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Friday, April 20, 2007

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 4/21-22

All times PDT.

9:30-12 PM: NBA Basketball, New Jersey @ Toronto (ESPN). The NBA Playoffs begin and we probably feel too apathetic to care.

1-3:30 PM: MISL Soccer, Philadelphia @ Detroit (VS.). This is the championship game of a league you may well have never heard of. But they'll fight for it with all the guts they can scrounge up.

9-12:30 AM (both coasts): Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC 70 (SpikeTV). I said last week that the ratings for this could be the most pivotal sports ratings in years. I would be surprised if it failed to get at least a 2, which would put it above most tennis, the WNBA, MLS, Arena Football, non-NASCAR or Indy 500 racing, and even the NHL.

10-12:30 PM: NHL Hockey, Calgary @ Detroit (CBC/NBC). Yes, there is another playoffs going on. Is it not a crime that Versus is, at this point, showing ONE game a night (usually one CBC is also airing, so people who can get CBC don't get an alternate game, or in some cases, even an alternate production) on weeknights with three or four games? This is worse than the NBA shuttling games to NBA TV. Good job growing the game in this country, boys.

5-8 PM: MLB Baseball, NY Yankees @ Boston (ESPN). It's never too early to become obsessed about the Sox and the Yankees!

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm sickened by the incessant coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting story...

...but not because of the story itself.

Why is it that every time we have a story like this, we have to have non-stop 24/7 coverage of it? Why is it that news sources that have nothing to do with general news are covering it (and not even with a related angle)? Does it really matter, at least the way most news sources are covering it, to anyone outside the general Blacksburg area? Does it really deserve more than a single news story on a standard newscast and then move on? Could it be that, on some level, despite all we say about how "sickening" and "tragic" the story is, we actually enjoy listening to stories about it, that we take some sort of perverse pleasure in letting it distract us from our lives? Could it be that, on some level, we actually want to hear about tragedy? The ancient Greeks did spend much of their free time watching tragedies played out on the stage, and we do seem to value tragic plays and movies more than comedies!

On the other hand, we're already getting plenty of people moaning about not being able to comprehend "what could drive someone to do something like this." Would someone do me a favor and try to find out what would drive someone to do something like this? Because I have a feeling it would lead to some disconcerting conclusions about society, ourselves, American culture, the assumptions we make about people, and even the core of human nature.

The NFL schedule story no one's reporting on

I noticed something interesting about Year 2 of NBC's Sunday Night Football.

Not the introduction of Keith Olbermann to the studio show, but rather, something about the schedule.

It still consists of the first ten weeks being pre-assigned, while Weeks 11-17 are "flex schedule" weeks, with games being chosen two weeks in advance (one week in the case of Week 17). But last season, the primetime spot on the schedule was simply left blank for the flex weeks.

This year, the primetime spot actually has a game listed, even though it could still be moved to an afternoon spot to make room for a better game.

As I intend on prognosticating on what games will be shown in prime time in this space, that brings up a bevy of questions that I'm not finding the answers to. Will CBS and Fox be able to "protect" the game listed in late night and keep it in the afternoon, or indeed, will they still be able to protect games at all? How closely will NBC hew to the game chosen for late night? Will a game have to be a complete dud for NBC to move away from it, or is the game just a placeholder for something close to the status quo last season, when NBC chose the games it thought best given the restrictions they had to work with (though they seemed to have certain perplexing biases, and choosing Packers-Bears Week 17 seemed to defeat the purpose of moving games only one week prior)?

All of a sudden, I'm dazed and confused and don't know where to go.