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, “T-MacNeedsCrutches.com”, 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.