CJ Sports Editor Replies To Reader

Eric Crawford may be one of the best sports columnists to ever write for the Courier-Journal so any criticism of the CJ here really doesn’t apply to him.

That out of the way, the observer abhors giving the local newspaper more exposure, but sports editor Harry Bryan did respond to one of our readers about the lack of coverage of the University of Louisville baseball team this past weekend. Thanks to Ron T. for providing a copy of Bryan’s response:

“Thanks for the e-mail. I am sorry you were unhappy with our coverage of the U of L baseball team this weekend. We did provide coverage, although we do not travel with U of L non-revenue sports teams in the regular season.

“However, we certainly haven’t been ignoring the team. U of L baseball has been on the front page four times in the past two weeks, and as the team heads into the postseason, you’ll be seeing more. We had two writers at practice today working on stories in advance of the Big East tournament. We will carry results from the tournament and we will pick up the pace in the NCAA tournament.

“I realize that U of L baseball is picking up a following, and it is certainly deserving. Coach McDonnell has done a great job there, and our increased coverage over the past few years is a reflection of that. However, our coverage is based at least partly on fan interest, and attendance figures indicate to me that there is still some progress to be made in that area before we start increasing staffing even more.

“The fact is that U of L spring sports in general are much improved — we also have a track story planned for later in the week looking ahead to the NCAA meets — and we look forward to increasing our coverage as the teams continue to improve and build even stronger fan bases.

Thanks again for writing.”

Harry Bryan
Sports Editor

No Apologies For Courier-Journal Slight

Someone in the Courier-Journal sports department owes Dan McDonnell and his University of Louisville baseball team an explanation, if not an apology, for ignoring the biggest sports story in town in the Sunday edition.

U of L wins the regular season Big East Conference title, chalks up the most regular season games ever with 46 victories, and is the first team ever to sweep a Big East series at Notre Dame. The team is ranked among the nation’s top 10 and is on track for its highest seeding ever in the NCAA tournament. Big news in college baseball circles.

CJ sports editor Harry Bryan — or whoever was sitting in for him Saturday — apparently didn’t consider it very newsworthy. Nothing on the first page of the CJ sports section, nor on the second, third, fourth or fifth pages.

One finally finds a mention, not a story, consisting of two paragraphs on page six, sharing the space with two paragraphs about a Kentucky win over Georgia.

Uh, Harry, what’s up with that?

Bryan would probably respond that college baseball is not a big deal in a basketball state in a display of arrogance that local readers have come to expect. Or he might remind us of how short-staffed the newspaper is these days.

Not buying it, Harry, not when you can send someone to an NBA camp in Chicago to interview a basketball player who left U of L two seasons ago. Or see columnist Eric Crawford trek to Owensboro for a piece on Kentucky Wesleyan’s basketball tradition, old news even for a KWC alumnus. And how does the Indianapolis 500, an event scheduled a week from now, mean more to local readers than a Louisville milestone?

Obviously someone is badly out of touch with the local readership. That should come as no surprise to people so accustomed to the CJ sports department’s disregard for the local audience. The apathy goes back several decades, with the CJ bending over backwards to pacify readers in places like Irvine or Hazard over Louisville readers.

One is tempted to apologize to Dan McDonnell’s team for Harry Bryan’s decision-making skills and the CJ’s lack of coverage of a significant news event. But we won’t because they would never ever acknowledge the shortcoming themselves.

Small wonder readers are turning to the Internet for news the local newspaper will not provide.

(Harry Bryan has been sent a link  to this post, providing him with an opportunity to respond.)

Pitino Gives Details Of Sypher Affair To Police

The only good thing about this basketball news it that the story didn’t break on the Thursday before the University of Louisville’s football opener, as many big basketball stories have in the past.

Andrew Wolfson of the Courier-Journal has finally broken the story on Rick Pitino’s involvement with Karen Sypher from Pitino’s interview with the Louisville Metro Police. The C-J story, pretty straight forward, is here.  A little juicier version is over on Deadspin.

Whoever said the truth will set you free could never have imagined the Internet or fan message boards.

Charmaine Tay Commits To Louisville Lady Cards

The word today from New Jersey is that Charmaine Tay, an all-stater who plays for Bloomfield Tech has verbally committed to play her college basketball at the University of Louisville, starting the 2010 season. Gregg Lerner, who covers the sport for New Jersey High School Basketball, says the 5-foot-10 guard is one versatile player:

In all my years of covering girls basketball, I can’t recall a better rebounding point guard than Tay, who was a Second Team All-State selection by The Star-Ledger. Yes, she possesses all the flashy passes and ballhandling of contemporary playmakers, but she is also a hustler. Her work on the glass can’t be emphasized enough and while her scoring isn’t gaudy, her distributing touch and sense of what a moment demands is invaluable.

And, as for her scoring, sleep on her defensively and she’ll expose you with a finish off the dribble or by sticking an uncontested 3-ball.

Tay was instrumental this season in helping Bloomfield Tech to a Group 1 state championship. Her assuredness on the ball provides a sense of security essential to a championship run.

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Angel On TV — Angel McCoughtry’s Atlanta Dream WNBA team will square off against the Minnesota Lynx on ESPN2 on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. Angel is averaging 16.3 minutes, 2.3 rebounds and 10.3 points after her team’s first nine games. She has started one game.