Sports Outside the Beltway

Beware the Perils of Sportswriting

Think you have what it takes to cover your favorite sports team? Of course you do. Anybody can write about sports, right?

Guess again. A column that recently appeared in central Maine’s Sun Journal illustrates how hard it is to cover sports. In addition it also demonstrates that one has to work really, really hard to be this foolish. Let’s go to the blockquoted text:

Just like Curt Schilling’s near no-hitter, the Red Sox will need some help if they hope to complete a perfect season.

The team they have in place right now is obviously pretty good.

But, the bullpen is shaky at best, the back-end of the rotation is suspect and the bench could use a clutch bat or two.

First off, the Red Sox bullpen, far from being shaky is actually one of the best in the league. Their ERA of 3.03 is the best in the American League. Toronto’s Bullpen ERA is second at 3.21. The American League combined bullpen ERA is 4.22. Hideki Okajima is proving lights out in his first year. Jonathan Papelbon has had a few knuckles int he stream, but by and large has been excellent closing out games. There have been shaky performances, but, more often than not, the bulpen has been sparkling good.

Every bench is in need of a good clutch bat. So that point is irrelevant. What team doesn’t want the luxury of having an all-star coming off the bench.

As for the back of the rotation, plenty of teams would like a pair of starting pitchers with five hundred records and ERAs of 4.18 and 4.97 at the back of the rotation. Tim Wakefield has remarkably allowed two runs or less in six of his fourteen starts. He has been torched by the Yankees (17 ER in 14 IP). Remove the Yankee games from his season stat line and Wakefield’s ERA goes from 4.18 to 2.91. There is nothing suspect about that. Julian Tavarez, meanwhile has faced Johan Santana, Roy Halladay (twice) Chien-Ming Wang, Barry Zito, Mike Mussina and Danny Haren among a few lesser lights. And in spite of allowing 1.4 baserunners an inning, Tavarez has kept the ball on the ground, gotten double plays and generally landed on his feet. The Red Sox meanwhile are 7-5 in his 12 starts. Having a fifty-fifty shot of winning on days when your worst starter is on the hill is something every team wants.

Well, there are worse ways to make a point than using vacuous rhetorical argument devoid of nettlesome things like facts. Like what, you ask?

Trade #3: Cardinals trade Jim Edmonds and Anthony Reyes for Coco Crisp, Kason Gabbard, Craig Hansen and a first-round draft pick. Edmonds is nearing the end of his career, but he can still play great defense and has some pop left in his bat. I think all Sox fans would admit that Crisp has been bit of a disappointment, but he still has market value. St. Louis will need to look at rebuilding and a speedy centerfielder that is built more for the National League (bunting, sacrificing, stealing bases) could be appealing. Reyes helps replace the loss of Lester/Buchholz in terms of future power arms. Also, the Sox may not have to give up Gabbard and Hansen. Realistic: Actually, this one could happen.(Emphasis mine -E.P.)

Maybe we shouldn’t let him know that Major League Baseball Teams cannot trade draft picks.

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I couldn’t get past the putrid writing to get to the dumb content.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth | June 19, 2007 | 11:17 pm | Permalink

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