For those unfamiliar with his famously withering diatribes, Craig Carton is New York City's barking, bombastic, loudmouth AM sports DJ (alongside Boomer Esiason) on radio WFAN, where he makes his living educating listeners. In the Big Apple, that usually means tearing into the Mets' stingy owner, or the Knicks' waifish defense, but often also entails calling out poseurs and callers to the show who simply do not know what they are talking about. The 44-year-old native New Yorker, whose upcoming book, 'Loudmouth,' comes out in June, is a veritable and imposing encyclopedia of sports arcana.
On the eve of March Madness and all that it implies – bouts of hysteria and depression, dramatic loss of productivity, obsessions with brackets by the general populace – it's a rough time for those gawking novices who would love a spot at the water cooler, but lack the sports knowledge chops. We caught up with Carton at a recent Guinness Happy Hour Event (to benefit the Leary Firefighters Foundation), where he revealed to us a secret to the art of talking sports smack: Half the battle is just sounding like you're smart. With a little prep work and some time on the Internet, any schmo can fake it till they make it, says Carton (though, he cautions, "if you're not a good memory guy, you're fucked."). Here are Carton's cramming tips for talking the talk, even if you can't tell a triple-double from a double dribble (and if you can, these tips are still pretty good for faking you way through almost anything).
Appeal to history.
Make like Bob Costas and try to find the drama and narrative underneath all the stats and scores. Putting sports in a greater historical context is always a sure way to hook sappy sports fans. For instance, Carton brings up the 9-11 attacks, which delayed the 2001 baseball season, setting up a dramatic World Series in November between the Yankees and the Diamondbacks. "I think it was the first World Series ever where the home team won every game, and it went 7 games," he recalls. Two of America's America's most iconic images in Olympics history were the Black Power salute from sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos in 1968 and the U.S. hockey team's "Miracle on Ice" victory celebration in 1980. Statistics are irrelevant when it comes to human interest stories, and it becomes a topic that the most sports-illiterate person can appreciate.
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