I’ve been accused this past week by the Austin American-Statesman’s Joe Gross of “taking shots at” his colleague, sports columnist / pop critic Michael Corcoran., a cynical claim that I take exception to. I’m merely trying to bring some of Corcoran’s more provocative musings to the attention of a national audience that might otherwise be deprived of his unique worldview.

Having already graced us with recent entries declaring soccer a bore, baseball plodding and what I’ll charitably call a tendency to take shots at Stephen A. Smith (previously compared to Eddie Murphy’s rags to riches character in “Trading Places”), in today’s “Game On”, Corcoran refers to Smith as “Stephen A. Sharpton”. This slur would make more sense if the Philly Inquirer scribe/ESPN yackster had ever been seen in a tracksuit or had encouraged Allan Iverson to crawl into a duffle bag covered in dogshit. Smith is guilty of many things, but looking/sounding/acting like Al Sharpton (or Eddie Murphy) aren’t among them.

(who’s afraid of a loquacious black man?)

Perhaps hoping to challenge George Carlin’s “Baseball & Football”, Corcoran again expands on the former’s monotony.

Some people kneel for the diamond, but then, some folks collect coins and sing “100 Bottles Of Beer on the Wall” on roadtrips. Baseball moves at about the pace of a Furr’s Cafeteria line during the early bird special, but purists embrace the tedium, heralding six straight foul balls as “a quality at-bat.” Nobody seems to think it’s ridiculous that a pitcher, who’s been warming up for 10 minutes to face one batter, continues to take enough practice pitches after being called in for the network to cut to commercial, invariably that “satisfying a late night slushy fix: priceless” one. Imagine if every time a new player came in at an NBA game they gave him a few free throws to warm up.

I follow baseball and have the gray index fingertip to prove it. But I just don’t have the three hours it takes for the game to produce seven minutes of action.

I can sympathize. Corcoran is obviously a busy guy (finding new ways to remind us that Stephen A. Smith is black must take up lots of time) and not everyone is blessed with my multitasking capabilities. While baseball’s detractors are staring slack-jawed at the screen, waiting for something to happen, here are just some of things I’ve managed to do.

1) answer MySpace mail from Dan Bunnybrain
2) shave my pubic region and Fed Ex the hair to __________.
3) call Fed Ex, try and get the package returned, mindful of the restraining order.
4) conduct an online poll, asking if Vlag Vikernes and Kerry King were both drowning and you could only save one of them, who would it be?
5) flip to another baseball game
6) read Michael Corcoran’s column / finish Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “Cancer Ward” (a very tough choice between the two)
7) get drunk.

When Steve Trachsel is pitching, you can add fornication, fixing a sandwich and building the world’s largest model airplane to that list.

I realize that baseball’s subtle charms are lost on some of you, and I’m well aware that my intellectual inferiors will continue to insist that college football — a militaristic way of glorifying the date rapists and insurance salesmen of tomorrow while exploiting them at the same time — offers more thrills. But for this correspondent, few things on this earth are as stimulating as watching Jose Reyes leg out a triple, Tori Hunter climb the fence or Dontrelle Willis emerge as the modern day Juan Marichal. Well, other than items 1-7.