Considering where I am geographically, I am left to rely on blogs, the Team 1040, newspapers, carrier pigeons, smoke signals, Russian anti-tank dogs and whatever else I can find to keep me informed on the team and Vancouver in general. In regards to 1040, I am starting to wonder if this is a good idea or not.
Let me address the good first. I've grown to like Bmac & Rintoul although this took some time because Macdonald doesn't shut up (then again, it is morning drive and you need a mouth to keep talking so you ignore the fact you're enroute to a job you probably hate). I think they do a great job of recapping the games, addressing the Canucks’ strengths and weaknesses, and providing decent analysis of the rest of the league. They also get Nonis every week and Ferraro at times, both of which I enjoy; in contrast, they have Pierre "I love me I love me I love me don’t you love me?" McGuire on too often. All in all though, it's a good way to get your hockey fix fixed.
I’ve never heard Pratt and Taylor since I am usually gone by the time these guys take to the air. From what I can tell, many do not like Pratt because he’s either abrasive or simply narrow-minded. Again, I have no idea; if Pratt’s blog is any indication of his on-air product, I can understand the criticism. I still want to listen to an entire show one day so I can experience the fun for myself. Also, every so often I’ll hear Blake Price. I like his style too; why I don’t hear him on a more regular basis I don’t know.
Now, for the bad. Around 3:00 PM ET, you're treated to the Canucks Lunch with Rick Ball who talks like he's teaching a class in which the students are actively enjoying not paying attention to him; a less monotone version of Ben Stiller in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with the same gripping narrative. He also frequently takes long pauses during which I have to check if my stream crapped out. Nope, I’m just waiting for him to speak again while wasting airtime. OK, no sweat. Radio's tough like that.
In his infinite wisdom yesterday though, Ball decided to bash Eklund and bloggers as a whole. At one point he asked a caller if he could call down to his basement and see what rumors Eklund had, a weak joke if ever there was one. He would later explain that, because of Eklund, this is why no one takes the majority of blogs seriously and why the MSM deserves and is entitled to far superior credibility. (Unfortunately, he didn’t cite any statistical analysis or SPSS data to doublecheck this. I suppose I'll keep looking.)
I have no urge to revisit the anger some have towards Eklund since it's been well documented by folks funnier and more coherent then I. So if he wants to bash the Sportsnet fiasco, he can get in line. However, if Ball isn't on the ball enough (that pun alone has more humor then most of his commentary) to recognize the majority of blogs are from people like him who have (1) an affinity for a team or the sport and (2) an opinion, then that alone explains why so many blogs keep popping up. Hell, even though he hates the Canucks, I would gladly listen to someone like Tyler rather then most people I have to listen to in the MSM.
Go do your radio thing and pat yourself on the back, fine. But you're not infallible either, in fact far from it. You comment on the same inane rumors that originate or get repurposed on the same blogs you criticize. Bloggers (who do their writing out of passion not for want of a paycheck) can often gather, analyze and disseminate information more quickly and (ideally) accurately then you can behind your mic. In a perfect world, Ball would realize we’re all on the same page here. This isn’t rocket science and we’re not curing cancer; we’re all an informal family following grown men playing a child’s game who lose teeth and snap joints in the ultimate pursuit of a silver bowl to drink booze from. Eklund is his own monster, but to chastise the rest of us for being in basements like we're a bunch of clueless children and what we contribute to be on a similar level to that proves precisely why blogs are growing faster at the expense of the reliance of commentators such as yourself Mr. Ball.
One last thing: I realize, just by stringing these letters into words and eventual sentences and paragraphs, I am yet another one of those basement guys who doesn’t count. But it’s still my opinion and I apologize to Ball or anyone else who thinks that because I am not part of some club with a shiny badge that I’m not worthy enough to voice it.
That said, back to the basement I go...it's where the XBOX and fridge are anyway.