Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Shocker! Herald even screws up Le Batard sabbatical story

What could possibly be more indicative of the longstanding dreadful Miami Herald website than their inability to break a story about one of their own well-known columnists?

When I do a Search for any item on/by Dan Le Batard, knowing that the Herald's awful Business section did a four-sentence note about his leaving the paper after May 15th on the bottom of Friday's newspaper, the website chooses the particular stories below (in that order) as the 12 they choose to show, or, that they don't mention the very one in the Business section AT ALL, even though that's the last time Le Batard's name was actually in the paper?

If the Miami Herald's website isn't THE worst newspaper website in the country, I don't even want to know who's worse than them, esp. for a paper of their circulation size.

(I know, I know, I'm repeating my train of thought from one of my South Beach Hoosier anchor comments, which remain at the top of the page to give people some bearings.)

As it happens, I went to Bob Norman's blog The Daily Pulp Thursday morning to see if there were any more reader comments about his recent post about Hallandale Beach and State Senator Steve Geller.

Quite by happenstance, I did so just a few minutes after he'd written a post on Dan Le Batard taking a break from the paper.

In fact, Norman's post is the one Romensko ran on Poynter Online
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2008/04/heralds_le_batard_vacating_spo.php

Below, the basic information that appeared on April 19th at 11 p.m., minus color and graphics.
http://pd.miami.com/sp?aff=101&keywords=Dan+Le+Batard&sNum=11&pubDate=&author=

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________________________________________
Of course, if you have an infinite amount of time, you can always go to the Herald website and refuse to use the Search function and simply click Business you'll get this link The Work/Life Balancing Act

It reads as follows: My goal is to help you manage the balance between work and your family and personal lives. I'll focus on creative solutions to conflicting demands, new strategies for helping people juggle responsibilities, and new trends and developments.

In case the link to the Le Batard piece above is dead, it's at
http://worklifebalancingact.blogspot.com/2008/04/lucky-dan-goes-on-sabbatical.html

Also, here's a link to a story on Le Batard's talented artist brother, David, whom he's bored
radio listeners for years about, recounting his brother's general ignorance of sports.
http://www.miamiherald.com/tropical_life/story/482569.html

Yeah, I get it already. (Actually, I got it a few years ago.)
Two brothers with very different interests.
But what's so funny about that?


If you want to know why I think this move of Le Batard's is years overdue, consider the very embarrassing Q&A that he did with Miami Heat owner Mickey Arison, linked above.

Once again, despite having the opportunity to be something other than a poodle, Le Batard never brings up the subject of Arison's failure to come through on the public promises that he and The Heat made prior to the voter referendum, to City of Miami and Miami-Dade County public officials and the general public as well -i.e. taxpayers- about a bayside public park being constructed next to the American Airlines Arena, once that was built, largely on the backs -greenback$- of the public.

(It's the same area the Bay of Pigs vets want for their museum.
http://www.miamiherald.com/top_stories/story/494687.html
http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2008/04/bay_of_pigs_museum_kinda_moves.php
Obviously, I'm in favor of a green park on the bay with no buildings.)

For the entirety of the four years that I've been down here, only Hank Goldberg has EVER
dared to publicly ask questions about this egregious broken promise, made by one of the wealthiest men in the United States.


While I lived in Washington for 18 years, but especially pre-Pardon the Interruption,
Le Batard was a frequent guest on Washington Post sports columnist Tony Kornheiser's
morning radio program on WTEM-AM -The Team- in all its various manifestations: stand-alone, as part of a very weird syndicate, and later as part of the ESPN Radio network.


I often taped Le Batard's appearances on my Sony radio/cassette recorder while at work, for play later in the day where I could really think about what he said without any distractions from clients, co-workers or whatever project I was working on.

Further, I usually bought the Herald 2-3 times a week at the newsstand next to the Farragut North Metro -just as I did the LA Times- usually on the days that Le Batard's columns appeared.

I usually enjoyed his radio appearances because of how often he brought up a South Florida sports topic, whether the U-M, Dolphins, Marlins and Heat, or speaking to the general South Florida belief that South Beach was a secret weapon for local teams, because of visiting teams' inherent immaturity.

But a funny thing happened once I was actually down here, reading all his columns and listening to his afternoon radio program on 790-AM, The Ticket from the very beginning.
Actually, it's not so funny.

I wondered where all the insight he'd previously shown had gone.

Upon closer examination, he became derivative and predictable, almost a caricature of a sports columnist.


I also began to wonder why I'd ever thought that someone who'd gone to the U-M but
NEVER really worked professionally more than 40 miles away from where he's gone to high school or college, could hope to have a real worthwhile national perspective.

Basically, Le Batard's shtick got old very quick.

Though I often ran hot and cold on Kornheiser's sports columns in the Post, on the radio, at least, his particular style became surprisingly comfortable for me, and he excelled in one area that Le Batard, in my opinion, never has mastered -not attempting to constantly upstage
a guest and get in the last word.

At least until after the commercial break and the next segment when he can be ripped.

