Monday, May 29, 2006

DEAR ESPN,

What the "F" happened to you??!! I mean seriously. Your "product" been on a steady decline for years. I mean you are the worldwide leader in sports, ACT LIKE IT FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD!! You had the sports television market cornered, there was no where else to go for quality sports programming. Then comes FOX Sports networks, and you got all panicky, "Sweet grandmother's spatula, they have Tom Arnold, we'd better retool and reformat!" Yes as intimidating as Tom Arnold is, he was married to Roseanne after all, I think you would survive. But no, you decided it was time to reinvent yourself. The thing of it is FOX Sports was good for regional market coverage and people would still watch ESPN. I mean reformatting yourself is like commercials for milk. I mean who were those ads targeting, people unaware of the existence of milk? But I digress. You tweeked everything from Sportscenter to your overall programming, trying to tap into the latest fads every chance you got.

You just had to get into the reality TV craze, after I begged you not too! I mean your makeshift Amazing Race/ Road Rules type show, the name of which I have omitted from my memory, was painful to watch (I couldn't sit through one whole episode). "Dream Job" an American Idol for sports reporters/ anchors was a train wreck! The judges were, well, god awful, and no one wants to watch the guys who aren't good enough. I mean one of the judges was Kit from the very first Road Rules and of course ESPN2's Cold Pizza. I mean, honestly , is there something in the water in Bristol? Or is there a bunch of monkeys with typewriters running things? How 'bout Knight School, or following any team through the Life and whatnot. Do I honestly want to watch overpaid jocks and what they do everyday? No, I do not. And now you're as buddy, buddy with Barry Bonds as Bush is with Exxon!

Now take away the fact that he more than likely took steroids, he has the personality and prescence of a door. And not a fancy door, with a knocker and such, just a plain rectangle of wood with a knob, hooked to frame by some hinges. Bonds on Bonds, really. Was Bill Belichik not available? And seriously if I have to watch one more frickin Tim Kurkijan package on Bonds accomplishments I may throw something! Not to mention this crap about watching every Bonds at bat until he finally broke Ruth's record (for second place mind you)! Many don't care at all, because Bonds is an A-S-S! and everyone knows it. So, ESPN, why are you trying to make us like him? Why are you using 20 minutes of a Baseball Tonight (probably a 42 minute show after commercials) to show Bonds' postagme press conference, highlights from his past, what he ate for breakfast, the kid who caught the ball, etc. WE KNOW he has hit a lot of homeruns, but I tune in for proper analysis and highlights of baseball, not too sit and watch half a show on one player. How 'bout some balanced reporting? Bonds doesn't even play everyday, just lingering around to pass Ruth. It's something of pathetic how ESPN turns away from the whole steroid thing and persistently shoves Bonds greatness down our throats. This is not you ESPN! You are supposed to be my pure, wholesome locale for sports news, events and highlights. Ah yes, news and highlights.

Sportscenter was the place where I would look to get all my latest sports info. I would watch two, sometimes three or four of the exact same one, in a row! Now I can barely stomach one. I used to be able to name all the Sportscenter anchors, and now I only no the ones who are mentioned by name on an ESPN commercial (the commercials are still funny) or are mentioned on Deadspin. What has caused this change you ask? Well "Plays of the Week" are long gone, replaced by the Ultimate Highlight Reel (which in essence is the same thing, but sleeker and shinier for the hip-hop generation, yuck!). I miss the clever lead in by Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick, "On this week's edition of "Plays of the Week" you won't find Steve Trout, Kevin Bass or Catfish Hunter. Also not appearring: Jim Walewander, the Miami Dolphins or Steve Lake. And the the little Plays of the Week theme music, "PLAYS (organ) ... OF (organ) ... THEWEEK (ORGAN!!!). It was great! I always looked forward to the Sunday night Sportcenter, my friend Tim and I even watched it on a projector screen in his dorm room once. But that's another story for another time. I don't think they even do the Ultimate Highlight Reel anymore. The last time I watched it, Chris "You're with me Leather" Berman just showed his top ten plays. Not at once, mind you, but separated, so five were in the front half of the show and last five in the back half of the show. Don't even get me started on Berman, that's a whole nother blog for a whole nother time. But I will talk about the Sportscenter anchors.

The anchors these days from what I can tell are not very good. Some of there catchy calls, don't even make sense. I do enjoy Scott Van Pelt's Tenacious D references, but most of the others are just plain awful and boom goes the dyanmite! They just spout out random lines from poop culture at, what seems like, idavertent times. They're not very creative, except for maybe Neil Everett. Some of my old favorites:
"Put the biscuit in the basket."
"Gianluca Pagliuca, Gianluca Pagliuca"
"I'm not sure what the pitch was, but it tastes like chicken!"
"Behold the power of cheese!"
"Bring me the finest meats and cheeses..."
"It's deep and I don't think it's playable!"
"The WHIiiiffff."
"Nothing but the bottom of the net"
"The hardest thing to do, hit a baseball"
I could go on and on, but I won't, because there are a lot more points of bitterness to hit here.

Now what is the deal with the Budweiser Hot Seat??!! First off, BUDWEISER?! Seriously?! I gotta feel that someother beer could been sponsoring this! Perhaps Miller High Life, the champagne of beers?? And before I get any nasty comments about neglecting the finer beers in life like Genny Cream Ale, Pabst Blue Ribbon, etc., I will give in to the fact that the sponsor must at least be a well advertised beer, and as far as those go High Life is right up there. But think about the lead in..."and Jon Kitna, back in the High Life again, in the Miller Hot seat!" Huh? Huh? But in all honesty this segment should never exist. It's about as entertaining as 10 Yards with TB on the FOX NFL pregame show. I mean really? What is the point of this, am I supposed to be entertained?

Here's a novel idea gang, show sports! I mean actual sporting events! And have some alternate games at the ready. So when your Baseball game is a game I can watch in my market and gets blacked out, there's another game you can air and not just three hours of ESPN News! And perhaps you could save the Poker, Rodeos and Strongest Man competitions for like one or two in the morning where they belong! Well okay, maybe not Strongest Man, but you get my point. I mean it's Memorial Day and there are about ten afternoon games in Major League Baseball you could pick to show, but what would you rather put on your networks? Oh that's right I forgot the much anticipated Paintball Championships were today as well, so that'll be on for a good several hours on ESPN2 and it's the action packed college baseball selection show is on ESPN at 11:30am followed by the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship (that's okay, even though I'm not a big lacrosse fan at least it's sports!), then it's time for poker, Sportscenter, Baseball Tonight, Bonds on Bonds, and more Poker. Good work, I'll be glued to the tube all day! That's sarcasm, by the by. Please, ESPN, look down deep inside and find the old you, the one I knew and loved. In the words of former Sportscenter Anchor Craig Kilborn, "Come on. You're better than that."

3 comments:

  1. Good post. I also liked the old plays of the week intro but wasn't there also an air horn that would go off afterwards.

    "Plays..of..THE WEEK" Errnn Errnn.......

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  2. I thought it was Vince Vaughn who said, "Come on, you're better than that" in Old School.

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  3. It seems to me that ESPN is just one big promo for it self. Come on...am I really gonna watch code breakers?

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