From Daily Mail UK
As much fun as sports blogs are, most of us don’t do any real reporting. We rely in large part on working journalists (and no, I don’t mean Stephen A.) to provide the straight news and content that we can then distill into slanderous half-truths and mockery fuel. (The rest of our content we just rip off wholesale from YouTube.) Everyone has a role in today’s digital media; the journos are like the wise farmers carefully tending to their wheat and hops in the field, and we’re like the
crime syndicate brewery that takes those noble grains, pisses on them, and sells the run-off as Steel Reserve.
The point is that we need journalists. Sure, we kid them, but they’re giving us the news that we need in order to engage in ill-informed sports banter. At the core of sports reporting, of course, is the idea that it is just that: reporting news events to a public that needs to be informed about news. And just like CNN doesn’t have to pay the Kucinich campaign to let Candy Crowley eat danishes while taking notes on the Keebler Elf’s latest speech about stardust vistors from the fifth dimension, sports journalists have never needed to pay sports teams or leagues for the privilege of reporting on their games.
Hell, even Mariotti gets a press pass allowing him to enter Soldiers Field without paying Da Bears or the NFL. And the same goes for the infinitely more talented Sun-Times news photographer who allows us to witness gritty, timeless images of triumph and defeat like that seen on the right. Honestly, could we truly appreciate the magic that is Rex Grossman without having seen him violated by a Packer? No, my friends, we could not. We simply could not understand his greatness without having viewed that picture. And we owe it all to a news photographer.
Unfortunately, the basic journalistic right of news photographers to document sporting events without having to pay off sports league suits may be in peril. The douches at Cricket Australia want to require photogs to pay a licensing fee to the organization in exchange for their press accreditation. In essence, they are requiring journalists to pay for the right to cover news. The response of the major news agencies has — understandably — been to boycott coverage of the current Test series between Australia and Sri Lanka. Why in god’s name, they ask, should we pay to gather news? After all, it would set a terrible precedent. Yet Cricket Australia is persisting in its attempt to squeeze every dollar, pound, rand, and rupee out of the game, and AFP, Reuters, and the AP are continuing to boycott the Tests.
“Reuters remains adamant on its right to distribute sports news pictures freely,” Monique Villa, the managing director of Reuters Media, told Reuters. “I met with Cricket Australia last Sunday in London and nothing has really changed. They want to control our news and who can receive it, which is totally unacceptable.”
The biggest losers, of course, are that sorry number among us who happen to be cricket fans. And unforunately, it appears that the greedheadedness might not be limited to CA — the BCCI, India’s governing cricket board, apparently is as short-sighted as the Aussies. Which goes to prove the old axiom — if the BCCI supports you, you know that you’re wrong.
Lest you think that “it can’t happen here,” remember that Bud Selig and Gary Bettman bow to no one in their short-sighted pursuit of cash. Unless this is nipped in the bud Down Under, I fully expect that the American sports leagues are goling to begin charging journalists for the right to report sports news. And when that happens, instead of seeing glorious full-color pictures of Sexy Rexy being sodomized on the cover of USA Today, we’re likely to see a lot of notices like this:
Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Well, we did tell you that the Lankan attack was brilliant and lethal. And we told you that the Lankans would win, because their class would differentiate them from a rather plain, if very talented and consistent, New Zealand side. But we had no idea just how dominant the victory would be, as Sri Lanka won by 81 runs. After losing two wickets — Jayasuriya and Sangakkara! — relatively early, Mahela Jayawardene built a remarkable innings, scoring 115 off 109 balls, and powering his side to an imposing 5/289. The Kiwis never had a chance chasing that kind of target — not when Murali, Malinga, and Vaas were in such fine form.
The Deuce staff apologizes for its weeklong absence. Suffice it to say that we simply didn’t have time to blog, given that we were spread across the planet on critical missions. One of us was called in to work on a top-secret investigation in the Caribbean — and Mustafa’s remarkable knowledge of snake venoms has never been of such practical use. The Code Monkey was meditating with Agent Zero and Caron Butler in Cleveland, in a futile attempt to hypnotize them into playing shape. And I was in Dehli, seeking to thwart the most brazen attack on the people of the Indian Subcontinent since the Sino-Indian War.
