For all of those who didn’t see this week’s column in the Fairfield Citizen and since (for God knows what reason) it didn’t make it online, I’ve pasted it into here. Let me know what you think.
Unlike many Yankees fans, I was being driven insane by what was happening on the television, especially on Sunday night.
ESPN’s coverage of Sunday Night Baseball drives me up a wall. Maybe I’m just a biased Yankee fan, but I always thought that Jon Miller and Joe Morgan had a vendetta against the Yankees. Miller, after all, was a commentator for the Red Sox. Morgan has given off that public opinion for years, but denies a dislike of the Yankees.
Sunday night especially annoyed me though. For any diehard fan out there, watching a Yankees/Red Sox game is a prize enough. It is mentally taxing from the first pitch to the last out, and sometimes beyond. With the Yankees going for a sweep and the opportunity to send the Red Sox way back, I was especially excited, until the third inning rolled around.
What happened in the third inning? ESPN decided to take over the game and parade Luis Tiant into the booth. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the greatness of the game, and Luis Tiant was a great. But El Tiante was on there to promote his ESPN special “The Lost Son of Havana” which aired on Monday night. Tiant was in the booth for a whole inning, talking about striking out Joe Morgan in the 1975 World Series.
It isn’t just that ESPN plastered itself over a meaningful baseball game, it’s that they always do that. Deanna Favre used to make her way into Monday Night Football whenever the Packers were on, because if you haven’t noticed, ESPN has a love affair with Favre. ESPN self-promoted its parent company, ABC, by allowing Jimmy Kimmel into the booth a few years ago, until he took things too far and was banned.
My chief question is this, why doesn’t anyone notice this? Why doesn’t anyone care? This isn’t a journalistic complaint, this is me, the fan, coming out. I don’t want ESPN to interject itself and pound itself down my throat. That’s mostly the reason I’ve stopped watching ESPN, other than games. Do you honestly still love hearing “Boo Yah!” when watching Sportscenter? Do you honestly live and breathe for “Manny”, “A-Rod”, “T.O” or “Tiger”?
If you want to complain about the economic divide between athlete and fan, ESPN is the most significant contributor. They have given athletes a voice and created rabid fan interest. They’ve allowed Chad Johnson to become Chad Ocho Cinco. They’ve been instrumental in turning a 5-year, $50 million contract into an “insult.”
I’m not saying ESPN is solely responsible for all that, but they have also gotten progressively worse as the years go by. The shameless self promotion spills over into its radio ventures (“You know us, we know sports”? Really?) or its game coverage (calling Baseball Tonight’s crew “The best team in baseball”?). They constantly talk down to their audience, with almost no repercussion. People flock to Bill Simmons’ column because it is like the average Joe fan, only then Simmons responds by putting down his readers! The list could go on and on about the arrogance of the “Worldwide Leader.”
I’m not the first to complain about this, just the most recent. Can ESPN get away with this because they’re the only sports outlet? No, they are just perceived as the only sports outlet. I can’t tell you how many times friends of mine have missed great games because they were on FSN, MSG or SNY.
The masses have moved away from the NHL. Why? Because ESPN doesn’t promote it, because it isn’t on its networks. The league has never been better, but the average ESPN fan would have you believe that the NHL is made up of Sidney Crosby.
My general question is, does anyone in Fairfield feel the way that I do? I know people other places do, but does it matter to you? ESPN may put your kid on TV someday, but it isn’t helping them now. I’m just as guilty as anyone. I own jerseys, I shell out money for games and I am a diehard sports fan. ESPN drilled me early, but I’ve fought back and said enough is enough.
Has enough become enough for you?
I’m not alone in this. Strangely enough, in the same weekend, my former co-worker Lauren Knego of the Home News Tribune in New Jersey wrote a similar column. That can be found below.
Fall sports preview
The Citizen’s fall sports preview will come out on Sept. 15 or 17. Not quite sure which just yet. I have an idea for the cover, but as always if anyone has suggestions for storylines for teams, by all means send them to me.
Odds and Ends
Does anyone else have a sneaking suspicion that the Cardinals will reinvigorate John Smoltz’s career if he actually does sign with them? They seem to do that with everyone… I’m not looking forward to the next month of Brett Favre coverage… I do enjoy that ESPN’s Chris Mortensen “reported” that Favre was coming out of retirement, when Fox’s Jay Glazer had that story on Monday… If anyone else hasn’t heard about the New Jersey Nets recent season ticket promotion, by all means click the link below…
As always, take good care.