However, if your motivation for watching Costas Now this evening (9 p.m., HBO, natch) is to see a Bissinger - Leitch II, then Costas would prefer you not bother changing the channel. So sayeth Bob to the WSJ.
"I'd like everyone interested in sports to tune in," he says, "but if all they're looking for is a repeat of 'Bissinger vs. Leitch' I'd just as soon they watched something else."No, the truth is that you cannot ignite a powder keg without some sort of spark, regardless of how flammable it is. Matches don't just come careening out of space, flames flying everywhere, looking for powder kegs. In other words, we all know that Costas wanted the Bissinger - Leitch eruption, which makes this kind of palms-in-the-air denial a little hypocritical and certainly tough to stomach.
"The truth," says Mr. Costas, "is that this issue was a powder keg waiting to explode somewhere, and ours just happened to be the match that set it off. I think Buzz realizes he did a disservice to the journalistic standards he was claiming to uphold by jumping on Will that way. At the same time, it's easy for many of those in the blogosphere to dismiss Buzz's outburst as representative of the objections the mainstream sports media has to the excesses of the Internet."
Look, Costas isn't some shock-jock shooting for a Springarian response from the audience. However, to act like the format of his show -- five highly debatable issues featuring panelists with opposing viewpoints -- is intended for anything other than the occasional fireworks is doing a disservice to anyone that would consider tuning in.
No one's accusing Costas of reaching for ratings, and it's understandable that he doesn't want his final sports broadcasting legacy tied to 'Bissinger - Leitch". That would be sad. But he should still be reasonable enough to recognize his own show for what it is.