This Week in the Twitterverse

Submitted by BiSB on April 19th, 2013 at 3:47 PM


I apologize in advance, but I’m not feeling very funny this week. Some weeks the world just feels really heavy, and it’s tough to pick yourself up, let alone to be amusing for others. Some weeks you just want to sit very still, as if the bad things of the world will quietly move along. You can only hear so much about bombings and fertilizer factory explosions and ricin and shootouts and sinkholes and flooding before you want to just shut the world out just so you don’t have to deal with it anymore.

Martin Richard was 8 years old. Come on. If that alone doesn’t put a damper on your Universe, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Since Monday’s horrors, people have tried to articulate what, other than the obvious, made Boston affect us on such a deep and personal level. In my mind, it is because this tragedy invaded something we foolishly believed to be beyond the reach of such evil. Sports often serve as a welcome escape from the “real world” with all its highs and lows. We prefer the fiction we create that our favorite teams and pursuits are really life-and-death matters. We feel like at the end of the day, there is a floor to how much we can lose. I love Michigan sports, but no matter how devastating a loss might seem (PITCH THE BALL TO STEVE BREASTON), I know that at the end of the day my child is healthy, I have a home and a job, and my dogs will still be happy to see me. We have a presumption of the ‘worst thing that can happen’ in the athletic arena.

So when the “real world” seeps into our cozy little athletic realm, it strikes a special chord with sports fans. I think the reason people reacted so viscerally to Kevin Ware’s injury wasn’t because it was such a devastating long-term injury (he’ll be back playing by next season). It was because it was such a graphic injury that it reminded us that while we like to imagine our athletic world as a comfy bubble that separates us from the dangers of our everyday lives, that bubble is and has always been a fleeting figment of our imaginations.

The Boston Marathon bombings were terrible in so many ways, beyond the obvious horror, fear, death and devastation. This one struck close to home for many people because the Boston Marathon lies at the intersection of our sports world, our national psyche, and our own lives. They attacked a major sporting event. They attacked an iconic American event. And they reminded us all that there, but for the grace of God goes any of us. My wife is running a half-marathon in Indianapolis in a couple of weeks, and if you don’t think Boston will be on my mind, you’re crazy.

Boston itself will be fine. I mean…

Yeah. I’m not worried about Boston. I’m a little bit worried about us. I feel like as much as we need to face our problems, trying to do so every day gets to be too much. We need a few hours every week where our biggest worry is the ability to pick up that A-gap blitz. The horror of Boston reminds us that in the grand scheme of things sports really aren’t that important, but they also remind us why we need sports in the first place.

I guess what I’m saying is that after stuff like this, don’t judge people for jumping back into what they know. After all, there is no wrong way to cope.

Except This

Okay, strike what I said. THIS IS THE WRONG WAY TO COPE:

Rovell Marathon

This was the afternoon of the bombing. He’s talking about a number of people who have lost limbs. Would it be nice if the Boston Marathon gave the victims an exemption to run the race? Sure. Would it be nice if they bought everyone a pony? Of course. But Jeebus, man.

On a related note, this may be my last Darren Rovell update. We had a disagreement over my assertion that his request that people tweet him pictures of the Boston bombing was (in the words I would have used had I known he was going to block me anyway) un-f*cking-believably opportunistic and voyeuristic and vulturific and dongish. He responded by deleting our conversation, and becoming the second person to block me. So if anything Rovell-related needs to be featured in this here column, someone let me know.

Rovell Blocked Goodnight, sweet prince.

Worst Ace Ever

You know how I said Rovell was the second person (that I know of) to block me? I’m sure that you, as one who hates unresolved plot points, were saying to yourself, “I must know who the other one was.” Wonder no more. It was, of course, Ace Williams. You all undoubtedly remember Williams as the guy who broke the story that John Navarre was Keyser Soze, and that Michigan Basketball was secretly the Monstars in Space Jam.  But I’ve got some bad news for everyone: Ace is no more.

