29 June 2008

The prevent defense

I'm watching the Euro 2008 final as I type this, and I'm disappointed by what I'm seeing out of Spain. The Spaniards have been playing exciting, attacking soccer all tournament, and it's been effective for them; they haven't lost, have gone to penalties only once (against Italy, who slow games down to a crawl), and have generally been very impressive.

But now it's the final... and the Spanish team, after an initial burst of aggressiveness that netted them a first-half goal, have retreated into a defensive shell, barely pushing players forward even to counterattack and giving off the appearance of a team that is just trying to hang on.

Why? I don't know - they're talented, they're skilled, and they're very good at playing in their style. But now they're not playing in their style.

They're playing a prevent defense - a defense that traditionally prevents the teams that employ it from winning - and I'll be shocked if the Germans don't come up with at least an equalizer before regular time is out.

26 June 2008

So the Magic drafted Courtney Lee...

And across the country, a lot of casual fans (no offense to any of you) exhaled a collective "huh?" Lee played for Western Kentucky (not exactly a national power), in the Sun Belt conference.

He seems to fit the Magic's needs pretty much exactly - no team starting Maurice Evans at shooting guard and backing him up with Keith Bogans and J.J. Redick is going to make it very far in the playoffs.

Lee is a 6'5", 200 lb. shooting guard who was a reasonably prolific scorer for the Hilltoppers (and I didn't even have to google WKU to find out their mascot! Aren't I impressive!) who can shoot from medium and long range.

Just what the Magic needed - another shooter.

Seriously, though, Lee should be able to at least crack the rotation this upcoming year. I see him being a useful member of the team - not a starter yet, but a solid 8th or 9th guy who can play 15 or 20 minutes per game. As a senior, he's a bit more NBA-ready than some of the underclassmen the Magic could have picked, though his experience is somewhat offset by the diminished level of competition he faced.

My grade for the pick: B

23 June 2008

He's obviously learend his craft well

Yesterday, I exposed what I punningly termed "a Gross error" in a SportsIllustrated.cnn.com article on The Ultimate Fighter.

Today, I illuminate another error by the same author. In the very first subheader of this article, Josh Gross notes that Evan Tanner "learend his submission holds by watching VHS instructional videos."

This is, I believe, the first time that I've encountered two consecutive articles by the same author with two such egregious errors. Well done, Mr. Gross.

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21 June 2008

A Gross error

In the first sentence of a column ramblingly titled "Between viewers and fighters, T.U.F. chooses the former," that even-more-ramblingly and with a pitiful lack of persuasiveness argues that the quality of contestants on Spike TV reality show The Ultimate Fighter has declined because the show's producers have elected to focus more on television than on fighting, SportsIllustrated.com's Josh Gross commits what may or may not be a really terrible grammatical error.

"It's hard to believe more than three years have past since Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar lit up televisions across America during the finale of the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter."

According to Merriam-Webster, "past" can be used as either an adjective, a preposition, an adverb, or a noun, but not as a verb.

Thus: Gross is either a radically progressive neoliberal grammarian, or he has committed an error.

My vote: he's committed an error.

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20 June 2008

Thoughts on Croatia-Turkey and Euro 2008

(note: I'm writing a quick, stream-of-consciousness note so that I don't miss the ending of the match)

I've never understood those who say that soccer (or futbol, or football, if you prefer) is a boring game to watch on television. Watching the Croatia-Turkey match - one in which I have no stake whatsoever, given that I've never been to either country and am unfamiliar with the players for both sides - I've found myself drawn inexorably into the so-far-scoreless contest.

This match, and soccer in general, is a fascinating contest of skill, both strategic and tactical, played out at breakneck speed by some of the best-conditioned athletes in the world. Time after time, today, the Croats have pushed up the field, testing the Turkish keeper's limits; time after time, he's proven himself (albeit somewhat awkwardly at times) up to the task.

Perhaps it's the lack of commercial breaks that drives away typical American audiences? I'm not certain... because everything I'm seeing on this broadcast is really gripping television.

Back to the match, now that extra time has started! Have a great day, everyone.

17 June 2008

I completely agree

When I saw that Peter King's column today was little more than the transcript of the speech he gave at the Ohio University commencement ceremony, I felt a little cheated. Fortunately, I decided to read the column anyway in the hope of finding an error that would be suitable grounds for a post.

Fortunately, I say, because King, in part of his speech, made a point that I think is in many ways exactly what this blog is about. I'll copy and paste:

Lesson 3: Use spell check.

You know what bosses in the real world hate? Sloppiness. I had a journalism professor here, Dru Evarts, who had a rule in every one of her classes. Any paper you wrote for her would get an automatic F if there was one misspelling or one grammatical error. Experience was a painful teacher there, and some really good writers got Cs and Ds over the years in her class. Her theory was a good one -- there's never an excuse for submitting anything less than your absolute best. Now, with computers able to validate every apostrophe, there's really no excuse for you to send out a cover letter or résumé with even a minor mistake.

