Posts Tagged ‘ESPN’

ESPN’s feature of NBA players at Great Wall of China forgot Washington Bullets’ trip in 1979

October 17, 2013

I had to mention that ESPN’s piece on NBA players visiting the Great Wall of China failed to mention that the Washington Bullets were the first team to do so back in 1979, which was very significant at the time. If any other NBA team had been there, ESPN would have mentioned it. It’s a shame that they have forgotten the Washington Bullets.

Never been busier in my life but I felt I had to post this.

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ESPN’s NFL Blitz: a very poor, subpar effort

October 2, 2011

Today’s NFL Blitz on ESPN – they showed one highlight – that’s right, one highlight – from the Redskins – Rams game. Pathetic. What used to be the greatest highlight show of all time has completely jumped the shark. Go back to the old one-hour show in which you show highlights from all games.

ESPN’s NFL Blitz is a disgraceful excuse for a highlight show

September 25, 2011

Until a few years ago, NFL Primetime, an hour-long Sunday night highlight show of NFL action hosted by Chris Berman and Tom Jackson, was one of the greatest shows in TV history. Not sports history, TV history. They covered most games with a series of highlights over inspiring music, and they showed more than any other network. Now it’s done in bits and pieces. It feels like Berman and T.J. have been demoted. While Trent Dilfer is a nice addition, they only show a few games in depth, and today they actually showed just one highlight each from several games. It’s terrible.

The NBC show starts too early, so a lot of the games are still in progress, and the cast of characters act like deer in headlights, while Dan Patrick thinks he’s too smooth. The NFL Network is ok but it doesn’t have the music and it doesn’t have Berman and T.J. Plus the NFL Network is dominated by far too many Cowboys. Maybe ESPN isn’t allowed to do an hour long highlight show because of NBC or the NFL Network holding the rights, but either way, the Blitz is lacking.

Has Michael Wilbon jumped the shark?

June 9, 2011

Is Michael Wilbon going the way of Keith Olbermann?  With his fame he has become progressively more arrogant on the air.  Today on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, he told Tony Kornheiser, “How pathetic.  A New Yorker slurping a five-year old Washington D.C. franchise? Pathetic.”  Wait, what? Both Wilbon and Kornheiser have spent more than 30 years in D.C. and are constantly disassociating themselves from the city and talking about how they love their hometowns, Chicago and New York.  But at what point do you become a Washingtonian? Kornheiser has spent more than half his sports fan life in D.C., because you don’t really become a fan until you’re at least around 7. Wilbon has spent about 30 of his 45 years as a sports fan in D.C.   Wilbon, you have it wrong.  Anyone can like the Yankees (i.e. fair weather fans). You get more respect when you root for a perennial loser rather than jumping on bandwagons.  And all Kornheiser did was mention that it was the anniversary of Stephen Strasburg’s major league debut.  It’s weird seeing Wilbon up there on NBA panels with experts like Jon Barry and Magic Johnson.  Why isn’t Jalen Rose up there instead of Wilbon?  He thinks the more you yell, the more accurate your opinions are.  It’s a shame, because Wilbon and Kornheiser both used to be good writers.  June 9, 2011 – Wilbon jumps the shark.

Wilbon: Stop campaigning for LeBron to go to Chicago – nobody cares that you’re from Chicago

July 7, 2010

Tomorrow night at 9 on ESPN Michael Wilbon will be part of LeBron James’ hour-long special on where James will play.  It’s a conflict of interest because Wilbon has campaigned for LeBron to go to Chicago or New York. Wilbon says LeBron doesn’t have a good chance to win titles in Cleveland, but that’s not true at all.  He has just as good a chance there as anywhere else. The Cavs have won an average of 63 games the past two seasons and even if they have the same team as last year, they’d be the second best team in the east, with Orlando barely edging them out.  LeBron’s best chance to win is in Cleveland and they’ll surely add another good free agent or two. They won’t have Shaq anymore – that will immediately make them better.

Another thing about Wilbon is he’s constantly talking about Chicago, where he lived more than 30 years ago. Who cares? The answer is nobody, outside of those in Chicago. Wilbon is a good writer, but I’d rather see the Post hire someone who isn’t constantly talking about where he lived as a kid. At least Mike Wise doesn’t constantly talk about Hawaii or New York where he worked previously.  It’s bad enough we have to listen to Kornheiser constantly crowing about New York.

