There is something about shitty sports writing that I find unforgivable. That is because it is so very easy to write an acceptable account of a sporting event. Great sports writing is difficult, and rare, like great writing of any category. Not everyone can be Shirley Povich, and I’m not expecting them to be. But for God’s sake – you go to the game, you watch the game, you write down what happens during the game, and you type it up. Throw in some relevant statistics, a post-game interview or two, and you’re done. It might not win you the Pulitzer, but those of us who don’t make it to the ballpark too often, and read the paper to see how the Suns are doing, will be happy.
Which brings me to Bob Parasiliti.
He covers the Suns, our Class A New York Mets affiliate Minor League team here in Hagerstown. No mere shitty local sports writer, Bob is tenaciously shitty. He plants his feet wide and holds out both arms and absolutely refuses to get out of the story’s way. Before he gives you the highlights of the ballgame, or in many cases even the score, Bob has to show you how witty he is. For example, from Monday’s edition:
The Hagerstown Suns were left for dead on Sunday.
The funny thing was they are the only suspects in their own demise ... and it wasn't for something the Suns did, rather for something they couldn't accomplish.
That’s from his recap of the game Sunday night, not his bi-weekly editorial. How about that opening line, eh? I can see him pecking those pudgy fingers against the keys as he wrote it, sweat beading on his forehead, mustache soaked with perspiration – “What a hook!” he exclaims to his wife or whoever the fuck. Check out that second paragraph. If William Strunk hadn’t been dead for sixty years, reading that sentence would set him hurtling toward the nearest full bathtub, hairdryer in hand. And hey, it ain’t every day you see an ellipsis used like that in a newspaper article. Who said it’s only for truncated quotations? Bob Parasiliti was born to shatter these tiresome conventions! More from the same story:
The Suns lost their third straight game to a Lakewood lefthander, this time Josh Outman, who struggled at the onset but found a rhythm to hold down Hagerstown for five innings while the BlueClaws built a 5-2 lead.
It might not have happened if the Suns had been able to rub out Outman when they had their chances in the first.
Not a thing wrong with that first paragraph. In fact, if he’d made that the introduction of the whole piece, I’d call that the beginning of a right respectable article. But he just can’t resist. The very next line he has to throw “rub out Outman” in there, in case we’ve forgotten in the five seconds just how goddamn funny Bob Parasiliti is! That’s one of the most exasperating things about Bob; if you read his work enough, you notice that he is capable of writing decent sports copy. In fact, the rest of the quoted piece is perfectly fine – no more lame-ass jokes, no convoluted sentence structure, just on-the-level journalism. The hitch is, Bob doesn’t see that as his job. Any competent reporter can do that; Bob wants you to know fucking well that he wrote it, so he’ll make sure those opening lines are smeared through and through with his musky stink. Try to avoid it by skipping ahead to the substantive part of the story, and Bob’ll cross his arms, stamp his foot, hold his breath until that blubbery, gargantuan head turns blue. It’s an amazing thing to behold on a sports page, I’m telling you. Now I always skip ahead, just so he’ll do it. It puts a smile on my face every time.
Seriously, though, I hate this fat motherfucker.