Tag Archives: ESPN

Liberal Media/Conservative Media

I think this article, posted today on Espn.com, is a nice exhibit in the argument for abandoning all investigation into mainstream media’s possible political slants:

Thank goodness; we had all been waiting for Tucker Carlson to talk about Michael Vick.

Why national media is conservative: Tucker Carlson is an “analyst” on a national television network, is saying things like this, and is getting press for doing so.

Why national media is liberal: read the last paragraph of that story.  If you can’t read it, here it is again, crisp, straightforward, pristine:

Carlson, a conservative commentator, is angry that Obama told Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie he believes people who have paid for their crimes should have the opportunity to contribute to society again.

The NHL Isn’t Too Stuffy To Try Cool Ideas

This was just posted on ESPN.  The NHL is apparently abandoning the conference-vs-conference All-Star game in favor of an all-star pickup game.  Here is the link, but below is the pertinent info:

Fans will vote for a starting team of three forwards, two defensemen and a goalie, regardless of conference. Voting begins Nov. 15 and runs through Jan. 3.

The league’s Hockey Operations Department in Toronto will name the remaining 36 All-Stars to form a player pool, along with 12 rookies, for a total of 54 players. The 12 rookies will participate in the skills event, but the rookie game will not be played.

The players will then elect two captains, who will choose sides in a fantasy draft on Jan. 28. Each team must pick three goalies, six defensemen and 23 forwards, but they can pick in any order they choose.

I recall a columnist, perhaps Bill Simmons, arguing a few years back that the NBA should do this with its All-Star game.  How great, said Bill Simmons (or somebody), would it be for Kobe and LeBron to stand mid-court and take turns picking their squad?  I’m not a big NBA guy, but that idea sounded great then, and it’s great now.  In the era of free agency, the tribes of players that are each conference are no longer consistent enough to make East/West or America/National resonate.

I admire the NHL for having the guts to change its game to make it more interesting.  What’s more, these changes aren’t poorly thought out, pointless, or knee-jerk.  Most sports fans can identify with the playground-pick-squads mechanic.  Until the era of Helicopter Parents and Little-League-As-College-Resume-Filler, this is how most of us played sports.  So kudos to the NHL for taking a cosmetic part of the game and making it more exciting by aligning its wavelength with the frequencies reverberating in the hearts of its fans.

Baseball and football seem to be faced with similar questions about the structure and format of their games, but both sports are less proactive about it.  Baseball is dithering about instant replay and the Wild Card, while the Marlins and Pirates fleece their home cities and the World Series yet again finished in November.  The NFL has suddenly realized that every player has a concussion, and is talking about extending the season to 18 games.

Keep the game sacrosanct, or adjust with the times.  Those are two approaches to overseeing a major professional sport.  Like bull castration,* these approaches have to be done completely and with energy and purpose, or you risk a mess and people get hurt.  The NHL seems to be setting a good example of how to pursue the latter path.

*Why this analogy, you ask?  Well, why not.  First thing that came to mind.

the biggest news of the past 12 hours

This 166-word news story was posted on ESPN.com yesterday at 8:30 pm EST.  Below is the screen capture from this morning:

Joe Morgan has finally gone viral

Check out these numbers: 7,741 facebook shares, 778 retweets, and 1,336 comments all within 12 hours.  This is the most vibrant discussion of baseball Joe Morgan has ever facilitated.

Of course, Joe Morgan probably doesn’t believe in the statistics associated with this story.  The reason it’s provoking discussion is that it’s an old-school news story, solid and respectful of the game of journalism, which travels the wires the right way and plays hard and reminds him of a news story from back when he was with Cincinnati.

Buster Olney Is Wrong About Rays, Bagels

The Tampa Bay Rays had a chance to clinch a playoff berth yesterday against the Orioles, and only 12,000 fans showed up at the stadium.  Evan Longoria, the best player on the team, spoke to reporters about how disappointing it was that more fans were not out to support them.

On his ESPN blog, Buster Olney wrote that such complaining “makes no sense whatsoever.”  By way of explanation, he used the analogy that a bagel shop proprietor should not complain about a lack of customers despite his good bagels, and neither should the Rays complain about their lack of fans.  It’s an Insider article, so here is the quote:

Saying this stuff out loud makes no sense whatsoever, in the same way it makes no sense for a farmer or a hardware-store owner or a computer-outlet owner to complain about the customers. Can you imagine if the owner of a bagel store — and I worked as a baker in bagel stores in West Lebanon, N.H., and in Nashville during my college years — in St. Petersburg were to talk like Longoria?

[here I cut out a not-particularly-funny riff Olney goes on with Longoria’s quote altered to talk about bagels]

A bagel-store owner who says something like that would be laughed out of town. Folks who run a business — any business — put a product up for sale, and would-be patrons have the right to decide whether they want to buy the product. Nobody is obligated to buy the product, just as the Rays are not obligated to commit to staying in St. Petersburg forever.

This is wrong.  The difference between a bagel shop and a baseball team is that society does not pretend that bagel shops are transcedental community organizations, the support of which follows rules and logic different than that of simple commerce.  The entire institution of Major League Baseball, its billions of dollars of revenue, and the trickle down economy that includes the paycheck Buster Olney cashes for writing his ESPN blog, depends upon baseball being viewed as something other than a simple commercial enterprise.

I’m guessing Olney is still sore that nobody liked his bagels back in West Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Incidentally, if that bagel shop was a cherished local business whose owner had been an important member of the community for 50 years, then yes, community support would be something greater than simply customers exercising their right to not purchase a product.

Don’t write columns that undermine your own existence as a writer.  Unless that’s your point.  Which it isn’t.

Alexi Lalas Cares

I post this 2-minute ESPN video because Alexi Lalas shows a degree of intensity and investment we rarely get to see from national sports commentators.  Hell, since broad swaths of broadcast journalism have ditched their traditional impartiality, we might as well get some impassioned sports commentators, too.


Headlines from Opening Day

This appears on the front page of ESPN.com at 8:30 am Tuesday morning: 

“Jason Heyward needed only one major league at-bat Monday to validate all the talk that the Braves rookie is on his way to stardom.”

If that’s the kind of headline we’re going for, here are some others from baseball news on Monday:

  • Placido Polanco establishes himself as the Phillies’ best hitter.
  • Josh Johnson shows why the Marlins shouldn’t spend money on their players.
  • Joe Mauer thanks Minnesota for his $184 million dollar contract with 1-4 night, loss.
  • Will the Dodgers lose every game this season?