Prior to this season, Tracy McGrady (above, reading Sean Avery’s fanzine) missed 64 Rockets games over the course of 4 years. It’s a large sum considering how badly the franchise requires his services, so with this week’s latest malady, the Houston Chronicle launched “The T-Mac Injury Ticker”. Tracking McGrady’s games absent along with his per game & season “pay for no play”, the graphic was characterized by Deadspin’s Rick Chandler as part of “the journalistic no-man’s land between impartial reporting and the opinion page”.   The Fan House’s Tom Ziller wasn’t nearly as amused, however.

The whole thing’s a case of a newspaper trying to be cute and bloggy, but it just doesn’t translate when you’re dealing with such a large media presence. Even in this toned down state, it’s an insult to one of the team’s longest-tenured players. Mac had knee surgery a few months ago. How dare he claim soreness and sit out?!

Also, a double standard screams out. McGrady has averaged eight more games per season than Yao Ming over the last three years. Should I assume we’ll get a Yao injury ticker if he goes down? Yeah right.

Under the circumstances, a similar swipe at Yao when (rather than if) he’s hurt would be well in order.   The graphic is certainly unusual in such a mainstream context, but the Chronicle is in a daily battle for eyeballs with Ziller and Chandler’s sites. Had the ticker been the work of say, “”, it would’ve been showcased, if not applauded throughout the blogosphere.  If the journalistic mission of a daily newspaper precludes being a dick, never mind whoever came up with the ticker, there’s a number of print vets who oughta be taken to task as well.