Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Clueless, Baseless Bayless

Last week I wrote that the national media had gotten a little out of control when discussing the Steelers success to date. And as is usually the case in these very general feel-good stories, the author makes sure to qualify his remarks with something like, "...but watch out because Team X is primed for a letdown and Team Y might be the team to do it..." (even if Team X is 7-1 and Team Y is 3-5).

Well, that's exactly what happened last week when Pete Prisco wrote the following:
"Two things to remember, however: The (Steelers) were at home for both games and, despite all the hype, their quarterback is still a rookie. A rookie-type game is coming. It's inevitable. It happens to all rookies at some point, a game with forced passes, bad reads and uncertainty. Ben Roethlisberger is special, but it will happen. Take that to the bank. Nobody is immune from it. And when it does, the Steelers will lose. Word of warning: Watch out in Cleveland this week."
At the time I mentioned that the good news for Prisco was that if the Steelers continue to win, he can keep reusing his "primed for an upset" paragraph until it actually happens, and then say, "See, I told you to watch out!"

Well guess what Prisco wrote in his column this week?
The Steelers are [at the top] of the rankings, looking down at the league for a second consecutive week. But a word of warning:

Watch out for the Bengals.

Yes, I mean it, although this Steelers group is starting to have the look of something special.
To be fair, Prisco also admitted that his prognosticatory skills were lacking when he warned us about a Browns upset, and he at least deserves some credit for being forthright (and a little funny):

I was wrong.

There, I said it...The Pittsburgh Steelers fans know the wrong I'm talking about, and I'm sure they'll let me know about it. This column last week came with a warning for them and their team to watch out for the Browns.

What I really meant was in the pregame warmups.
Now, if only Pete Prisco would talk to Skip Clueless Baseless Bayless about taking responsibility for writing incendiary stories without the benefit of facts, the world would be a much better place.

To me Skip Bayless is Mark Madden nationalized, but without the benefit of the fat phantom's wit (and I'm being facetious here). Bayless' latest steaming pile of crap is so ridiculous that he makes Madden look like William Safire. He writes about how (new) former Dolphins head coach Dave Wannstedt is a "born loser" and probably never really had a shot at being successful in Miami:
“Dave Wannstedt was never cut out to be a head coach. Now, I’m not even convinced he was anything special as a defensive coordinator…It wasn’t that Dave was a bad coach. But he definitely was a bad-luck coach. Jimmy (Johnson) is one of the luckiest people I’ve known…Jimmy was a born winner. Dave had some born loser in him.”
Of course, Bayless makes no mention of the fact that Wannstedt had a running back posing as a Rastafarian quit during training camp to become a Lenny Kravitz (Lenny Kravitz? You'd have to be high) groupie; David Boston, the only receiver to weigh 400 lbs and run a 4.3-40 (without the aid of any illegal substances -- at least to hear him tell it), also went down in preseason. Couple that with some injuries on the defensive and offensive lines, and at the backup running back position, and you'll get a 1-8 start.

Bayless also neglected to mention that Wannstedt won 11, 11, 9 and 10 games in his last four seasons with Miami -- which is pretty good for "someone not cut out to be a head coach," or who's a "born loser." And as long as we're talking about Jimmy Johnson being one of the luckiest people Bayless has known (I wonder how Johnson views his relationship with Bayless), here's something worth noting:

In 1989, Johnson's first year with the Cowboys, they were 1-15. Of course Bayless doesn't mention this because it's (a) a fact, and (b) would detract from his blindsiding of Wannstedt.

This is the worst kind of journalism imaginable. As hard a time as I give Madden, he occasionally makes sense (it's a rare occasion, but still); Bayless is an idiot in print and only outdoes himself with his PTI guest appearances. Why he works for ESPN only reaffirms to me that the network is more interested in making money than being good at what they do (is it impossible to do both?). I have a hard time listening to Stuart Scott, but compared to dopes like Bayless and Screamin' A. Smith (who ESPN thought so much of, they used him to replace the best NBA guy they had, David Aldridge), he's Walter Kronkite.

What's really funny is that due to public outrage, ABC (who owns ESPN) had to issue a mea culpa yesterday in the wake of the whole MNF intro - partial nudity stuff. If the public wants something to be outraged about, it should be the fact that Skip Bayless has a job that entails writing stories that defame people's character. And what really is bothersome about this whole thing is that I don't even like the Dolphins and never really cared about Wannstedt one way or the other. But if Bayless had written this story in February or March, it'd be a lot easier to take him seriously (or at least for the story to be credible); as it stands, all he's done is impugn Wannstedt's character. What a jerk.