Sports Rants 101, from the founder of the snarky blog Deadspin.com.
Freelance writer Leitch brings his Deadspin vibe offline in a collection of essays breathlessly spewing vitriol about everything that bothers him regarding the games he ostensibly loves. Former big-league pitcher/racist John Rocker is a jerk! The sports media is annoying! Owners are money-grubbing a-holes! Sure, once every few chapters he has something nice to say—he has a soft spot for Washington Wizards goofball Gilbert Arenas, for instance—but for the most part he barrages the reader with anger and negativity. Approximately 90 percent of the book is a tongue-not-quite-far-enough-in-cheek dissection of everything that’s broken in big-time sports, but Leitch isn’t particularly eloquent when it comes to talking about what he likes. If the players are such prima donnas, and the owners are so greedy, and the media constantly gets on his nerves, why does he even pay attention? Leitch’s disdain for ESPN is especially tiresome. It’s quite all right to discuss how much he hates practically all of the network’s talking heads—he’s entitled to his opinion—but whether this merits 50-plus pages is seriously questionable. The entire book reads like a blog, and blogs are time-sensitive to the point of being disposable within days. So what does that tell you?
Shaking a fist at the sports establishment may work online, but Leitch’s frequently tedious, only periodically amusing manifesto loses something in its translation to the page.