Friday, March 07, 2008

In Praise Of: Britt Robson

In general, covering Minnesota sports is kind of thankless. Aside from the Twins, the gloriousness of the Twin Cities have not spread out into sports dominance with any regularity. When they do, they fall comically. Consider--the best Vikings team of recent memory losing the NFC championship on a failed (indoor) field goal. Consider the the University of Minnesota's Final Four run, later tainted by cheating scandals. The North Stars moving to Dallas. The Vikings almost getting shipped to San Antonio. The Twin almost obliterated by Bud Selig's bullshit. It is a tough beat.

Couple that kind of institutional ineptness with the kind of sportwriting that gets published in the major media of the Twin Cities. It is like a rogue's gallery of the lazy and comfortable--Patrick Reusse, Bob Sansavere, Sid Hartman, Jim Souhan, Tom Powers.

In this crucible of shit, if a sportswriter actually does good, it is worth noting. Britt Robson is one of those rare breeds of writers--he talks to ownership, but doesn't buy everything they are selling (ala Sid). Nor does he fulminate at nothing, just for the sake of being contrarian (see Sansavere and Reusse). He doesn't waste his time slagging sports he doesn't know or follow (Powers). Robson may throw in a joke or two at a player's expense, but he doesn't make it the focal point of an entire column (Souhan!).

So of course, Robson has been sweating his love of basketball and writing in the pages of free media. He first came to my notice as a writer for the City Pages. He dropped out of my radar for awhile, but he's now writing the definitive Timberwolves blog for the Rake. Read him here. I thought that I might be the first to sing his praises, but apparently Yahoo Sports beat me to it.

Whether you are a Timberwolves fans or not, read some of Robson's work. It sets the standard. Every city with a NBA franchise deserves a writer this passionate and knowledgeable.

Quick aside: the Yahoo story I linked to has one kind of unforgiveable opinion, stated as fact:

"an organization that blew the prime of one of the better talents in NBA history and one that appears to be mishandling a rebuilding effort in spite of being handed a 22-year old who can give you 20 and 10 in his sleep (but would prefer to give you 30 and 15 while wide awake). And yet, Robson's turning in game recaps and columns that burst with energy, insight and a deft touch that a scribe covering a 70-win team could only hope to approximate."

I agree with all of it, except for the mishandling of the rebuilding effort. Al Jefferson is supposed to score 30 every night? Ridding itself of mistakes like Corey Blount and Ricky Davis is mishandling? Trading Gerald Green for Kirk Snyder AND a draft pick is mishandling? (to be fair, that trade happened way after this article was written). Everything that this franchise has done in the last 6 months has been a good move. It may yet make up for 5 years of bad decisions.

But the point is--go Read Some Britt Robson.


Anonymous said...

I'm guessing the "mishandling" has to do with the Wolves insistence to play Al out of position at center. Not a smart move, and one that I hope ends very very soon.

Big Blue Monkey said...

Anonymous, I could not agree more that more Al Jefferson deserves to play the position that he is dominant at (particularly on offense). Throwing your best player in to guard guys 2-7 inches taller than him seems like a way of breaking him, not helping him.

I may be reading between your lines, and I think you are saying that you are rooting for a Lopez to be in Timberwolf colors soon. I'm of two minds about that, and while I've commented on my two minds (see the Kevin Love entry), I've never gotten around to blogging about it. Perhaps I should.