Le Batard, whose radio show I stopped listening to last spring, after the umpteenth unfunny story about his brother the artist's not being very knowledgeable about sports, seems particularly tailor-made for a radio station that seemed full to the brim already with hosts with short fuses and specializing in passive aggressive chit-chat.

Sort of reminded me of a previous incarnation of 790, WNWS, when it was combative local politics all the time in the late '70's, with Neil Rogers, Al Rantel, Stan Major and a cast of callers that were always interesting to listen to.
Now that was radio worth listening to!

Some of you may recall that a few years ago, Le Batard insisted (for what seemed like an hour) that an upcoming interview he'd be doing with then-Marlin Miguel Cabrera would be done entirely in Spanish, just to prove, apparently, that American media and commerce was biased against Latin ballplayers by there not being more Spanish-language reporters or columnists in the locker rooms.

Insisting that Cabrera was really much more funny or smart or interesting in Spanish may've been something that a real friend of Cabrera's could attest to, but it seemed highly doubtful to me that someone with Le Batard's well-known baggage about race and nationality was the person to be running point on that proposition.
No sale!

(It was like a raised fist looking for the nearest face or wall to hit, and was a real low at a station that has had more than their share.
Last summer, a 790 sports host actually said on the air that the 2007 Yankees batting lineup was one of the greatest in the history of the sport.

A clever older caller -wish I knew who, so I could congratulate them- then called up and said with 100% accuracy that Connie Mack's immortal Philadelphia A's of 1928-1932 would've
toyed with the 2007 Yanks.
From what I recall, the 790 host acted like he'd never heard of the team, much less the players the caller threw out with glee, reciting their prodigious batting exploits.
http://www.philadelphiaathletics.org/index.html

I was laughing out loud so bad I was practically crying tears, because I knew that almost all of the players being named by the caller were eventual Hall of Famers or All-Stars of their era, even if the not-too-bright 20-somethings listening to the show in their car had never heard of them.
Naturally, after the caller got the better of the host, the caller got ripped by this New York partisan who'd been knocked on his butt.
And that was when I knew that 790 was dead to South Beach Hoosier.)

For other examples of Le Batard's oeuvre, see any of the following:
http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/04/08/espns-jay-bilas-and-dan-le-batard-get-into-it-over-race-in-bask/ , http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_8969122 or
http://www.fishstripes.com/2008/3/28/363371/radio%C2%A0radio

Awful Announcing blog chronicles the recent much-discussed Le Batard interview with ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas. http://awfulannouncing.blogspot.com/

The less said about The Ticket's huge (permanent) chip on its shoulder, once the Dolphins broadcasts rights went back to WQAM, the better.

Kornheiser's radio show always had on great regular guests with whom he developed a real rapport with, guests whom, even if I didn't personally care for, usually the golf writers, always held the possibility of being interesting, even if accidentally.

The result was that listeners often felt those guests were more forthcoming than perhaps was their original intent.

The various idiosyncracies of the individual reporters, columnists and coaches with whom Kornheiser spoke to regularly, started becoming as familiar to me as the very people I worked with or interacted with everyday: Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, Bob Klapisch of the Indy Star, Gary Williams at the University of Maryland, Seth Greenberg when he was at USF, Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, former coach Don DeVoe on the NCAA tourney brackets, et al.

Surprisingly, other than Michael Wilbon, other Washington Post reporters who appeared were absolutely dullsville, perhaps a result of their grasping just how popular Kornheiser's show really was in town, and not wanting to embarrass themself in such a way that they'd never hear the end of it.


I especially hated Rachel Nichols' appearances on 'Uncle Tony's' show, when she played the role of favorite fawned-over niece.

That was especially irritating for that long period of time when she was actually living up in New York while still supposedly being the Washington Capitals' beat reporter for the Post.

Her vapid reports on Wimbledon that seemed to be far too much on the Williams sisters and their awful fashion inclinations or their father's latest antics, were also regular low spots for his show.

I think she's very over-rated, and I usually grab the remote and put the TV on mute when I see her on ESPN these days.

One thing I can tell for sure, Le Batard could never have a scenario that Kornheiser once had in the '90's, when both David Halberstam and Dick Schaap came on the radio show to talk about their friend, Bobby Knight.

They spoke with some of the most penetrating insight into Coach Knight I've ever heard -and another of their pals, Ted Williams- and recounted some non-basketball conversations they had on their long walk with Coach Knight along the National Mall one night after IU had won an NCAA tourney game at the Verizon Center.

Even now, I could kick myself for not having had a blank tape in my Sony radio that March day,
then I'd have a record for posterity of their clever insight and anecdotes, which I'd surely have found a way to put on my South Beach Hoosier blog for all true IU fans to listen to.
----------------------------------------------------------------
Noticed while checking some NCAA lacrosse scores a few minutes ago on their website, that the Baltimore Sun's Ray Frager has weighed in on Le Batard announcement and future decreased workload:
http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/mediumwell/blog/2008/04/blog_at_your_own_risk.html

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