Tuesday, May 20, 2008

ESPN=Eastern Sports, Preferably NewEngland

There are a number of reasons why I can't stand Boston sports. One, talking to a buddy from the Boston area last night and hearing him once again exclaim "Boston is the place to be! We have everything! We have the Pats, the Sawx and Celts!" Another reason, ESPN. I know everyone labels ESPN as being East Coast Biased, but now, its all Boston sports all the time. You can watch an hour of Sportscenter, and I'd bet that 30 minutes is devoted to Boston.

First off, I would like to congratulate Jon Lester and his no hitter. It's an miraculous story for all cancer survivors.

But back to my ESPN bashing. ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, is a short drive from the Boston area. So I'm guessing at least 75% of ESPN's staff consists of Boston fans.

Look at some of ESPN's reporters: You have Red Sox faithful Peter Gammons; Boston Globe reporter Bob Ryan appears on Around the Horn, PTI, Sports Reporters and Sportscenter; former Boston Globe reporter Jackie MacMullan is a regular guest on Around the Horn; and of course lets not forget "The Sports Guy" Page 2 columnist Bill Simmons, just to name a few.

At times, Simmons writes about a number of different topics in the sports world, but he just cannot resist boasting about his favorite franchises. When any of his articles start out with, "Tom Brady", "Why Kevin Garnett is the MVP", or his annual "B.S. Awards-Let me tell you about Rojan Rondo", you can stop reading right there. B.S. can stand for many things, but I now believe it's Boston Sports.

Last night's no hitter by Jon Lester is just one prime example. Not to take anything away from Lester's performance, but hey, did anyone outside of ESPN or Boston realize there was a NBA Playoff Game 7 going on? Of course they didn't. Why would they? There was already a Game 7 yesterday, and it was in Boston!

The no hitter is an inspirational story and all, but didn't Lester pitch and win the decisive Game 4 in last year's World Series? So obviously the guy is healthy and at full strength. Did this not show his remarkable comeback from cancer? Or was Boston so wrapped up in winning the Series everyone treated his gutsy Game 4 performance as a minor sidenote?

Jim Abbott pitched a no hitter having only one hand!

Bud, freakin, Smith pitched a no hitter!

I bet Jon Lester would like to be known as a great MLB pitcher who did something only a hand full of other pitchers had done. Not as "the guy who had cancer."

Oh Yes. Back to the Boston/Cleveland Game 7. The same Game 7 that ESPN could not pump up enough before the game and after the game. The same "epic" Game 7 which (with the help of Lebron James) ESPN constantly made comparisons to every other great Game 7 and most of all, the 1988 Game 7 between Boston and Atlanta. The same Game 7 ESPN glorified as Lebron and Pierce going back to back, trading shots throughout the fourth quarter. Yes the same 4th quarter that saw Paul Pierce score 6 total points and only 2 points in the last 6 minutes. (Those two points came on free throws). Yes, ESPN was comparing this "epic" quarter to Bird and Wilkins. I might be wrong, but I believe in that '88 Game 7 Bird scored 20 points in the final period. P.J. Brown had as many points in the 4th quarter as Pierce.

All day Monday, ESPN's coverage consisted mainly of recapping the "epic" Game 7. I even heard someone (Mike Wilbon) mention that the two best words in sports are "Game 7."

And of course, some on ESPN seemed a little excited that we were being treated to two Game 7's in back to back days.

But when Lester threw the NO-NO, the best words in all of sports quickly changed to "No Hitter."

Maybe you tuned in to Baseball Tonight to catch the highlights of your favorite team? Sorry! It was bad enough the Baseball Tonight spent 25 of 30 minutes recapping the no hitter (just about every out and the history of Boston no hitters), but of course there was Sportscenter opening up with the no-no. I think Sportscenter's first 10 minutes were about the no hitter. Ten minutes before you even talk about a Game 7! Come on!

By the way, the Spurs won Game 7 by beating the Hornets on the road. In the History of NBA Game 7's the road team has won 14 of 213 Game 7's. That's worth noting.

Imagine if Josh Beckett or Dice-K threw a no-no. Holy shit! We'd never hear the end.

I'm sure ESPN will sugar coat Lester's no-no for the remainder of the season. I'm sure ESPN has already looked into televising Lester's next scheduled start. Until then, I'm sure we'll hear Johnny Vander Meer's name as the idea of Lester throwing back to back no-no's will be mentioned.

And if you missed Lester's no hitter last night? Don't worry. I'm sure it will be playing all week on ESPN Classic.

Move on to Spygate. There always seems to be a new interesting development going on here. And now many are starting believe this Patriots franchise will forever be remembered as tainted (Bob Ryan included).

What I find funny is the fact everyone on ESPN complains about too much coverage on Spygate, "Enough of Spygate", "Can we finally close the book on this matter", etc. Well, it won't go away as long as ESPN features it everyday on everything from "Outside the Lines", "E:60", etc. The very same people complaining about the overexposure of Spygate are the ones constantly talking about it daily.

Let's journey a short time back to November. Remember all the non stop publicity ESPN gave on the Patriots pursuit for perfection? Heck, I even thing the subject had it's own section on the bottom line.

Of course ESPN was even comparing New England to greatest NFL teams of all time. How can we forget the mock computer simulated playoff of all time great teams?

And finally yesterday, ESPN paid some attention to the fact that Houston's Lance Berkman is putting up serious triple crown numbers. Maybe ESPN noted this rare feat because Big Brown will make an attempt at horse racing's triple crown. Or maybe because ESPN was televising the Cubs/Astros game on Monday Night Baseball, going up against TNT's Game 7. Nice tease.

One thing's for sure, if Manny or Big Papi happened to be putting up triple crown numbers three weeks into the season, the world would've have known right then. There would be nightly updates on their progress.

Heck, ESPN already crowned Manny Ramirez as this year's MVP about 3 weeks ago. No need to play out the rest of the season.

ESPN has a globalized monopoly on Sports. ESPN tries to tell you what to watch and who to root for. Look around you today. You can't go anywhere without seeing a BoSox, Patriots or Celtics jersey. Yeah Boston's sports franchises are near the top in three dominant sports, but you have to give a lot of credit to ESPN. After all, ESPN did say that it's Red Sox nation.

1 comment:

Mac G said...

One of your best posts yet. My biggest pet peave about ESPN is their conflict of interest of sports they carry and the hyping up of crap like the WNBA/Arena football/hot dog contests.