Friday, September 25, 2009

How can they keep this objective?

The Sports Business Daily has reported that ESPN has hired the Kraft Sports Group to sell local advertising for its new baby Now you may already have made the connection between the names Kraft and Boston: Bob Kraft is the owner of the New England Patriots. Now something seems odd here when a supposedly objective news site suddenly decides to hire as an ad agency people who own a team in the area. I wonder if Mr. Kraft has any incentive to paint his team in a good light, and to make sure ESPN does the same. Well, we don't have to wonder anymore because it seems apparent that the first of many shady deals may have already been struck.

As some may know, Tom Brady and Gisele are being sued by 2 photographers because security guards that Brady had hired for the wedding shot at the photographers taking pics from afar. Now I'm a Patriots fan and I'll defend Spygate till the end of time, but this seems like a pretty fucking serious offense. These guys could have been killed, when clearly they were just paparazzi trying to make a quick buck. Now I think invasion of privacy sucks and I can understand hiring security, but read this quote from the lawsuit:

The photographers, both residents of Costa Rica, tried to drive away when they spotted a drawn gun in the hands of one bodyguard, the lawsuit said.

At that moment, a bodyguard fired the gun, shattering the rear window of the sports utility vehicle with a bullet that then hit the front windshield and ricocheted off it into the driver's seat, the lawsuit said.

"The bullet narrowly missed striking the heads of Cortez and Aviles," the lawsuit said.

That seems pretty intense, and also seems like these guys have a valid case. However, this story was not covered on Rather, it was relegated to and thus saved Brady from more humiliating national exposure. Can ESPN seriously be doing this? This is the textbook definition of a conflict of interest. How can they get away with it? Reminds me of them trying to hide another big lawsuit this summer...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ESPN Tinkers With Realignment Plan, Part II

Just weeks after Buck Showalter's stupid and completely unprompted "plan" to revitalize Major League Baseball by randomly contracting 2 teams and creating 4 new divisions when his plan rendered divisions unnecessary, ESPN is at it again!  This week's sport?  Hockey!!

Shockingly, John Buccigross, who technically isn't even an analyst - he just reads off hockey highlights for a living - is the only "expert" of these 4 who seemed to put some thought into this. John at least gave reasons for his proposed realignment, something no one else bothered to do (despite the fact that their job title is "analyst").  Scott Burnside, Pierre LeBrun, and Barry Melrose followed Buck Showalter's methodology, a.k.a. write down the first thing that comes to your mind, regardless of whether or not your plan would make sense. Pierre and Barry don't even mention that the NHL would rather expand to Europe than anywhere else.  Scott Burnside's attempt at humor was pretty lame too.  That must be embarrassing for somebody who likes hockey - being called lame.  

I've wanted to like hockey since its return from the lockout because I can't think of a less exciting winter sport than the NBA.  Can't wait to hear ESPN's new plan to revitalize the "No Balls Association" (the acronym Bill Simmons will repeat ad nauseum this coming season) - it should be due out soon.  Here's betting this asinine subject is what Bill Simmons devotes his next column to.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In My Humble Opinion

I think the jury is still out on these "ESPN Local" sites.  ESPN has certainly been pleased with the success of ESPNChicago, which launched in the late spring. Over the summer, in the first few months after launch, the Chicago site averaged 555,000 unique viewers, more than the number of unique viewers to the Chicago Tribune or Chicago Sun-Times on-line sports pages (424,000 and 256,000, respectively).

In principle, I think ESPN has made a shrewd marketing decision here in attempting to fill the power vacuum currently being left by local newspapers and news stations.  Newspapers have been digging themselves into a hole for a decade now, and ESPN's quick rise in the local market, if isolated to one or two cities at this point, speaks to that decline.  To average just shy of half the market share in just three months is staggering - and the number of unique viewers continues to grow (700,000 to ESPNChicago in July). How much contempt for their own product do newspapers have?  At least the Sun-Times doesn't have that "rat" Jay Mariotti around anymore.  

