Sports + Talking + Radio = Not Good
1:22 PM EST on November 19, 2009
I had to stop and think hard about something this week. Something I'd never considered. Something I really didn't think I ever would.
Why in the f-u-n-k do I listen to sports talk radio?
I had no answer for myself. What made this especially awkward was that I asked it out loud while in line at Taco Bueno. Everyone looked at me funny. One guy said, "Order a stupid burrito and think about it later. Douche."
So alas, here I sit. I think what brought me to where I'm at is my little spat with The Ultimate over the past few months. You see, he doesn't like me. He thinks I'm "little" and "a fool" and so on and so forth. The usual stuff.
To recap quickly if you don't know: Back in August, Traber called out Nick Collison for liking Seattle and vowed to run him out of town. I said Traber was being an idiot. Traber actually admitted days later after Collison called he was probably wrong about the Collison thing, but yet, even though my column was saying exactly what he was now agreeing with, he was still peeved at me. That's the Ultimate way. Then he diverted attention by taking on Bill Simmons of ESPN.com because Simmons trashed the Thunder a bit by calling the team "Zombie Sonics" instead of its real name and also called Traber a moron for the Collison thing. Which if you remember right, Traber admitted he probably got carried away over. I said Traber was being ridiculous again and making OKC look bad. He flipped again.
This time, I guess he decided to fire up the wagon again and yell at Simmons for the same old things. And on top of that, he was going on about his whole "Russell Westbrook isn't a point guard and never will be" again. On Twitter I said he was being a little silly about it all. Traber, not understanding Twitter at all and the concept of re-tweeting or the "at" symbol, yelled about it all on the radio the next day, using words to describe me as once again "little" and "boy" and "fool" and "pathetic." He even pulled out this on Twitter:
"Very happy with my BB knowledge, played at a higher level than most. Definitely simmons and dailyboy."
Isn't he the best? Yeah, Traber played basketball at a high level. I'm thinking maybe he means he played a pickup game in Denver or something because surely he's not trying to call high school a "high level." He also went on to play the "mine's bigger than yours" card saying my site gets 200 hits a day while he has 60,000 listeners and his message board gets more than my "punky little blog". If that makes Trabes feel big, then go for it. I don't care.
But here's what frustrates me: Traber sees himself as this big (literally), bad, brilliant sports analyst and anything not sitting on his side of the fence is incorrect. And when you're on the other side you're a fool, you're little, you get yelled at and you never get to let your side be heard. Traber told someone I know that he'd never let my call get through because he thinks I'm in this for exposure. And yet, Simmons sees Traber as doing the same thing, but Traber calls Simmons scared. So what does that make The Ultimate if he won't hear from a little boy blogger? Poo in your pants, pass out, me-at-the-end-of-Paranormal-Activity terrified?
Anyway, my point is, why in the crap did I listen to all of this? Why do I care what some fat guy that played three years of professional baseball in Japan says? And why do you? It has nothing to do with sports. It has nothing to do with actual games being played. It has nothing to do with anything really. Probably 50 percent of Traber's show is spent yelling at someone. It makes for good radio because it's entertaining. But do I feel like a smarter sports fan as a result? Am I listening to gain knowledge from an insider so that I can relay that onto friends at a bar? Am I getting the scoop on big news? Or do I simply want to be entertained?
Because honestly, do you get anything out of what Al Eschbach says, other than feeling uncomfortable hearing him make some sexually charged joke? I do enjoy Mark Rodgers though because he speaks within himself, never gets too excited one way or the other and seems to genuinely want to talk about sports and not petty, stupid things.
I understand yelling is part of good sports talk radio. You let buffoon callers call in and they're going to say ridiculous crap. And therefore the host is probably going to blow up. It happens. It's the formula. But then again, is hearing some old guy that knows Cal Ripken talk about the Steelers third string fullback really better than music? Most of it isn't something you've thought of already and 90 percent of us are just going to argue back with no one instead of calling in, because honestly, what fun is it to call in when the host just talks over you the whole time? Unless of course you bow down to his position and give it up to him, then he'll call you "brother" and "my man" the whole time and you'll gain some odd sense of approval. It's how it works. Those are my favorite people "“ the Traber Suck Ups. The folks that want to be his buddy.
Most people understand you can't get anywhere calling people "moron" and "idiot" at every turn. Especially when you're just talking about something as simple as sports. I mean good grief, is yelling at a decibel only dogs can hear really worth it when we're talking about basketball? I just absolutely cannot wrap my mind around why I want to hear this. It's just four hours of total insanity.
ESPN has been running commercials promoting ESPN Radio and it's funny, because they're exactly spot on. Why would you listen to Jim Traber and Al Eschbach butcher Seinfeld lines, talk about things nobody understands and speak in tongues half the time, when you could get quality sports talk? Though I must admit, I do enjoy Berry Tramel running circles around Traber's brain. It's like watching a dog chase its tail.
Look, I'm not going to stop listening. I can't. I must have it. I must have my Big Dog Daddy and my "Dominant"¦. DUOOOOOOO" and all that crap. I've got to hear Dean the Stream. I have to have some Be Happy Friday music and Shaping the Minds. I don't know why. I DON'T KNOW WHY. I'm obsessed with sports and I need them so much in my life that I can't go five minutes driving in a vehicle without hearing someone opine on them. Even if that person is an absolute lunatic. It's a disease I think.
So I sit here asking myself why do I listen? And I have no answer. I have nothing. Kind of like George Costanza's rationale for why the show about nothing would work, we listen because it's on the radio. I guess right now I listen to see if he's going to smear my little name and talk crap about me like I'm Jenni Carlson's stepson.
She really should write something stupid soon. That always makes for good radio.