Archive for the 'ESPN' Category

22
May
08

Football, in the cold? Commence whining

Super BowlThere is one argument in professional football that draws more whines than any other.

It’s not the validity of preseason games, or even instant reply.

It’s the site of future Super Bowls.

Recently, the league announced that the 2012 version of the world’s biggest game will be played in Indianapolis.

This, apparently, made ESPN.com columnist Gene Wojciechowski very upset.

Apparently, Gene would prefer enjoying his complimentary Diet Coke and Chipotle inside a 72-degree climate controlled stadium in Arizona — rather than a 72-degree climate controlled stadium in Indiana.

Note: If you have to write a sidebar defending your completely uncontroversial column, it was probably a waste of space.

In between my involuntary vomiting over the fact that people get paid to write garbage like this, I pulled out the following one-liners and nuggets of wisdom for your enjoyment:

I don’t get it. Playing in a Super Bowl is supposed to be a reward, not a reason to visit your local North Face outlet. And attending a Super Bowl as a fan is supposed to be the experience of a lifetime, a chance to break out multiple bottles of SPF 30….The only things you’ll break out in Indy are space heaters.

–Aren’t the playoffs a “reward” for playing well in the regular season? Because they are frequently held outside. Also, raise your hand if you’ve been to a Super Bowl? Final tally: 0. Editor’s note: Space heaters are not allowed in Lucas Oil Stadium.

That’s another thing. The owners needed four secret votes to decide between Indianapolis, Houston and Glendale. Let’s see: In Houston and Glendale, there’s this orange orb called the sun. In Indianapolis, there’s this white orb called a snowball. What was there to decide?

–(silence)

Maybe the owners owed Colts owner Jim Irsay a favor. Maybe Irsay promised them a cameo in Peyton Manning‘s next cell phone commerical. Or maybe Mystery, Alaska, wasn’t available.

–Gene’s notes to self: Don’t forget, three derivatives of the word “own” minimum in this graph. Also, Peyton Manning doing lots of commercials = funny. Lastly, reference funny Netflix movie everyone else saw (and forgot) 10 years ago.

I guess we just don’t see the Super Bowl in the way Gene does (most likely because we don’t walk around gathering free goodies at Media Day). You simpletons don’t see the experience of a lifetime, free of corporate sponsors stealing your seats or endless pageantry (see photo above).

I’ll put it this way for all of our 13-year-old female readers: This column is the girl on “My Super Sweet Sixteen” lobbying daddy for the Range Rover instead of that peasantly Beemer.

But daddy, I want my Super Bowl in Glendallllle.

28
Dec
07

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before

The “Evil Empire.”

At least, that’s what they’ve been called from time to time. You know, those guys who buy their way to the top of the league. They’re willing to overpay just to take stars away from their top competitors. Then, utilizing their position atop the food chain, they attempt to call the shots and feed the fire that, ultimately, just ends up making them more profit. And the entire cyclical process can begin again.

No, not the New York Yankees. Though I have seen them cast in a similar light. Where did I see that? Oh, that’s right, on ESPN. That’s where I’ve seen that whole “Evil Empire” label branded upon George Steinbrenner & co. I guess it takes one to know one.

A recent article in the New York Times by Richard Perez-Pena has revealed a bit more of the truth behind irony-SPN. A network which is never hesitant to cast the Red Sox and Yankees of the sporting world as the corporate giants who drop their giant boot of cash down upon the rest of the competition, may just be the biggest perpetrators of such activity in sports.

More than anything, it’s just kind of funny. Among all the journalistic work reporting on free agency and the tactics used by big spenders, the guys on the business end of things were obviously paying attention just as closely as Peter Gammons.

“The numbers they throw around are out of reach.”

Sounds like something you’d hear from Royals or Marlins management. But no, that’s Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, a sports editor at the Washington Post, talking about ESPN’s uncanny ability to lure top writers. And making moves like offering Rick Reilly (undisclosed) dollars not only gives ESPN another big (white, middle-aged, snarky) gun, but, perhaps more importantly in the “Evil Empire” agenda, it takes a big staple of the competition out of the lineup. Remember when the Yankees signed Johnny Damon? Anybody?