ESPN’s World Cup coverage has been great. Now they need to do the same for MLS.

June 27, 2010

ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup has been excellent.  Chris Fowler, Mike Tirico, and Bob Ley have done a great job of hosting pre-match, halftime, and post-match shows. Color commentators Alexi Lalas, Steve McManaman, Ruud Gullit, Roberto Martinez, Jurgen Klinsmann and Shaun Bartlett have been spot on. The questions asked by Fowler, Tirico, and Ley shows they have done their homework, and ESPN is treating the World Cup with great respect – of course they have the broadcast rights to it along with ABC.

“Show it and they will come” – just like “Build it and they will come.”

Now ESPN needs to cover MLS more.  There are hour long SportsCenters in which ESPN not only doesn’t show any MLS highlights, but they don’t even mention any scores. Hockey has grown in the U.S. in large part because ESPN covers it so much. They should do the same for soccer, and MLS should try to get a contract with ESPN. If hockey can make it in the U.S., soccer can. A lot more Americans have played soccer than hockey.

Most people under 50 played soccer when they were young.  So there are more people who have played soccer than ever before in the U.S. The sport may never overtake football and basketball in America, but it may overtake hockey and baseball within 30 years.

ESPN should pay more attention to soccer and treat it with respect like Fowler, Tirico, and Ley have. Some of the anchors still joke about it when they show highlights because they think it’s a stupid sport or they don’t like the fact that some of the names of players are foreign-sounding.

ESPN: just cover MLS. You don’t have to do it a lot, just a few minutes each show, and do the occasional feature.  Whoever thinks that a ratio of 20 minutes of baseball highlights to 6 minutes of golf highlights to 0 minutes of soccer is best for the network is flat out wrong.  How about a ratio of 18 minutes of baseball to 6 minutes of golf to 2 minutes of MLS.  At least that’s better than nothing.

ESPN’s NFL draft coverage: have more Kiper and less Gruden

April 22, 2010

I’m not sure why ESPN had Jon Gruden hog so much coverage last night in the NFL draft.  We hear enough of Gruden monday nights — this was supposed to be Mel Kiper Jr.’s day.  ESPN blew it.  They should’ve had Kiper doing a summary of each player right after they were picked.  Who cares what Gruden thinks?  Kiper is the draft guru.

ESPN’s Coverage of the Australian Open

January 22, 2010

I have to give kudos to ESPN for its coverage of the Australian Open. Chris Fowler, Patrick McEnroe, Brad Gilbert, Pam Shriver, Darren Cahill, and Cliff Drysdale all do an excellent job.  Even Tom Rinaldi is there doing features.

Mary Carillo is a little annoying to me, but a lot of people like her. I’ve never liked Dick Enberg for tennis because he feels he has to constantly compare it to baseball or fooball — “like a pitcher changing speeds” or “like an outfielder looking up at the ball” — as if tennis is a completely foreign sport and people won’t understand it unless you make those comparisons.

But I’m nitpicking.  They do the tournament great justice by doing their homework and conducting good interviews.  It’s just too bad that the time difference precludes a lot of people from seeing the tennis.

We even got a shot of Chris McKendry in the crowd.  I guess they’re getting her used to the sport and letting her do a few interviews.  (By the way, years ago I watched McKendry on the local affiliate in Washington.  I couldn’t believe she was on because she spoke so slowly, as if she were a kindergarten teacher.  I didn’t think she knew sports either.  Boy, was I wrong.  She is great on ESPN.  Absolutely great).

So Kornheiser and Wilbon can continue to mock every sport other than football, basketball and baseball by asking each other, “Do you care about this? Will you watch it?”  “No.”  I can’t wait to see them ridicule next month’s Olympics.

Ironically, Terrell Owens and Steve Smith of the NFL are both at the tournament.  Owens is there to watch his friend Andy Roddick, and Smith of the Carolina Panthers was watching friend John Isner defeat Gael Monfils.

It’s funny, ESPN talks of great rivalries like Magic-Bird and Crosby-Ovechkin, but they never mention the great ones in tennis — Borg – McEnroe, Sampras – Agassi, or Federer – Nadal.