The early success of ESPNChicago certainly speaks to ESPN as a brand, even if they are trying to cater to a local audience by luring local writers and reporters and securing local advertising to these sites.  By virtue of name recognition, ESPN can certainly draw viewers to these pages.

As the previous post noted, ESPNBoston is the latest in this venture, soon to be followed by Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York editions.  As someone who lives near the city, I will be following the success of ESPNNew York closely when it launches in a few months.  To me, the success of the New York site may dictate the ultimate direction of this project.  New York is the largest city of them all - it will be tougher to compete for market share there - with a total of nine local professional teams.  Moreover, New York already has well-established outlets for sports-related discussion: WFAN, the Post, the Daily News, etc.  ESPN Radio has never been able to compete with WFAN, and despite the FAN's downturn in the last two years, I would expect it to remain comparatively successful and the go-to station.  

Considering that local coverage is as poor as it is, I hope ESPN goes beyond just its brand name here.  I won't measure its success in page views, but rather whether it can replace suffering local institutions with substantive commentary.  If it can't, kudos to them on a wise business decision, but this venture should be about more than proving how many people can recognize the brand.


Do we really need this?

ESPN Boston.

ESPN already devotes so much of their time to Boston sports, do they really need a separate website? Not like I ever have to worry about a Red Sawk highlight being on Sportcenter within the first ten minutes every morning.

Be prepared to hear the endless "log on to for the latest news." Was ESPN Chicago just a stepping stone for this nonsense?

- Long live NESN!

Maybe I'm Bitter After Saturday Night...

...but if I have to see ESPN air the USC "Lean on Me" segment again, I will be the opposite of extremely happy.  I first saw this on Saturday morning on Gameday, and SportsCenter will be replaying it in a matter of minutes.  You're telling me ESPN can't come up with something new in 5 days? Don't subject me to it tomorrow.  Somebody call ESPN's human interest division/Jeremy Schapp to do some puff piece to replace this.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


This is passed along to us by faithful reader LC. He must be a fan of the Jayhawks because he's tipped us off as to a couple of similarities between articles on and ESPN's Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin (not to be confused with Timothy Griffin, a Karl Rove dick sucker, but hey who knows in Kansas).

Now LC points out to us that this past Monday there was an article by Dugan Arnett on KUSports that breaks down how Kansas' running game has really turned it around from last year. Nothing wrong with that. However, the very next day Timmy Griffin posted his piece citing much of the same details as the KUSports one.

Now we're willing to cut Tim some slack. It's obviously going to be a story that Kansas' running game has drastically improved this year to the point where they actually have 3 of the top 10 rushers in the Big 12. The fact that Griffin's article comes a day after Arnett's could just have to do with deadlines and what not. However, it's worth noting that when things happen multiple times it becomes a trend.

Back in August Eric Sorrentino wrote an article about coach Mark Mangino's relationship with quarterback Todd Reesing. It includes a lovely anecdote about one time when Todd went over to the sideline expecting to go over something with Mangino when instead Mark asked him what he thought about how the market was doing. The article is a classic 'no one believed in me except coach' story. This, of course, also shows how close the two are because Todd manages to get Mangino to talk about something other than eating a bacon wrapped steak covered in mayo for dinner.

Now a couple weeks later Griffin writes his own article praising Todd Reesing and uses the exact same anecdote as Sorrentino used 2 weeks before. In addition, much of the article is about how Reesing is underrated and wasn't a sexy pick to play in college except that Mangino saw potential in him. He got that twinkle in his eye normally reserved for the buffet line.

Now we want to reiterate that we're not accusing Griffin of anything here. Copying someone's work is a horrible crime that should not be taken lightly. These are just some things to think about and hopefully our readers will diligently alert us if this trend continues. We will agree though, that as NY Post columnist Phil Mushnick says, "ESPN never hesitates to make its reporters look as if they've copied someone else's homework."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bryon Russell: Expert on American Society

Thanks to the always reliable and caring idiots I call my landlords, I finally have power and cable in my apartment. Kudos to KZ and DD for picking up the slack in the last couple weeks.

