Where are you Mackenzie McHale? ESPN needs you.
As each month passes, I feel like the content produced by ESPN edges closer to a skewed, rating-driven approach as compared to balanced sports coverage. You can see why this would be a problem for a station dubbed as the “Worldwide Leader in Sports”, no?
Perhaps there is some brazen American woman with a sexy accent (due to her British upbringing) who is concerned with actually providing sports news to sports fans, as opposed to much of what ESPN does on a daily basis.
It should be noted that this has little to do with ESPN’s hockey coverage. While their hunger for ratings is obviously what has kept the station away from acknowledging the sport even exists at the professional level, this isn’t just about that.
The continued employment and use of Skip Bayless, consistent coverage of a below-average quarterback who is expected to be a backup this season. Factor in the embarrassment that was “The Decision” and the laser focus given to singular players or teams as compared to the entire sport, and you see what ESPN has become.
They aren’t all bad, of course. Their ensemble analyst casts on College Gameday kills it every week, the NFL crew isn’t the worst setup of all the networks (see Sharpe, Shannon) and the other specific analysts do a phenomenal job. Whether you’re talking baseball, basketball or anything else. Factor in their new devotion to soccer and there is room for a winning recipe here.
It is the tabloid-level crap that needs to be scrubbed from existence. When Skip Bayless isn’t lying about his history as an athlete, he is drumming up arguments based less on fact and more on radical opinions. That, of course, is his job. But there isn’t much real sports talk occurring every time he pollutes the airwaves.
To show how little I watch ESPN, I’m not even certain if he is on First Take, First and Ten or Cold Pizza at this point. I know it is the same format, but the delivery has changed for the worst. At least with PTI and Around the Horn there is open conversation between the journalists, Bayless and Steve A. Smith are blowhards who jump to conclusions far to the left or right of any rational thought.
Sportscenter is in the same boat but for a different reason. Not only does the nightly highlight show pander to favorites, the show will bump more newsworthy items for whatever resides atop the agenda for popular kids that night. While this isn’t a nightly occurrence, it does happen often.
Perhaps I just have bad luck and only catch Sportscenter when they’re running ridiculously slanted coverage of Tim Tebow. Maybe I only tune in when the Miami Heat are the only team in the NBA. However, I don’t think that is the case. This appears to be on par for the “worldwide leader” in how they wish to impact their audience.
No longer does the show need to present the sports stories happening that night. Now the show needs to make sure to touch on the drama with the Jets and their shitty quarterbacks, whatever LeBron had for lunch and then the rest of the news.
I can get by over-analyzing certain things. Especially stuff like Tiger Woods, any of the big four sports or even breaking stories. That is what ESPN is there for. Look at every putt Tiger has taken this year if you must. Hell, look at every route T.O. ran this preseason if it is a topical conversation. But acting like the Jets are the only team that matters is ridiculous. They aren’t even the best team in New Jersey (yeah, that’s right). They share a stadium with the Super Bowl Champions! Maybe ESPN might have some concern over Eli Manning bouncing back this season and how the defending champs defense will look. I don’t know, they only won the Super Bowl.
Regardless, it is time for Sportscenter 2.0. I just hope it comes sooner rather than later.