Farewell Ace

This is what used to be Ace Williams’s feed. His history is Ace’s history. But alas, as is fitting of this Week in Which We Can’t Have Nice Things, this wealth of Michigan knowledge has departed for… something? The icing on the cake is that Ace’s old account, @ChatSportsACE, has already been taken over by a parody account (“Parody Ace Williams”).

Before he left, though, Ace fired off one last hilariously fabricated story (redacted above), the details of which will not be repeated here because it is hilariously fabricated. His “story” has also been parroted by his former employer’s Twitter account, which I will also not link because see above. But for those who are wondering, “BiSB, how can I tell if one of these stories is fake?” It can be hard to tell, but here’s a protip: no one tweets specifics about an “exclusive” story and then waits more than three days to publish the actual story. If you have a scoop, you don’t say, “hey, CBS Sports/ESPN/ABC Sports/Deadspin/MGoBlog, there’s a really awesome story out there. Here’s exactly where to look. I only hope you don’t publish your story before I finish writing mine four days from now.”

Fortunately, no one will ever, EVER mistake Ace Williams for Ace Anbender.

Wrong Ace Easy mistake to make

Never Saw THAT Coming

I’m sure you all remember Mike Rice, the disgraced former Rutgers coach who was fired because we’re all a bunch of wusses. Also because he whipped basketballs at players’ heads and called them f*ggots. But mostly the wuss thing. In any case, Mike Rice is back where he belongs: yelling at kids.

Mike Rice Redux 2

Mike Rice Redux

Sometimes in history a bold visionary will look at two things that don’t belong together, put them together, and become a genius. Sour cream and onion chips, for example, sound like a terrible idea, but are pretty tasty. Likewise, combining Mike Rice, coaching, and 12-year-old girls may SOUND like a terrible idea… yeah its actually an even worse idea than it would appear.

That’s Unusual…

This came from @bryan_starke, and I can’t make much sense of it.


The disconcerting possibility is that the Spartans and Buckeyes are combining forces, but I don’t know. If anyone can explain this I will sleep much better.

Jose Canseco UpdaOMG OMG OMG

Oh. Oh my. Jose Canseco did a Reddit AMA. I REPEAT: Jose Canseco did a Reddit AMA.





April 19th, 2013 at 4:20 PM ^

I don't mean to be contrarian, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect everyone to be emotionally affected by these events. The bombing in Boston wasn't even the worst thing to happen in the world on that day. If everyone were expected to be highly affected by every tragedy, we'd all be depressed 24/7. That's why we each have a relatively small "monkeysphere" -- a group of people to which we are emotionally connected. If no one affected by these events is in one's monkeysphere, it's perfectly normal to not feel emotional tumult over it.


April 19th, 2013 at 4:24 PM ^

I'm not asking everyone to rend garments and gnash teeth. There are worse things that can happen in the world. But when you hear an 8-year-old kid got blown up, and a bunch of marathoners may never walk normally again, I think most people are going to look at that and say, "that sucks."


April 19th, 2013 at 4:59 PM ^

I know your comments are well intentioned but there was a bombing in Iraq in the same day  that killed 34 people.  It's more a criticism of the media to say, "who cares about those people," but it's something we should be aware of and mourn.

almost as old …

April 19th, 2013 at 4:44 PM ^

and ask why this affected you more than any number of foreign, brown skinned young folks who get blown up on a fairly regular basis (Afghans, Pakistanis, among others).  All are horrific events that show the human capacity for evil we all share.  The events close to home get a 24/7 media presence; the ones on the other side of the globe get a 24/7 major media blackout. A child dead from a blast is a child dead from a blast, regardless of color or political motivations.  All are to be mourned.  We care about our own more because we react reflexively (tribally, an anthropolgist might suggest) to the media's tugging at the American heartstring; the others remain offstage and unmourned (by us).

That said, my next move is checking the flight schedules to Bolivia.

Shop Smart Sho…

April 19th, 2013 at 5:31 PM ^

Not to go too far into the political pool...

If you didn't want the comments to get political, you probably shouldn't have written about the topic you did.  While I appreciate what you wrote, it is inherently political.  IMO, the issue that many can and will take is that so many of the articles written about how sports overcomes tragedy focus on the tragedy that happens inside our borders.  While it is understandable that writers will write about that which is close to home, it does begin to leave a sour taste after awhile.

