With an Unrealistic Shot at Reaching the Summit, the Mavs Have Stopped Climbing

Mount Everest.jpg
I'm fascinated by Mount Everest and absolutely bow down to those who have reached its peak. It remains at the, ahem, top of my bucket list.

Watching the Dallas Mavericks lose again yesterday -- this time to the lowly 15-26 Detroit Pistons by 14 -- I'm left to equate their demise (that's six straight losses and counting) to a mountain-climbing expedition.

In 2006 the Mavs -- led by veteran Sherpas Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Mark Cuban -- got within inches of the summit, only to lose their grip, fall and slide all the way back in one of the biggest almoooosts in the history of sports.

Since then every year is not only a physical challenge, but more so a psychological one. It's a long climb to the top and a big part of the process is believing you can summit.

This year, stronger and more prepared than at any time since '06, the Mavericks began making the trek and looked incredibly strong. Then, suddenly, two of their best climbers fell.

One would get back up. One wouldn't.

With Caron Butler out for the season, the Mavericks have been psychologically gutted. Sure Dirk is back and yesterday poured in 32 points, but this isn't the same team that started 23-5 and it won't be without Butler.

Take the two best players off any team in the NBA and there will be significant slippage. Still, you'd like to think the Mavs -- as I feel certain the Spurs would somehow be -- are strong enough to at least keep from total cratering just because their dynamic has been temporarily altered.

To me right now Dallas looks and plays like a team that doesn't believe it can reach the top of the mountain. The Spurs have left them at base camp and unfortunately the Mavs' ultimate uncertainty about the long-term has produced a visible sagging of physical effort in the here and now.

In other words, the Mavs have stopped climbing.

Head coach Rick Carlisle sees it too.

"Unfortunately, we caved," Carlisle told reporters after the 103-89 loss. "Our competitive level has got to come up, it's as simple as that. What happened in the second half is not acceptable."

Ouch.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
23 comments
Davek
Davek

My guess is he has a bloig because he wants to write about Dallas sports.

He used to write responses to people back in the day but why would he do it now? Everyone here is a bunch of hateful bitches.

I'm not even trying to stand up for richie. He can stand up for himself. Granted hed need a stool for you to notice he was standing.

I'm not even saying people should quit the insults. Sometimes its funny and sometimes he's earned it. But you guys are just nonstop. You make up fake names and come up with shitty jokes. Its all weak.

If you assholes want him to respond maybe you should write something worth responding to. Maybe hed even improve his posts which are admittedly lacking in substance at times, if he thought he was writing to people who would give a damn.

You know what? Fuck all of you. It used to be cool to come here and read his stuff everyday and see the feedback, and you selfish, low self esteem bastards have ruined it for everyone.

Richie's Mid-Life Crisis
Richie's Mid-Life Crisis

Let's get the email campaign started to either have the Observer let Sam start contributing here daily or to completely rid themselves of RW. If enough of us email they'll take notice.

Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett

Little boy Richie doesn't care about the comment on his blog? Man, oh, man. If we could recreate the events of March 6, 1836, I would pray that little boy Richie was the first to come over the wall.

"Stand back, fellow Alamo defenders. This two-bit dandy is mine." I'd say as I rolled up the sleeves on my buckskin clothes. I would the whoop the stuffing out of him. Don't believe me? I wrestled bears. I'd throw little boy Richie around like a rag doll.

Davek
Davek

Mayybe richie doesn't read or care about the comments is because all people do is rip into his ass all the time.

Granted he enjoys having his ass ripped as much as most male members of the kergo family, but you guys could at least use some lubrication.

luniz
luniz

I bet the Mavs get going again before the end of the season, but Butler is just about irreplaceable.

PPMs
PPMs

A blog without commenters is like a radio show without listeners...

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

I've said it in your blog a few times and Sam acknowledged it, glad you have now, but it's not like you read this anyways. The Spurs have that "it" thing. As much as you all love Dirk, he can't get you over the top. How many different characters has Duncan played with since '99? What you see out of the Spurs is they're always building a year or two ahead. The Mavs try to throw this thing together every year. Ginobili and Parker have gone out for 20+ gamesin the past couple years and they've stayed afloat. Sad to see the Mavs doing as bad as they are. They've lost 6 in a row, the Spurs have lost 6 all season. It's not fun when your biggest rival is going downhill. As a Spurs fan, I want the Mavs to pull out of this so the games have some meaning. Has anyone heard from Barkley lately? His proclamation of the Mavs being the best team in Texas has done nothing but jinx them this year.

