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Thursday, November 6, 2003
Updated: November 7, 3:17 PM ET
Page 2 vs. The New York Times

By Nick Bakay
Page 2 columnist

If ESPN.com is the cocktail, then Page 2 is the little umbrella -- it just makes it more fun to sip. But who could have predicted that sports journalism's answer to the Island of Misfit Toys would grow into a media behemoth?

As we celebrate our third birthday, it's time to take it to the next level: Can an upstart expansion franchise hold its own against an institution? That's right, Page 2 vs. The New York Times.

Given, Jason Whitlock had a much better year than Jayson Blair, but who'll be standing when the smoke clears? Will we smite Goliath, or will we end up looking like Eddie Gaedel on a stroll through Monument Park? Let's see how they stack up at the Tale Of The Tape ...

The New York Times vs. Page 2
Category  
The New York Times
 
Page 2
  Advantage
Typical headlines:   War Rages In Baghdad!   Is Steve Bartman a metrosexual?!   Page 2, mainly because we're the only Website that doesn't slam you with yet another friggin' pop-up ad.
Reason for being:   People need to be informed.   ESPN.com needed a place to run cartoons.   Push
Nicknames:   "The Grey Lady"   "You know, the stories that run with the mustard-yellow McDonald's color scheme."   N.Y. Times. We clearly need something better, like "Hunter S. Thompson, lucid two out of every three columns!"
Slogans:   "All the news that's fit to print."   "All the Anna Kournikova pictures you can download!"   Page 2
Innovations:   Now in color   Jennie Finch   Page 2
Biggest disappointment:   No horoscope   No sports   Push
The game within the game:   Counting the number of "Ninas" in a Hirschfeld.   Counting the number of typos in Nick Bakay's first draft.   Page 2. Hirschfeld does his work sober.
What they leave on your fingers:   Print smudges   The leftover stench from "Gigli"   Page 2
Reader interaction:   Monday's crossword is "imbecile-friendly."   Come vote in our polls 'cuz we didn't fill today's column space.   Push
Follow that story:   Page 1 story continues on pages 9, 12 and 37.   Page 2 means just that   Page 2
How you navigate:   Open, fold it backward, then in half, then in half again   Just scroll, baby!   Page 2. I'm a firm believer that nobody wins with the heartbreak of unnecessary movement.
Sunday editions:   More reading than I've done in the past three years.   Sunday's Page 2 is really Friday's. On the other hand, it doesn't weigh 10 pounds.   Push
Special focus:   Theater reviews   The List: Top 10 nose-pickers caught on dugout cameras   Push
Streaks:   Published since 1851.   For three straight years, Bill Simmons has yet to write a column that's shorter than the Bible.   N.Y. Times
In-depth reporting:   Broke the NYSE scandal   Jim Caple's tour of ballpark urinal troughs   Push
Ad sales:   War, peace, famine or locusts ... Cartier always has an ad on the second page.   Um ... well, sometimes we tell you how to win a Stuart Scott bobblehead.   Push
The big questions:   Who, What, When, Where and How?   Who, What, When, Where, and What was Kournikova wearing?   Page 2. By my count, that's 5 Ws to 4.
Liberal:   Their insidious hidden agenda.   Our fact checking since 2000!   Page 2.
Carrying the torch:   Will Shortz is Eugene Maleska with an attitude!   Whitney Casey is George Plimpton in a pair of stilletos!   Page 2. Tell me Will Shortz has ever thrown a tight spiral!
Never seen together in the same place:   The Arts & Leisure Section and a big-league clubhouse.   Ralph Wiley and Road Dog.   Push
Pink slips:   Their theater critic can close a play in 250 words.   Our writers can run off a coach faster than you can say "Eustachy."   Push. No winners in the unemployment line.
Greater purpose:   People without electricity need yesterday's news.   So you have something to do while waiting for your Gamecast to update the last 12 plays of North Texas at Louisiana Monroe.   Page 2.

So there you have it. It's all so simple when you break things down scientifically. In a jail-pounding worthy of a Pulitzer, the advantage goes to Page 2.

But hang in there, N.Y. Times, your writers might have made up stories, but at least you didn't steal "Separated At Birth." Until next time, I'm Nick Bakay reminding you the numbers never lie.

Humorist Nick Bakay, currently a writer for the CBS sitcom "King of Queens," is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Page 2. He has a website at http://nickbakay.com.