Well, here we are again. After batting around the Twitterverse from Jamie Edmondson to Richard Sandomir and Bomani Jones, CNBC’s Darren Rovell finally got back to his old favored sparring partner in the Twitter squared circle, Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated. Deitsch is the Frazier to Rovell’s Ali, the Palmer to his Nicklaus, the Nadal to his Federer, the Red Sox to his Yankees, the Antony to his Octavian… well, you get the idea.
Deitsch and Rovell are the two best sports tweeters out there (they even have trophies in the form of Muppets to prove it), so it’s always a highly anticipated event whenever they go toe-to-toe on the 140 character field of battle. It had been a while since Deitsch and Rovell engaged each other over a lengthy exchange of tweets. While this conflict wasn’t quite the full-blown conflict of Rovell v Sandomir or Rovell v Jones, it was still worthy of gettin your popcorn ready.
Believe it or not, once again Deitsch and Rovell squared off… over tennis. While tennis may not be on most of our radars as sports fans with the NCAA Tournament in full swing, the insane NFL offseason, and Wimbledon still a few months away, 60 Minutes brought the nation a profile on Novak Djokovic, winner of 4 out of the last 5 grand slam tournaments. Here’s the segment…
As Rovell began tweeting about a missed opportunity for Djokovic’s sponsors, Deitsch saw his opportunity to pounce. Let’s face it, Rovell tweeting about missed sponsorship opportunities by Sergio Tacchini isn’t exactly viral material. It was a surprise attack from out of nowhere that picked up where their previous tennis debate had left off – Rovell claiming tennis is in real trouble in the United States and Deitsch buffering those claims. Was Deitsch able to get the best of Rovell once more, or could Rovell bounce back and claim a victory in this skirmish? Here’s how it played out…
Deitsch-Rovell II was a mere six round exhibition instead of the prolonged 15 round epic that we saw earlier in the year. Although neither man scored quite the haymakers that we’ve seen thrown before in this rivalry, there were a few smart jabs landed. Deitsch is the master of this kind of intelligent blow. Like the best ring technicians, he’s never going to be outsmarted. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see him poke Rovell’s Twitter following and his infamous Playboy flap during this fracas. His tweet looking forward to Rovell’s coverage of the clay court tennis season was both brutally funny and effective. His jab challenging Rovell’s sports reporting over his opinion on the current crop of playmates was perhaps the best blow of the fight.
But, Rovell seemed to have the upper hand throughout the duration in spite of Deitsch’s flashier offense. For one, the 60 Minutes piece featured Djokovic’s meaning to his native country of Serbia. His impact on American fans and the sport in America was rarely mentioned (aside from his imitations of Maria Sharapova and Rafeal Nadal at the US Open). Sure, Djokovic is a great story and quite entertaining, but is he as big of a draw as Federer and Nadal? Is he the one to bring tennis into the mainstream? Those questions go unanswered.
Rovell’s key move was sidestepping Deitsch’s uppercut on the 60 Minutes piece by shifting his own offense to Sports Illustrated. Rovell challenged Deitsch with the numbers on how many tennis players were on the cover of Sports Illustrated. A two-pronged strategy that not only pushed Rovell’s opinion, but also hit Deitsch with a body blow close to home. That effective shot seemed to embolden Rovell as he stood by his belief of a “complete lack of interest” for tennis in this country, 15 minutes on a network news magazine show not withstanding.
It was then that Deitsch attempted another bold walk off tweet by retreating from the battlefield to watch Mad Men. But this time his gambit was met with less success. Rovell wisely called him out on it this time. How can you leave a Twitter War mid-discussion for a trendy cable TV show? (Also, points were deducted for forcing me to Wikipedia Philo Farnsworth.) Rovell closed the fight later on with his SI cover numbers that seemed to cement his convictions.
That crucial finishing sequence narrowly gives this decision to… Darren Rovell. It’s good to see the self-appointed sporting Twitter czar get one back in the win column, if only to enlarge the bullseye on his Twitter avatar. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for Round 3.
Who won this round of Twitter Wars? Vote in our poll below!