So the World Cup semifinals start in about two minutes, and I’m sure you’re waiting for the Deuce’s official predictions before you head over to Bet 365. Well, here you go:
Tuesday: Sri Lanka v. New Zealand at Sabina, Jamaica
Prior to the tournament, I predicted that Sri Lanka would join Sethaffrika and Australia in the semis. I didn’t see New Zealand making it — though their attack was undeniably strong, I couldn’t imagine that the batting would be consistent enough to make it through the Super 8s. Of course, I didn’t imagine that India would shit the bed in such spectacular fashion.
But the Kiwis have been consistently excellent, with Scott Styris the anchor of the batting, and Shane Bond leading an attack that has performed even better that one could have expected at the beginning of the tourney. And as many have noted, the fast, hard pitch of Sabina — denuded of the grass that so flummoxed Pakistan against Ireland — will be fun for Bond. But it’s going to take more than Bond to beat Sri Lanka, because Sri Lanka aren’t just consistent. They’re brilliant. The varied attack — with the conventional pace of Vaas, the freakish deliveries of Malinga, and the genius of Murali — complements a strong batting order. In the end, while NZ is a very good team, SL is a special team. They just have the extra intangibles necessary to win a match between two talented sides. SL by 45 runs.
Wednesday: Australia v. South Africa at Gros Inlet, St. Lucia
When de Villiers and Smith were at something like 0/130 (and batting ahead of the required run rate) against Australia in late March, they really had a chance to beat the champs. Then they lost a cheap wicket, and collapsed in a mire of Jacques Kallis cautiousness. They won’t come nearly as close this time, as the Aussies have just kept improving, and as the Saffers attack lacks the variety to really trouble the Aussie bats. As obnoxiously arrogant as they may be, Ponting and his boys will cruise to a fascinating matchup with Sri Lanka on Saturday. Australia by 5 wickets/75 runs.
For reasons we can’t begin to understand, we received the following note from Shane Watson this evening. The opinions contained therein are entirely his.
Oi. Shane here. I’ve had a decent amount of time on my hands lately, what with my wonky calf. And while I’m getting buff for my big return — watch out, Lankans! — you can’t spend all your time in the nets. Or in the weight room. The mental training is important, too. Least that’s what Punter says. Me, I’d rather be lifting. Can’t stay fit unless I add 30% more mass. But you gotta keep Skip happy.
So I’ve been relaxing. Drinking Red Stripe and reading the blogs in the baths at the Cricket Australia 3 Mobile/Victoria Bitter ICC World Cup Training Facility. Men sauna in corporate sauna, I guess. That’s what Punter always says. Not sure waht it means. But whatever. Anyway, Punter reco’ed that I read the blogs while I took the treatment. Said they keep you angry. They just confuse me, though.
For example. These knobs keep harping on me just because I’ve had a string of bad luck. Folks don’t seem to care that I’m out of the XI. But all these bloggers can’t say enough about that pretty boy Boer AB De Villiers. Guy doesn’t even have a proper name. Like Shane. Or Mike. Or Steve. Aussie names, mate. Strong. Relentless. I mean, I work my abs as much as my lats or quads. But I don’t need to name myself after them. That’s crass.
Anyway, this AB is the darling of the bloggers. “Achingly talented.” Whatever. It’s funny. What these bloggers don’t get is that the Saffers would have beat us a couple weeks ago thanks to Baby AB if it weren’t fo me. Yeah, me. Because AB was having the best innings of the bloody World Cup before I threw him out. From 40 meters. Long leg. One stump to hit from long leg. And I did it. If I didn’t do it, AB wasn’t getting out. No way. Would’ve been not out for 250. Those bloggers are right. The guy is all that. AB is the best young player out there. ‘Cept me. Cause I got him. Me. Shane.
Right. So don’t forget it. You need me, Oz.