Besides, I would have rather read the screenshots leading up to you being blocked on twitter.  I could use a laugh more than another sports writer talking about a geopolitical act of terrorism.  Even if said writer did a nice job with it.


April 19th, 2013 at 6:07 PM ^

I didn't write it because it was closest to home. I wrote it because it was closest to the topic of this particular SPORTS blog. I wasn't comparing it to bombings in Iraq or war in Africa or famine in Africa or drought in Africa or... well, basically anything that happens in Africa.

But if I indeed started it, then I'll take the blame, but I'm also ending it. To the extent my commentary about an attack on the Boston Marathon inexorably leads people to compare it to and analyze the relative merits of all geopolitical malfeasance, I humbly request that people not do that.

Shop Smart Sho…

April 19th, 2013 at 6:19 PM ^

Either I didn't explain myself well enough, or you are missing my point.  I honestly have no idea which it is.  When you write something like that, I think you should expect that the conversation can become political.  There isn't anything inherently wrong or right about a political conversation, despite Brian not wanting politics to be here.  

I enjoy when you guys take the time to write long form pieces, but I would hope that you have all realized that when you do the conversation is likely to shift in ways you don't expect or want.  That being said, I hope you all continue to do it, because it is much better content than m0aR gifz!!!!  (Yes, that is a joke, I've railed against them enough at this point.)  But if you are going to write something that is intended to be a form of catharsis, I think it is only fair to allow the readers and commenters to attempt their own form of catharsis within the bounds of that post.  Dropping a not-so-subtle moderation threat in the comments feels unfair, no matter the intent behind it.

As Michigan fans we pride ourselves on our intelligence and wisdom, even if we don't always deserve those labels.  If we want to continue that belief, perhaps we should be given the forum to discuss broader topics when the opportunity is given to us by the writers.  Again, this is just my opinion.  If you, the other mods, and the rest of the staff disagree, I'll drop it.


And again, can we get some more about your twitter fight with Rovell?  The only good part of twitter is the fighting.


April 19th, 2013 at 6:45 PM ^

But lots of topics CAN take a political turn (I'd argue that this one wasn't particularly inherently political, but whatevs), but there is one iron-clad rule around here: No. Politics. So to the extent people may feel the urge to go down that path, you must resist that temptation. Again: No. Politics.

As for the Rovell stuff, I wish I'd screenshotted (screenshat?) the earlier conversation, but Rovell deleted his end of things so I can't access it anymore. Rookie error on my part.


Shop Smart Sho…

April 19th, 2013 at 7:17 PM ^

When speaking of Rovell, "screenshat" is definitely appropriate.


If you guys want to stick to the no politics rule, that is fine.  I understand why you would make that decision.  I would suggest being a bit more careful in the future about the topics you write about though.  While it sucks, I haven't seen many articles on this particular subject that didn't turn political in one way or another, which is why I guess I was surprised that you didn't see it coming.

On a more lighthearted subject:

What does the rookie hazing as an MGoEmployee entale?  Do you have to open all of the poorly constructed hate mail postmarked in Ohio that is addressed to Brian?  Or is it more along the lines of editing Heiko's love letters to Borges?


April 20th, 2013 at 6:14 PM ^

(Are you...Brian in that case) "pro innocent people getting blown up or con innocent people getting blown up?" I'm not asking you, just illustrating BiSB is coming down on the side of it that innocent people should NOT get blown up. Howls that political? It seems a pretty non-controversial stance to say it's bad, and sad when it happens. He doesn't get into the who or whys of it at all. THAT would be political. If you want to make the argument that should be allowed, fine. Email Brian. But to attempt to turn this into something it's not to justify skirting the rules isn't right.


April 19th, 2013 at 4:25 PM ^

"Hang on Sloopy" made famous by the McCoys (as opposed to the Ohio marching band).  It hit #1 back in 1965.

The song is widely known, but not necessarily widely associated with Ohio.


