Yesterday’s 30-3 rout of the hapless Baltimore Orioles by the normally equally-hapless Texas Rangers inspired ESPN Page 2 writer David Schoenfield to compile a rundown of the greatest shellackings in history. Yes, the infamous 2000 NFC Championship game, which saw the Vikes losing 41-0 to the Giants, made the list – but only placed 6oth (it’s a top 100; this Schoenfield dude needs a girlfriend). Number 1 is Secretariat destroying the field in the 1973 Belmont Stakes; Number 2 is Tiger annihilating all competition in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach; and Number 3 is the 1940 NFL Championship game, which saw the Bears killing the Redskins 73-0 (I think Joe Gibbs was just starting out in coaching then, wasn’t he?). Schoenfield gets a bit goofy with it though – 14 is Sonny at the Tollbooth (“Look what they did to my boy.”); 44 is The Playoffs vs. Marty Schottenheimer (could’ve almost as easily been “The Playoffs vs. Dennis Green”); and 51 is The Ice Age over the Dinosaurs. Um – the Ice Age killed the dinosaurs? I thought it was that the dinosaurs got too big and ate all their food, then were finished off by the big meteor that hit off what is now the Yucatan Peninsula? This Schoenfield character learned paleontology by watching One Million Years B.C. I think. The only thing I learned from that movie is that cavewomen shaved their legs.
Schoenfield spices up his piece by providing some nice YouTube links. It’s fascinating to watch the Secretariat one – you realize how spartan TV coverage was then compared to now, and begin to suspect that part of the reason sports like boxing and horse racing are dead today is that TV just doesn’t do a good job of capturing their drama anymore. TV presentations are too busy now – they replace the inherent drama of sporting events with a lot of phony excitement and graphics and punchy baloney. That’s why I sort of enjoy watching The Masters every year – they still keep it relatively simple and dignified there, though it is insufferable hearing Jim Nantz say “A tradition unlike any other” fifteen-hundred times an hour.
Another great clip linked to by the ESPN piece is Mike Tyson’s destruction of Michael Spinks (the whole fight – it only lasted 1 minute and 30 seconds after all). Gosh, remember when we used to get to watch fighters like Tyson on TV, before the fight game sold out to pay-per-view? Now the only boxing I watch is old Ali fights on ESPN Classic. And the occasional scene in some old film noir where Robert Ryan or someone is a fighter who owes money to the mob.