TC's Anal Blog
TC's Anal Blog

Might as well as disable the comments section since we don't matter...at least that is what you said on the RAG yesterday.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

I see where you're coming from for sure. A lot of P1's have come on here and bashed him since he started at the Fan. I think it's idiocy when people do that. If you're locked in to one station and rip the knob off, you're missing out. There are some things I like about the Ticket and some about the Fan. The harrassing posters for the most part are Ticketheads, that's just life and RW knew that when he started this. With this new chat format, RW can respond individually, like Wilonsky and Merten do, and ignore the rest. I'm sure the guys that come here to harrass him will just say "why don't you respond to me munchkin?" or whatever remark they have. The anus is on RW. As much as it gets boring with posters asking why he hasn't posted the ratings or when Greggo is going to fall of the wagon again, this is what you have to deal with when you have a comments column and you don't regulate it.

radio listener
radio listener

I think Richie is done reading the comments or is taking a lengthy break. From listening to his radio show, Hammer seems to reference them more than Richie these days and that isn't often (albeit, as stated a bit before, Richie did recently mention he ignores these comments. Not sure if he meant the negativity or literally did not read them any more).

As Long Time Reader said, Richie can be a great writer when he puts effort into it. How many of us didn't even know this here Sportatorium or give two flips about Richie until The Hard Lie article came out? It was a great riveting story and expertly written. While blogging is part of his job, he seems to put most effort in the paper end of the Dallas Observer and I think that goes a long way to keeping his bosses happy.

Richie used to respond, even with all the insults toward him, which as Davek says can get unruly, but toward the end he only focused on the negative comments. When somebody said something that was a good point or reasonably asked something that pertained to the post, Richie wouldn't even respond to that poster but would instead give a snippy retort back to some other guy who was just trying to get under his skin.

I think it's also a bit interesting that even those who defend Richie - and I'm trying to do that here - also cannot help but take a swipe at him. Sometimes Richie is almost asking for it - from Chris Chrissery bragging about Plan A, Bs, and Cs - to clearly playing provocateur with blog comments only intended to rile up the readership. As been mentioned, the Hamilton posts ("Get bathed in alcohol ya wimp!" and "...in the hospital??? FISHY!!!") only reinforce some of the poor content readers have complained about.

Also, these provocations are clearly intentional - notice how Richie in the past has criticized the Dallas City Council and Laura Miller for the parade planning for the Mavericks yet gleefully posts an article once the Rangers advanced to the World Series asking where the parade should be held when, not if, the Rangers win it all? He sometimes is just trying to piss us off.

All in all, I enjoy reading this blog, and would miss Richie if he left it. As other have mentioned, the tone for Merten was respectable and civil and there was even interesting discussion in the comments. How long would that last? Even when Richie actually puts effort into a post the majority of comments will bag on him. This is sports, not news, and a lot of us feel like we're knowledgeable on a subject like this instead of the more high brow stuff Wilonsky and co. come up with at Unfair Park. That competition and testosterone aspect to sports can get us going and if we disagree with a point the mood in a post can be a bit heated. Look around the internet, that is nothing new. The only difference is Richie works with a short leash to begin with. Many commenters are just waiting to rip him for whatever reason, maybe even exaggerating their "outrage" to whatever he posts about just to get an insult in.

Though not realistic I agree with Davek's good intentions and wish everyone would give Richie some leeway and try to comment on the subject of his post with fair points instead of making it personal. Unless the Chris Chrissyness of the Plan A, Bs, and Cs popup. Then rip him. But if he actually puts forth effort, why not cut him some slack and keep it somewhat civil.

Long Time Reader
Long Time Reader

He brought this on himself! His blogs got shorter, more irrelevant and his readers (us, who probably help him keep this job) started questioning it. Even when he did respond to comments, it was always a snarky "How much do you pay to read this?" or "Thanks for reading!" type thing. If he wants to write about Dallas sports, maybe he should focus more on doing that.

Personally, I don't care if his date wanted to go back to her house to do a fucking puzzle. I certainly didn't care for the Josh Hamilton pneumonia garbage he tried last week or when he seemed to bash the fact that the Rangers wanted to include him in the celebrations with ginger ale. I don't care that some loose gal was naked on his table with sushi or whatever it was. That's not writing about Dallas sports. That's him trying to show that he's all cool and big time now that he's on the radio.

Why do I keep reading? Because when he wants to - which seems to be once a month - he can actually do a damn good job. I keep checking in hoping he'll go back to what this blog once was.

Nobody bashed Merten when he filled in. His posts were quality posts. The debates, comments were civil. Why? Because Sam was actually putting forth effort. As been stated before, this appears to be nothing but a pay check for Richie. It's obvious that he cares more about his radio show than his blog. And then to say that our comments don't matter? That's a fucking slap in the face. Sure, there's a lot of nut kicking, but 95% of it is valid.

