May 13, 2014 at 11:48 PM by Dr. Drang
Time was when the sports section had the best writing in the paper. I don’t want to wallow in nostalgia, but I can’t imagine Roger Kahn writing anything like this:
[The Minnesota Wild are] trying to become the first NHL team to force consecutive Game 7s in the same postseason without holding a series lead since the New York Islanders in 1987.
Can you come up with a weaker sentence, or a less impressive “statistic”? Not only does every qualification—consecutive, same postseason, without holding a series lead—weaken this “first,” but the final clause wipes it out entirely. It’s become virtually impossible to read a sports article or watch a game without encountering this kind of flabby nonsense.
I’m sure many will say this crap is only to be expected when computers and number crunching invade sports. There’s some truth to that. These obscure facts weren’t available a generation ago, but still, it’s not right to blame this on the sabermetricians. They’re trying to dig out facts that explain the games, not load us down with inanities.
No, I blame it on writers and announcers who don’t understand the quantitative approach to sports but know it’s in. I’d rather they go back to “points on the board” and “one game at a time.” At least that sort of tedium has tradition behind it.