The first program I watched upon receiving Comcast Digital Cable? Outside the Lines with Bob Ley! And yes, Bob asked the following question of Bryon Russell - better known as the dude who Jordan pushed away before his "last shot" against the Jazz in '98: "Is civility a problem in America?"

Bob - love the integrity - but stick to asking Bryon Russell questions about MJ and not his opinion on Joe Wilson and tennis stars cursing. Whatever the hell he's doing now (apparently an NBA comeback?) does not qualify him as the next Jesse Jackson. Nor do I give a crap what Byron Russell says.

More to come in the next couple days.

UPDATE: My bad. As a commenter noted, it's Bryon, not Byron Russell. I'll tell myself that my oversight reinforces my point that anything Bryon Russell says in the future will be ultimately forgettable.

Keyshawn Johnson is a bum

At least that's what Derrick Mason, top WR for the Ravens, thinks. This was in response to Keyshawn calling the Ravens receivers a bunch of bums themselves. Here's what was actually said:
Cris Carter:

"One thing I have to respect of [G.M.] Ozzie [Newsome] in Baltimore, they have a philosophy to their team. They have a philosophy . . . spend money on Ray Lewis and defense to keep people off of Ray. They've won that way and I'm not going to knock that. They only have a certain number of dollars out of that pie still available for the wide receivers. Wide receivers, you get what you pay for. You don't spend no money on them, that's what you going to get."


Keyshawn Johnson: "Hey it is true though. You want a bum, you pay a bum."

Now Derrick wasn't too happy about this, and didn't feel their 38-24 thumping of the Chiefs answered enough questions about their receivers. Derrick responded with this lovely quote:

"Keyshawn Johnson is the bum, that's why he's in the analyst seat," receiver Derrick Mason told Freeman. "He tried to come back to football but no one would sign him. He was never that good a player. He got lucky and signed on in Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl because they had a great defense.

"Just look at the two people doing the criticizing, that's all I'm saying. Keyshawn was overrated and Carter is in the same boat I'm in. He doesn't have a Super Bowl ring either. He's in the analyst seat without a ring. At least I'm playing. He still wants to play but he can't anymore. We're the bums? That's why you're in the analyst seat. Just be quiet and keep dreaming you still could play."

Frankly we think Derrick Mason is totally fine to call out Keyshawn and Cris if those guys are gonna come at them like that. However, here's where ESPN's penchant for being ESPN comes in. ESPN reps actually emailed PFT to request they change their story because Keyshawn didn't call anyone in particular a bum. Maybe not, but he did make a blanket statement referring to THEIR ENTIRE RECEIVING CORP. Please ESPN, why can't you just admit when you are wrong. You are not god despite trying to be.

Here's Mike Freeman's own response. He's the guy who originally reported the story and was told by Derrick Mason what he reported.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Some Things that Bother Me

On Saturday, this news item was on ESPN's home page.

Of course Brett Favre was going to be named captain. Because if he didn't get voted, then he would start crying. We all know how much of a flopping pussy he is, seeing as he announced his (fourth or fifth) retirement on the eve of training camp and then announced his comeback halfway through August. Ms. Favre thinks he's a) good enough to skip training camp or b) a douchebag who only cares about himself...or both.

What I found enjoying was this line:

He addressed the team on Monday, saying he felt the need to let them know personally that he ended his second retirement for the right reasons.

The right reasons?

1) Get revenge on Green Bay

2) Spite the Jets

3) Be able to skip training camp and do whatever he wants

Almost as pathetic as Favre is that stupid captain patch they wear in the NFL. Thank god my beloved Eagles don't wear that shit.