A couple of years ago, a young writer asked me to read one of his stories. I counted -- 14 errors. I emailed him back and said, "Don't waste your time trying to do this job until you have enough respect for your readers to spell 'thorough' correctly.'' Think of yourself as a boss. Why would you want to hire you? In this economy, you'd better be good -- and extremely conscientious.


I completely agree with Dr. King's point; while I've been a bit harsh on him in the past, he's earned my respect.

Not that I won't continue surveying King's articles with red pen in hand every Monday and Tuesday, ready to jump on any mistake and post a snarkily written response here - because I will. But, still - that's a good speech.

14 June 2008

Mr. Markazi...

SportsIllustrated.com's Arash Markazi is quickly becoming one of this blog's most-often-featured writers... and that increasing recognition is not a good thing. Last month, he was recognized for committing a grievous error, as he misspelled Manu Ginobili's name thrice.

Today, we honor him for two errors in a column written about Tim Donaghy's allegations of referee impropriety.

The first, on the first page of the column, indicates a humorous level of ignorance: Markazi notes that the group of which Kevin Modesti is a part "overseas nine newspapers, including the Daily News in Southern California."

Clearly, that conglomerate (the Los Angeles Newspaper Group) has powerful international connections.

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The second error, on the second page of the column, is a simple error, one which (in conjunction with the first eror) indicates that not only does the honorable Mr. Markazi lack vocabulary, he doesn't proof-read, either.

From the article: "Divac said, "Why don't they just let us know in advance?" Divac said half-jokingly."

Nice.

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12 June 2008

Both?

Apparently, Cleveland Indians catcher Victor Martinez is a rookie.

From the AP article detailing Martinez' impending elbow surgery, as posted on SportsIllustrated.com: "Martinez and second baseman Josh Barfield, just called up on Monday, were both placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday."

Perhaps it's not conclusive, but, at the very least, it's unclear.

Note: normally, I'd insert some sort of snarky comment at this point, but given that the Associated Press is a faceless entity, I don't know in which direction I should direct said comment. Also, it's late, and I've been cataloguing faults in dorm rooms, so my brain isn't fully functional at this point.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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11 June 2008

Shpeal?

I'd never heard of Nicki Jhabvala before this morning, but she apparently writes about video games for SportsIllustrated.com.

I'd never read any of Nicki Jhabvala's writing before this morning, but she apparently doesn't know how to spell the word spiel.

From Jhabvala's article Same King, Different Prizefighter: "In the way he finished all his thoughts that night, King reiterated his closing shpeal one more time."

Funny... I thought that professional writers were supposed to know how to spell words, or at least how to use spellcheck.

Is a shpeal what happens when a talkative person runs into a bell?

Just wondering.

09 June 2008

Carnell "Ford Probe" Williams coming back...

According to this article from NFL.com, Bucs RB Carnell (I refuse to call him Cadillac) Williams is on pace to return at some point during the 2008 season.

As much as I might cheer for the guy to get better after a major knee injury - you never want to see anybody hurt - I think that the Bucs might actually be a better team without him.

The young Mr. Williams has an annoying tendency to go for the long, highlight-reel run rather than simply taking what the defense gives him. This tendency results in occasional long runs, but it more often results in runs that gain little if any yardage and leave the Bucs trying to convert the kind of second- and third-and-long situations for which their offense is ill-equipped.

Earnest Graham is actually a better fit for the team's offense right now than is Williams. Graham isn't anywhere near as talented as is Williams, but he runs straight forward with power and gets positive yardage, leaving the team with manageable situations.

If the Bucs can get a reasonable offer (a second-round pick or a starting-quality CB or DT), I'd favor them trading Williams away. He's been a member of the team for a long time now, but he's just not a good fit at this point.

04 June 2008

Rex died with just his boots on

I remember back in College Composition 1 (a basic college writing course that I took... five years ago? Six years ago? Wow, but I'm getting old...) my professor took the sentence "Rex died with his boots on" and inserted the word "just" in various configurations.

Just Rex died with his boots on.
Rex just died with his boots on.
Rex died with just his boots on.

Today, ESPN the Magazine's Jorge Arangure Jr. took the word "not" and, albeit unintentionally, provided a similar illustration.

"Rarely does a Yankees regular-season game, at least not one against the Boston Red Sox, elicit such attention," Arangure writes - a statement which would lead most readers to assume that Yankes vs. Red Sox is a rivalry roughly on the scale of, (to use an analogy from the NHL), Coyotes vs. Lightning.

Nice work, dude. By misplacing one word, you've managed to not only completely change the meaning of your sentence, but also insult one of the biggest rivalries in American sports.

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02 June 2008

Such an excellent forecaset

Today's error: a simple typo, brought to you courtesy of ESPN.com's Tristan Cockcroft.

Cockcroft titles his article "Fantasy Forecaseter: Joba Chamberlain a two-start option."

I know it's just a single error, but still. A typo in the title?

Nice work, dude.

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