Saturday, January 9, 2010

The history site with a vague understanding of historical events

Does it seem like 12 years ago already that Mo Vaughn pleaded not guilty to drunk driving charges? I thought it was only eight or nine years ago - 10 at the most - but, no, it was 12.

That's according to the always intriguing website, which lists famous sports events that occurred on every day of the year, although the site does not appear to adhere to a strict definition of the word famous.

Here are some other events for January 9:
1942- Joe Louise KOs Buddy Baer in 1 for heavyweight boxing title.
1953- Bevo Francis, Rio Grande College, scores 116 points in basketball game.
1962- NFL prohibits grabbing of facemasks.
1984- Braves pitcher Pascual Perez is arrested for cocaine possession.
1990 - Jim Palmer and Joe Morgan elected to Baseball Hall of Fame.

The entire list for that day is an odd collection of misfits, a dozen events awkwardly grouped together and forced to mingle. So two of the best in Major League Baseball History, Morgan and Palmer, share the stage with Pascual Perez's arrest for cocaine possession, giving further credence to the idea that possesses a moralistic side that enjoys shining the spotlight on all who stray outside the law. Get caught druggin' or drinkin' and drivin' and you will be immortalized on Today in Sports History.

At the same time the site ignores events that actually were, well, historic. On January 9, 1972, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, ending the Lakers' record 33-game winning streak. That mark remains one of the most famous in NBA history, but wasn't quite impressive enough to merit inclusion on todayinsport, although the site does note that in 1987, "Sir Rudolph Bing (of NY Met Opera) marries Lady Carroll Douglass." And who doesn't remember that pairing?

The idea that Today in Sports History possesses a schoolmarmish side is further bolstered by the fact it neglects to note the antics of Randy Moss five years ago on a cold day in Green Bay. Moss's "disgusting act" isn't mentioned on the site. While Perez and Vaughn's run-ins with the law earn them a note, I think Moss got a pass because he didn't really receive any punishment, something Today in Sports History can't abide. The site doesn't want to give attention to the bad apples, unless they've earned an official punishment that perhaps involves the phrase two-to-five. Yes, Joe Buck and other pundits condemned Moss - and they in turn suffered the condemnation of many who were sick of the over-the-top condemnations announcers engage in - but he escaped justice. And therefore, escaped the not-quite-all-seeing eye of

Reading the site, a fan might get the idea that January 10 was one of the least-inconsequential days in sports history, as an event like "NFL Pro Bowl: N Conf beats A Conf 27-7" in 1953 makes the grade (the site doesn't always have the patience to type out entire words), as does Petra Schneider's inspiring world-record performance in the 1500-meter freestyle in 1982.

Again, though, there was an event that day in 1982 that some might argue should have been mentioned ahead of Schneider's swim, even if everyone in Dallas wishes the game had been whitewashed from the books.

On January 10, 1982, Dwight Clark made a catch that is so famous it became known simply as The Catch, and no one's ever confused it with any other grab. Not only did the play send San Francisco to the Super Bowl, it set the stage for the birth of a 49ers dynasty that would last for nearly 15 years, while also beginning the long decline of the Cowboys. But to the strict gatekeepers of, you have to do more than that, preferably something involving narcotics or a rule change.

I'd speculate that Today in Sports has a bias against the NFL, but that's hard to do when it lists the results of a Pro Bowl, the one game that always manages to make preseason football look like a life-or-death struggle.

That's not to say the site doesn't offer some fascinating tidbits that no one but the original participants would ever remember. For instance, on January 11, 1954, everyone's favorite commie-hater, J. Edgar Hoover, declined a six-figure offer to become president of International Boxing Club. Ric Flair won the NWA heavyweight title on January 11, 1991. That makes the site. Whooooooooooooo. The sites loves rule changes, Pro Bowls, swimmers and sinners.

But figure skating remains its true obsession. Dick Button might very well ghostwrite for the site, which appears obsessed with the results of every figure skating competition throughout time, events many sports fans only think about every four years. But the site will always make note of the accomplishments of Dorothy Hamill, Brian Boitano or Michelle Kwan. Today in Sports History is no doubt gearing up the database for the results from the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

It's Today in Sports History, although if the site was being completely accurate with its title, it'd throw quotation marks around the words sports and history.


Anonymous said...

Joe Buck should not pontificate from the broadcast booth the way he did on the day of the Moss incident. His partners that day - Aikman and Collinsworth - knew exactly what Moss had done and why. Apparently there is a tradition of Packer fans mooning the opposing team bus, which both Aikman and Collinsworth knew and understood. And if Moss had ACTUALLY mooned the crowd then Buck could have been upset and rightfully so. But otherwise SHUT UP and let the pros analyze the game. Bevo Francis??? Really???

Anonymous said...

Hi! Great idea, but will this really work?