Oh, and it doesn’t stop there. The article also discloses that ESPN charges, “by far,” the highest subscription rate of any cable network and more ads per magazine than its competition. You’re kidding, the same providers of such hardcore investigative pieces as the Coors Light Cold Hard Facts and Six Pack of Questions, the Hummer Press Pass, the Budweiser Hot Seat have more ads per issue than Sports Illustrated? (That bit of sarcasm brought to you by rich, chocolaty Ovaltine).

But easily my favorite part of this article (aside from the goofiness of a sports media outlet refusing to releasing contract information) comes right near the end when we get the distinguished opinion of sports agent, and general slime of the earth, Scott Boras. “It’s like going from a guppy to an octopus,” says the shark.

You just can’t make this stuff up. But I have an idea of who could if they wanted to…

23
Oct
07

Rick Reilly: The hotel on Boardwalk

So let’s see. Bill Simmons was, maybe, Indiana Avenue. Hunter S. Thompson was kind of like taking a chance on owning the electric company. But ESPN’s recent addition of Rick Reilly? Monopoly.

To be fair, how can you blame them? Reilly represented one of the last, faithfully-followed sportswriters/casters not to join “the family of networks.” Not only that, but he may have been the last remaining piece of the puzzle for ESPN’s complete sports media takeover. Think about it: Sports Illustrated represents the only tangible, non-Bristol-based form of sports media. There are no legitimate competitors on T.V., online or on the radio when it comes to consistent sports news . The only market ESPN even remotely competes in is magazines. But Reilly may very well have been the linchpin that kept subscribers tied to SI. Either him or those authentic NFL team fleeces.

So now the question becomes: Is this good for us (the sports media consumers)? My fear is, no. And the reason is competition. More specifically, the lack-there-of. Us journalism folk are always asked in college to look back to the days of William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer – heads of the New York Journal and the New York World in the late-1800s. This period is infamous for spawning “yellow journalism,” but it’s also viewed as one of the most progressive eras in journalism. When reporters and editors stopped being passive and started to find the news instead of letting it come to them.

Seeing as one could argue that some of ESPN’s current reporting tactics already border on being “yellow,” we need to seriously wonder whether or not a complete lack of competition is the best thing for a network that has already proven it’s ability to influence the very subjects it reports on. I’m not saying the Rick Reilly will yield the power of his mighty pen to make the Lakers trade Kobe, but the less people are picking, clicking or flipping to other media outlets, the more power ESPN has.

And once they have all the power? Well, game over.

25
Sep
07

ESPN reminds you, black and white people hate each other

Vick Divide

When I get home from “real” work, I like to catch the 6 p.m. SportsCenter.

It allows me to skip Jim Rome’s Ree-dick-u-lus show, stupid PTI, all that nonsense.

But tonight, a special program (hosted by Bob Ley of course) took the place of SC…“The Vick Divide.”

People disagree on Mike Vick? I wasn’t aware.

Well, if you didn’t see it, imagine the most ridiculous town hall possible, then multiply it by the number of white ESPN anchors. (Side note: Is “The Vick Divide” some witty pun I’m not getting?)

For most of the program, Bob Ley was telling the crowd to settle down and “be civil.”

Former Falcon Terance Mathis got a lot of applause for saying “Jesus” and “God” frequently.

Terrence Moore, got booed a lot by “his city.” And the director of the Humane Society got hissed at (imagine that).

The best part was probably when Bob Ley interrupted the proceedings to cut to an ESPN breaking news update!!!! Brian Griese is getting the start for the Bears next week. Oh. Never saw that coming.

Frankly, I think ESPN knew that black Atlanta fans in the crowd (supporters of Vick) would look raucous and loud. There was basically just a lot of yelling, and one crowd member even tried to compare the punishments of Belichick and Vick (seriously). Despite how you feel, I hope it’s safe to say that people see dogfighting in different lights.

Yes, it’s illegal. But obviously, it doesn’t mean the same to you as it does to the next person.

Some people who decry dogfighting are the same people who say hunting is fine because “the animal dies quickly.” Others say it’s just part of the culture.

The bottom line is that ESPN isn’t going to solve cultural differences by having a crowd hiss and yell at media members. They know that. They want loud, in your face shows (Rome, are you still reading), which is why they showed minutes of footage of dogs fighting. Can we please move past this? Talk about the Packers. Talk about the Chargers. Hell, talk about Rex Grossman. Anything but this.