April 19th, 2013 at 7:40 PM ^

Now for the rest of the story, since I have a few minutes. Far from not having an association with Ohio, it is damned near the state anthem.

Official rock song of the state of Ohio In April 1985, a columnist for the Columbus Citizen-Journal, saw a wire service story about a proposal to designate "Louie, Louie" as the official State song of Washington and wrote a story about it. Both the public and its elected officials --most importantly, the 116th Ohio General Assembly became aware their State lacked an official song as a result of the exposure from his commentary. They designated "Hang on Sloopy" as the State rock song by House Concurrent Resolution 16 on November 20, 1985, with clauses including: "WHEREAS, "Hang on Sloopy" is of particular relevance to members of the baby boom generation, who were once dismissed as a bunch of long-haired, crazy kids, but who now are old enough and vote in sufficient numbers to be taken quite seriously..." and "WHEREAS, Adoption of this resolution will not take too long, cost the State anything, or affect the quality of life in this State to any appreciable degree, and if we in the legislature just go ahead and pass the darn thing, we can get on with more important stuff."[4]

While the song may be goofy, Rick Derringer went on to work with many significant bands. If we were to trace back all the "oh we were so influenced by" quotes, we would find Hang On Sloopy in the family tree. There is even a tie-in to tsio, but I won't dwell on that.


April 20th, 2013 at 10:46 AM ^

This is a picture of a Sparty tool parking job.  Imagine if you're the Caddy driver stuck next to them; you might not even be able to get your driver's door open.  And if this toolmobile had other Sparty tool passengers, the might have even put some nice dents in your door panels.

/rant /rant /rant hates parking tools /rant /rant /rant and more /rant


April 19th, 2013 at 4:27 PM ^

... best part is the accents on "Stars" and "ramparts".  This is 100% Boston. 

I've actually been here on business the last couple days.  Amazing city, with amazing spirit. 


April 19th, 2013 at 4:30 PM ^


In November 2009, Rovell made controversial remarks in an article regarding an American athlete, Meb Keflezighi, the first American to win a New York City Marathon since 1982, by suggesting that he was a ringer.[3] He later apologized.[4]


On November 17, 2011, Rovell sent a tweet to his followers on Twitter, asking them to come forward with stories about how their businesses were losing money during the 2011 NBA lockout. A high school senior named "Tim," annoyed with Rovell's behavior at the time, created a fake name and email account, telling Rovell online that he owned an escort service in New York frequented by NBA players, which was losing 30% of its business.[5] Rovell failed to verify the authenticity, and ran the story in a CNBC column. "Tim" came forward with the story months later to the website Deadspin, because, he said, "he's just such a [expletive] on twitter all the time [I] just got fed up." Deadspin made Rovell aware of his mistake. On the same day, Rovell released an apology on CNBC saying, "there will always be people out there who want their 15 minutes of fame and not really care how they get there."


That last sentence is pretty rich.


April 19th, 2013 at 4:37 PM ^

I feel horrible for the people injured and killed in Boston but I am really bothered by many people's reactions to the bombing. Senseless crimes happen all the time to innocent victims and it never get this kind of coverage. Why? Because a child kidnapping and murder isn't interesting enough to make it beyond local news. It's sad. In reality we should always be feeling sad about the bad things that happen in the world if this gets to people so much.

But who wants to do that? You feel sorry for them, you are thankful that it didn't happen to you, and you hope it doesn't happen again to anyone but you have to move on from there.

Yeah, so sports. Incredible to me that Mike Rice didn't even wait for 6 months to start acting ridiculous again, Ace Williams is a dick who may have legitimately damaged the football team, and Rovell from that tweet is....misguided.


April 20th, 2013 at 12:59 AM ^

I'm currently in Hiroshima. Combine this with the fact that one of the worlds biggest terrorists has heighten the entire country. I have a much different perspective on terrorist and bombs right now. Don't get me wrong, what happened in Boston was tragic, but when you strip away the media frenzy and politico bs, Boston is still a fun safe place to live. In spite of the events the past week, Boston should be so lucky.