My ire for Favre might have blurred the point that this is not headline worthy. I fathom that there would be plenty of headlines between the MLB playoff race, NFL injury notes, and, oh yeah, college football.

In other news, I woke up to read John Clayton's late night story. Seriously, how is such a scrawny fuck a NFL expert? He doesn't look like he's played a down of football in his life. At best he was the high school waterboy who got taped to the goalpost.

Anyways, I digress. His first statement claims that Donovan McNabb should have been pulled before his injury. Honestly, was he watching the game, or at least check the drive log?

Sure, Philly was up 21. But McNabb threw an interception on their first drive, and after another Delhomme INT, there were more than eight minutes left in the quarter.

If Big Red pulled D-mac before that drive, Kevin Kolb would probably not have led a scoring drive. In fact, what I've seen in his regular season appearances suggests that Kolb would have fumbled the ball or thrown an interception. One score and the Panthers are within 14 in the third quarter.

Sorry, John, you don't take the quarterback out at that point in the game. That's why you're a failure. Just like Brett Favre.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The most entertaining thing I've watched in a long time

I don't need to say anything. It's Skip Bayless and Chad OchoCinco arguing on First and 10. Skip is tearing Chad to shreds and he just sits there and takes it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

ESPN's Trent Dilfer buddies up to Michael Crabtree

Trent Dilfer, best known for being the ugly and shitty quarterback of the Super Bowl winning Ravens earlier this decade, proves that a team can win essentially on defense alone. Now he's just another former terrible football player (Hi Tim Hasselbeck!) doing analysis for ESPN. ProFootballTalk reported that he had a lovely throwing session with Michael Crabtree, during which he determined that Mr. Crabtree looked good and was ready for the season. Now the purpose of the article was to suggest that Crabtree is about to give in and sign with the 49ers. However, ESPNfail wants to highlight a different part of the article. Here's the depressing line:

"Dilfer said he did not discuss the lingering holdout with Crabtree."

Wait a minute, hasn't Crabtree's primadonna-ness this summer been a big story? He fucked up getting other draft picks immediately after him signed because he was a baby and felt he deserved more money. Keep in mind this is a guy coming off surgery and HASN'T PLAYED AN NFL DOWN YET. I wonder why Dilfer didn't ask him the tough question though. Maybe it's because ESPN sees potential in Crabtree, a 2 time Biletnikoff winner, as a future star of the league they surely would not want to alienate. That would reduce their access to him and you definitely don't wanna get on an athlete's bad side as an analyst! Fuck you Trent Dilfer. I hope you die choking on your undeserved Super Bowl ring.

Big Brother rears its ugly head again

ESPN has a lovely show called 'The Sports Reporters,' which gives a number of famous sportswriters a forum to talk about the issues of the day. On last Sunday's edition Mike Lupica made this comment about Pete Carroll's pathetic tenure at USC:

"Carroll is in his ninth year there, his record is 89-15, and I swear, they've underachieved," Lupica said. "I really believe SC should have won more national championships than it's won on Pete Carroll's watch."

Wait a minute, we're talking about the USC that has won 2 championships in the last 9 years right? Not the one that affectionately nicknames itself the Cocks? How have they possibly underachieved? Obviously only the midget Lupica knows so much about how to win national titles.

Now this is bad enough that ESPN lets this ugly troll of a man on national television. However, it gets both better and worse. First the better: ESPN the magazine senior writer Bruce Feldman disagreed with Lupica and took his opinion to Twitter:

Mike Lupica sez Pete Carroll's team is "underachieving" Right, cause Carroll's the one who's been livin off his rep & mailin it in 4 years.

OHOHO SHOWDOWN AT THE OK CORRAL! This looks like an ol' fashiond battle O' gunslingers!
However, don't bust that nut just yet! The thought police at ESPN forced him to delete the post because it was "inappropriate." Mannnnnn ESPN doesn't let anyone have fun.

Thanks to Michael David Smith of Fanhouse for this report.