Anyway, great job, ESPN, on the coverage of the Australian.

What do you think about Vince Young now, Merril Hoge and ESPN?

December 20, 2009

So Vince Young is now 7-1 this year as a starting QB for the Tennessee Titans.  He replaced Kerry Collins, who was 0-6 as a starter.  Vince Young’s career record as a starter is 25-12.  Oh, by the way, at Texas he won a national championship and was 30-2.  He’s a winner.  Yet after he took over and started winning for the Titans this year, ESPN’s Merril Hoge said that Titans RB Chris Johnson had to do more for his team than any other player in the league.  Well, Johnson was playing when the Titans were 0-6.

A couple of weeks ago Hoge said he was going to “bury the hatchet.” Why the need to bury the hatchet if you didn’t have an axe to grind? Why not just be objective and unbiased?  Why the animosity against Young?  Earlier this year, Ron Jaworski, Trent Dilfer, Tim Hasselbeck, Mark Schlereth, Steve Young and other ESPN commentators talked about how Young was a bad QB and how he could only play outside the pocket.   The disdain they had for him was apparent.  They mocked him.  But eight games is enough of a sample to realize that Young winning isn’t a fluke.

It’s true that Johnson is the best running back in the league, but it’s not as if Young has great receivers.  Nate Washington, Justin Gage, and Kenny Britt aren’t bad, but DBs don’t especially fear them.  Maybe Young has improved his ability to make decisions and work habits. But even before this season he was 18-11.  He’s only in his fourth year, and he hardly played last year.

I think we have to raise the question:  was the media biased against Young because he is black?  Young isn’t the first black quarterback to be mocked by members of the white media.  Michael Vick has a career record of 38-28-1 as a starter, but the criticism about his ability as a QB has been unrelenting.  Take away the dogfighting controversy — that’s a separate issue.  You would think that Vick can’t read a defense by listening to some of the comments about him.  I have a pretty good idea that if a white quarterback was 25-12 or 38-28-1, he’d be getting a lot more praise. The standard is much higher for black quarterbacks.

At the same time, white quarterbacks are allowed to make mistakes. Look at Jay Cutler.  Basically, if you had listened to the media reaction, Cutler was the second coming when he was traded from the Broncos to the Bears. He has a career record of 22-28.  (He did have a winning record in high school, though).  I suggested earlier this year that he be the first player ever to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame while still playing: 2009/11/12/should-jay-cutler-be-immediately-put-in-the-nfl-hall-of-fame/

Interestingly, in that same blog, I talked about the fact that the Cleveland Browns needed to give Joshua Cribbs more playing time including at QB. Cribbs was a QB in college and set all kinds of records at Kent State, but was never given the chance to be a QB in the NFL.  He had two 100-yard kickoff returns for TDs today, and eight for his career — an NFL record.  He also runs for six yards a carry.  He also threw a perfect pass in the end zone that was dropped. I suggested that the Redskins trade for him earlier this year.  Cribbs is clearly one of the 10 best players in the NFL.

Anyway, another possibility of why ESPN hated Young so much was because he had depression earlier in his career.  Hoge and the others may have been discriminating against Young because of this.  They may have equated depression with weakness.  If someone has a concussion you don’t laugh at them for it.

Sorry, Hoge.  Young has won more than twice as many games as he has lost.  But I guess you don’t like winners.

Merril Hoge: Get a Life and get off Vince Young’s Back

November 16, 2009

I recently wrote a blog that said that sports analysis has overtaken news analysis in terms of objectivity and professionalism.  Not so for ESPN’s Merril Hoge.  He continues his hatred of Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young.

Today on NFL Countdown he said of Young:  “It’s easy to play offense when this guy (Chris Johnson) is the guy you can give the ball to… Is there any running back that has to do more for his offense than Chris Johnson?  No.”  Then why is Young 3-0 this year and Kerry Collins was 0-6 with the same players?  Why is Young 21-11 as a starter?

Now Hoge says that Patriots coach Bill Belichick made the right call last night by going for it on 4th and 2 from the Pats’ 28 yard line, up by 6 points, giving Peyton Manning a short field to win the game.

What a fool.