketball, isn't? Mission accomplished, Danny Boy!

UPDATE II, AT 8:25 PM: Stolen from the Deadspin post's comments section, Shank's case falls apart some more with the comparison to the UCLA teams under John Wooden:

"The numbers are nearly identical.

UCLA Undefeated Seasons: 4

UCONN Undefeated Seasons: 5

UCLA Longest winning streak: 88 Games

UCONN Longest Winning Streak: 90 Games

UCLA Titles Under Wooden: 10

UCONN Titles Under Auriemma: 10"

UPDATE III, AT 8:40 PM: OK, this Deadspin comment was just too good not to repeat here:

"On the one hand, this is yet another terrible take by Shaughnessy. On the other, he is producing remarkably regular bowel movements for a man his age."

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