ChrisU
ChrisU

and what if Merten took over, they'd turn on him too. unless of course he was on their favorite radio station.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

why does he have a blog then? Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't every other Observer blogger respond to his posters? what the what??????

Judge_Softy
Judge_Softy

I totally agree. This is the Spurs' year. Championship numero cinco is coming soon...

Rooster
Rooster

"Might as well as disable the comments section since we don't matter...at least that is what you said on the RAG yesterday."

Great. Now he's turned into Mike Rhyner without the skins on the wall.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

missed Rage, too busy in Waco getting loaded b4 watching my Jayhawk unload on Baylor. what did he say about it

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

I dont rip him bc Im a ticket listener, I rip sometimes bc he deserves it for the crap he posts and says on the radio. I quit listening when they went 2-7, except for the occasional commercial break. I enjoy the blog most times and it is fun to talk sports and bits and rib each other here too, but just as Mike rhyner got ripped when he said he didnt owe the listener anything, Richie deserves to get ripped for saying his commenters dont matter. If we dont matter, why blog? If we all quit clicking the sportatorium and his readership dropped then the Observer would say something, but our emails to them wont matter if people keep coming here. And to whomever thought his paper version is any better. The last cover story we got was supposed to be an inside look at motorcycle gangs, yeah thats real sportsy, but instead turned into a superficial infomercial for Dukes and Cape Buffalo. And to the other idiot who said maybe if we quit ripping, he'd write better blogs, thats awfully tom Hicksish. He should give us better quality then the ripping will stop, not the other way around

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Good post Radio Listener. I agree with what you and DaveK are saying and I think the consensus from me reading and thinking, is you're right. The bashing and criticism started when the blog started getting short and the radio gig started. Having to blog 3 times a day and put out meaningful content, as it seems easy to us, isn't a walk in the park when you have a 5 hr radio show and prep to do. Honestly, I respect that he has two gigs, I couldn't see Rhyner or Corby blogging. If Corby did, there are so many haters that he would get flamed like RW does, if not more. Bob Sturm blogs and tweets, and I think you have a different level of feedback. Gordo blogs but you can't take him seriously. The people that come here like sports and talking, and they were used to the effort that was put in here before. I think RW is a great journalist when he has time to write and used to look forward to his columns in the Observer. I know the radio gig takes precedence, but this blog has obviously suffered.

Davek
Davek

I actually don't disagree with much of what you said. The quality of Richie's posts has gone down, and sometimes you feel like you're reading a the kiss-and-tell blog of a teenage boy instead of a veteran sports journalist. The Hamilton conspiracy you referenced was an especially egregious

It's probably too much to ask him to blog three times a day and do a five hour show. Including prep time, he probably works just as long as any of the rest of us. Maybe he should write one solid post instead of three mediocre ones a day, or maybe he should write three posts that are short but get a good conversation going throughout the day that he follows up on. I don't know the answer, but I won't dispute that it'd be nice to see more effort.

But I will dispute that 95% of the nut-kicking is valid. Maybe 50% of it. He still makes himself very available to the public. You can go out and find him and talk to him almost any weekend. You can e-mail him or text him practically any time you want. Besides, some of the comments I see about his ex-wife, his professional success, and the sort, are far out of bounds and have nothing to do with the blog.

I probably don't have enough influence, but I'd like to see a moratorium on the bashing -- say two weeks. Be civil for two weeks. See what kind of posts we get, what kind of responses we get, etc. If the posts improve, if we get responses in the comment section, if we get less trolling (I admit Richie uses his blogs to troll almost as much as people use the comment section to troll), then it's a win for everyone. We get a good sports diversion during work, and Richie gets more fulfillment out of writing, and I think he fundamentally views himself as a writer.

If in two weeks we're still getting petty attacks on Hamilton and Greenberg, stories about boning skanks picked up at Dallas bars, then by all means, I stand corrected and you guys can aim for the nuts.

As for Merten, just remember that the grass is always greener on the other side. The backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town. How long would it take before people started trolling this place again?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Sam Merten's Sports Musings has a nice ring to it. Yeah if the comments dont matter then why have blog

Richie's Mid-Life Crisis
Richie's Mid-Life Crisis

If Sam was posting the nut kicking would slow down because he is known for posting quality entries. If RW went back to the level of greatness he once was at the nut kicking would slow. He just needs to raise his game.

TC's Anal Blog
TC's Anal Blog

RW was talking about how Jagger's co-host/lover guy (is it Greg?) was talking shit about him on TXA21 and then he popped off that it doesn't matter what he says just like it doesn't matter what the commenters on his blog say.

Glad I'm not a short, middle aged, balding, fudge packing, hack of a radio host.

Loading...