14
Sep
07

ESPN, batting .000 on factual reporting this week

ESPN coverNot sure if you’ve been following this week, but ESPN has basically gotten it’s ass kicked on reports it released.

First was the news that Bills’ tight end Kevin Everett would never walk again.

Now, this would seem like something one might want to research before reporting, after all, it is an individual’s life.

Also, personally, I find it hard to believe that a doctor would say that Everett was never going to walk again before his sedation was even lifted.

But I won’t lump all that on ESPN, because it seemed most media outlets were assuming the worst. It was a rush to declare the worst possible news on Everett, which is really sad when you think about it. The guy is still in surgery, most definitely with a long road to recovery ahead of him, but the Leader has already decided his fate.

Then came EliGate.

Mortensen reported that Eli Manning had separated his shoulder in Sunday night’s game against the Cowboys, something the team, nor its doctors, ever reported. Mort said Eli would be out a month — something that was then quoted in other espn.com pieces.

Today’s story? He could be starting Sunday.

The real problem with Mortensen’s story is that it sites numerous anonymous sources. Memo to Mort: This isn’t Watergate. This is Eli Manning’s potentially injured shoulder.

The only instance in which sources should not be named is if their lives or jobs are in danger. I’m guessing Mort’s sources didn’t have to worry about losing their lives. Or their jobs.

The best part of the Mort report is the end:

Manning himself has said that he was not in a great deal of pain and believed he has a chance of playing Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in a home opener.

Manning? What does he know?! Mortensen has sources! He just can’t tell you who they are.

24
Aug
07

It’s about time

Stephen A. is goneWe know we’ve been a little late in discussing this Stephen A. Smith business, but we wanted to make sure as much info had come out as possible.

That being said, it looks pretty clear Screamin’ Stephen has had his column forcefully taken away by the Philadelphia Enquirer.

The paper published an online story saying Stephen would be “returning to reporting,” a kick below the belt if we’ve ever heard of one.

We have nothing against Stephen A.

He’s a newspaper writer who made his own success. He must have been somewhat popular covering the Sixers to get his own nightly talk show and then start appearing in all kinds of places throughout pop culture (General Hospital, I Think I Love My Wife).

But honestly, it’s surprising the Enquirer didn’t take Smith down a peg or two even earlier.

It must be extremely degrading to be a newspaper sports editor and have your writers “freelancing” at huge mediums like ESPN for the big bucks. However, we are not saying this is about jealousy. Once you sign on as a newspaper editor, you’ve accepted a vow of poverty. It’s the fact that you most likely (at least somewhat) discovered this “talent” — if you can call Stephen A. that — and they are basically putting you on the back burner. And eventually, your work will suffer.

Enquirer sports editor Jim Jenks eerily foreshadowed this earlier to Slate.

I don’t know how long this is going to last, but he puts the column first. He knows it gives credibility to what he does on TV.

In other words, Jenks didn’t have much faith in Smith continuing the put the column first, and said that without it, Smith had no credibility on TV. Slap.

Continue reading ‘It’s about time’

16
Jul
07

Crossing the line

ESPY signDid you watch the magic?

You know the magic I’m talking about: The magic that’s performed on Friday, taped, then replayed on Sunday?

Yep, I’m talking about the journalistic debacle that is ESPN’s ESPY awards.

There is a certain point where one has to stop harping on one person’s (or network’s) downfall(s).

That day is not today.

The ESPYs are everything that is wrong with ESPN. A supposedly independent “news” channel handing out awards to the very subjects it covers.

An example:

To start off the night, host Jimmy Kimmel made a joke about embattled Tennessee Titan Pacman Jones. Before you think I’m defending Pacman, hear me out.

How awkward would it be if Charles Gibson made a joke about President Bush at a public gala? All hell would be raised about how ABC News isn’t objective in its coverage of the White House.

A similar outrage occurred when Fox News tried to sponsor a Democratic presidential debate earlier this year.

Granted, sports are not necessarily news. They aren’t battles, they aren’t war. But ESPN claims it’s a network of sports journalists…so why don’t they act like it?




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