April 19th, 2013 at 7:00 PM ^

One of the aspects of the Boston Marathon bombing was the setting and context is something we can related to easier than, say, a marketplace in Iraq.  The more we relate to the setting, the more the reality of the event touches the nerves.

At times like these I think back and wonder how the city of London would have survived the Nazi air raids of 1940 if every night's bombing produced too much introspection.  No doubt there was lots of personal losses on a daily basis there ... and yet, the city kept going.

As must we.  Life goes on.  That is not a dismissal of those who have been lost or maimed, or their loved ones.  Just a harsh reality of this thing we call life on this mortal coil.


April 20th, 2013 at 12:10 PM ^

I am late to this conversation, but I have to say something because I am surprised by a lot of the comments in this thread.

The Boston Marathon bombings affected me. I'm a runner. I've been to the Marathon, and I've stood by that finish line to watch and cheer people as they finish. I have friends who were running the Marathon on Monday. I know most people on this blog don't have the same connections to the Marathon that I do, so I understand they won't be affected in the same way as me. However, so many of the comments here lack compassion.

I understand as a coping mechanism, you can't let everything bad in this world drag you down. But there is a line between 'moving on' from a bad event, and not caring. Please don't cross that line. Things like this should bother you. If they don't, then you are begining to accept this kind of madness. Bombings are terrible, no matter where on this planet they occur. In other parts of the world, they have become accepted as something that just happens. I don't want that to happen here. There are thousands of terrible things in this world that we have become emotianally immune to - shootings, murder, car accidents. I don't want to add more to that list.

Innocent people should not die. I won't accept it.

This is honestly my first ever rant on the internet... and hopefully my last because I hate typing this much.


April 20th, 2013 at 1:34 PM ^

those are very thoughtful comments as rants go.  But there really is something to be said for moving on quickly; I thought it was a terrible mistake for Boston to have essentially surrendered  by shutting down the entire city for a day and sending the message that a 19-year old hiding in the bushes (or boat) with a couple of kitchen-made IEDs and a handgun could bring an American city to its knees so easily.    To my mind, that suggests a tempting reward for others of a similar chaotic bent.

We're already largely immune to murders that don't have such a theatrical narrative, even on a large scale.  There are roughly 15,000 murders per year in this country, and the victims are usually just as innocent as the marathon victims.  If someone steps into an office and shoots 5 people dead tomorrow in Topeka, Kansas, it won't be ignored, but it probably won't be the lead story on the national news, either.  That's where we are, and if that's too dark a place, the other extreme of total paralysis would seem to be equally off the mark.  The Brits during the Blitz (of "Keep Calm and Carry On" fame) were remarkable in trying to maintain normalcy in-between raids; the Israelis are as good as any people in the world at shrugging off attacks without capitulating to the fear.  I think they've got the right idea.  When you move on, you send a message to would-be attackers: we're not going to freak out, so don't get it in your head that you're going to make our society stop in it's tracks. 

It shouldn't slide into callousness, though, totally agree.  You can do both: move on, and be compassionate.  The victims aren't numbers, they're human beings with stories and families, and that goes for innocents here, there, and everywhere.

For me, moving on usually means a visit to this site, my personal great escape.  Plan B is usually Wolverine Historian vids on YouTube, usually wins over Ohio.


April 20th, 2013 at 6:30 PM ^

You shut the city down because you have terrorists on the loose and don't know they are 19 year olds hiding in the boat. You can't have a city full of people out and about and blocking the authorities. It doesn't show that you are giving in. Be realistic. Don't be the hero.


April 20th, 2013 at 8:15 PM ^

but it would always be easier to shut a city down every time there's an serious emergency, and this is the first time I've ever heard of something like this.  I may very well be forgetting, but most similar examples of bombers on the loose are Atlanta '96 (Olympics), NYC '93 (first WTC), Oklahoma City '95 (not for long, but for a while), Seattle '11 (the dude who tried to bomb the MLK parade-- can't remember when they caught him-- might have been Spokane?).  And there have been some serious killers running loose for a day many other times in other cities.  

It's a little like negotiating or paying a ransom to hostage-takers: if it's your family member, you do it, but from a cold rational perspective, you know it's encouraging the next guy.