For several months, I have been enjoying Rich Roberts' regular reports from Fremantle, Australia. From the beginning of the challenger and defender races last fall, I scanned the back pages of the sports section for Roberts' informative and fascinating stories. I now know much more about 12-meter yacht racing because of Roberts. His work has been the best sports reporting in The Times for several months.
Now I see that "sports columnist" Mike Downey has been added to the Times' team in Australia. Downey, whose penchant for silliness supersedes reportorial concerns, has already dispensed with the salient facts of the competition in favor of some romantic vision of what yacht racing means to him. His favorite word is I .
It is a shame that Roberts' reporting, a cumulative triumph for which he and The Times deserve Pulitzer consideration, must be cast in the shadow of a writer who is obviously along for the boat ride.