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So Much Raging Bull
CHRIS BALLARD
December 14, 2009
So let me get this straight. Tiger Woods—lord of the back nine, toothy pitchman, total control freak—turns out to be the newest character in a Desperate Housewives fantasy sequence, and some people say they aren't one bit curious? You know, those high-minded sports fans who've been chastising rubberneckers and the media for not averting their eyes from this twisted saga.
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December 14, 2009

So Much Raging Bull

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So let me get this straight. Tiger Woods—lord of the back nine, toothy pitchman, total control freak—turns out to be the newest character in a Desperate Housewives fantasy sequence, and some people say they aren't one bit curious? You know, those high-minded sports fans who've been chastising rubberneckers and the media for not averting their eyes from this twisted saga.

Well, with all due respect to you supposed abstainers from Tigergate, I'm calling bulls---.

That's right, I call b.s. on your posturing. Because if you're not at least a little bit fascinated, then you're not human.

In fact, it's high time to call b.s. on lots of stuff in sports. It's the rare precinct in which we're encouraged to be ourselves, unburdened by the solicitousness and the affectations of polite society. In sports there should be no equivalent of obscure indie rock bands people say they love but never listen to, or Stephen Hawking books that are displayed yet never opened. No, this world is about winning and losing and loving and hating. This is no place for pretense.

So for starters, I call b.s. on Red Sox Nation. You are not a "nation." Your fandom and your suffering is no more or less important than anyone else's. To insinuate so is to insult all of us who passionately follow our teams. No, at best you are a province. Please stop migrating.

Next up: self-described experts. Yeah, you, the people who won't shut up about the Cover Two, I'm calling b.s. Here's a pad of paper and a pen. Diagram the defense for me. And while we're at it, you can explain exactly how the NBA salary cap works, since you're always spouting off about the luxury tax and a free agent's Bird rights. Really, I can wait.

Let's not limit this to the big three sports, though. To those soccer aficionados who follow the Premier League and obsess about the World Cup draw and heap scorn upon the heathen who keep the "beautiful game" from flourishing in the U.S., I call b.s. Because, guess what: If you want soccer to succeed in this country, you have to actually, you know, support it. And that means attending MLS games, or at least watching them. So just own up to it already—you love soccer ... just not all soccer. There, now don't you feel better?

Same for all the well-meaning guys who will tell you, at great length, how they appreciate the WNBA. The ball movement! The unselfish style of play! The role models it creates for young girls! Well, if you adore it so much, let me ask you this: When was the last time you bought a ticket? Or watched a Sunday game on ESPN2? Better yet, how about you just name all the teams.

Moneyballers, come on down, because I'm calling b.s. Not on the stats revolution (valid) or Billy Beane (ahead of his time) or even the measures themselves (OPS is pretty damn useful). No, I'm talking about the holier-than-thous who profess to prefer a game predicated on driving in runs with walks, never stealing bases and acquiring a fleet of Scott Hattebergs. The ideas may have been enlightening, but we all know that when it's late at night and no one's around, you revel in watching Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval bushwhack his way on base and Rays outfielder Carl Crawford swipe second and third. You know why? Because sports aren't homework; they're entertainment.

Hell, as long as we're doing this, let's not limit it to fans. I'm calling b.s. on all-star games, all of them. They're not "celebrations of the sport" but meaningless marketing exhibitions. Thursday night football? Watching the NFL draft? Talking wistfully about keeping score at baseball games? That's b.s., b.s. and b.s. Be honest: When was the last time you used a stubby pencil to scribble a 6-4-3 double play? Yeah, probably about the same time you last bought Cracker Jack at the park. (And while we're at it, b.s. to candy caramel popcorn nostalgia too.)

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