Category Archives: ESPN (sucks)

Apparently Cornell is a #5 Seed

It’s on ESPN’s bottomline, so it must be true!

Really? These mistakes aren’t becoming one-offs anymore.

Great season for the Washington Huskies. Just two months ago I was berating Lorenzo Romar and the players for playing their way into the NIT. On March 25th they played terrible basketball but still led at halftime against the #4 ranked team in the nation in the Sweet 16. Good luck to Quincy Pondexter (or “Quinton” according to Dick Enberg) in the NBA and everyone else report for camp next season! This team is on the verge of serious contention and needs one or two star shooters.

After all, no one expected a #6 seed like Washington to advance this far…….

In case you’re wondering, the Sounders are up 2-0 at halftime against the Union.

ESPN Ridiculously Gives Tony Kornheiser Two Week Suspension

Of all the statements to get you suspended for multiple weeks, this has got to be one of the tamest. ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser was suspended for two weeks after making his opinions known on how SportsCenter morning anchor Hannah Storm dresses. Brace yourselves for this extremely offensive remark:

“Hannah Storm in a horrifying, horrifying outfit today. She’s got on red go-go boots and a catholic school plaid skirt … way too short for somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s by now. She’s got on her typically very, very tight shirt. She looks like she has sausage casing wrapping around her upper body … I know she’s very good, and I’m not supposed to be critical of ESPN people, so I won’t … but Hannah Storm … come on now! Stop! What are you doing? … She’s what I would call a Holden Caulfield fantasy at this point.”

To me this is not even worth a suspension. Maybe a private apology to Mrs. Storm is she did indeed take offense. But really, ESPN? This is worth two weeks? It’s not sexual harassment, it’s not a sexist or misogynistic remark, it is just Kornheiser giving an honest opinion on her choice of attire in a professional workplace on live television.

I’m just glad Colin Cowherd can purposely shut down the website I happened to link to in this post (The Big Lead), and also plagiarize from the now-defunct blog The M Zone, yet come away virtually unscathed. But when Kornheiser says something about Hannah Storm’s clothing then the banhammer is coming!

To use a non-ESPN example, Glenn Beck called President Obama a racist*. No suspension. Yet Kornheiser is suspended for this. Sure these are two totally different networks serving different purposes but is there not something wrong with this?

ESPN has had their history of sexual harassment involving Harold Reynolds and Steve Phillips, but how does this even rank? This is a massive overreaction from the network execs to make this decision.

But what’s done is done and Kornheiser will have to riff on other things from now on. Enjoy your PTI vacation as I ignore Dan LeBatard for an astonishing 8 consecutive days.

* – I know I used a political reference to expand on my point about the crazy statements that do and do not get you suspended in media, and it was the first thing that popped into my head. Don’t read too much into it and watch what you say because I will remove any idiotic comments pertaining specifically to said reference.

2010 FIFA World Cup Group Stage Set

We are just 6 months away from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Thirty-two teams will compete in one of the world’s biggest sporting events. Today the group stage draw took place with the world watching to see which teams would be in which groups. The 8 groups look like this:

Group A


South Africa (hosts)

France

Uruguay

Mexico

South Africa plays Mexico to open the World Cup on June 11th. Can’t say the hosts got a good draw at all. Those are three tough teams to play….maybe South Africa can beat France on a controversial call? Justice served hopefully.

Group B


Argentina

Nigeria

South Korea

Greece

Why do I get the feeling Argentina won’t make it out of group stage? I absolutely hate watching Greece play. Extremely boring style. With attacking-sides like Nigeria and Argentina in the group maybe it will force Greece to open up their game.

Group C

England

United States

Slovenia

Algeria

England vs. USA – Saturday, June 12th, 2:30 PM ET/11:30 AM PT. Mark it down. Either the US repeats 1950 with a shock win, or potentially the biggest soccer-watching audience in American history witnesses points shared or a US loss.

Group D


Germany

Australia

Serbia

Ghana

Australia breezed through Asian WC qualifying so let’s see how improved they are since their round of 16 run in Germany last time around. Ghana also had a successful debut in 2006, also advancing to the round of 16 before bowing out against Brazil. Their midfield is quite impressive, led by Chelsea’s Michael Essien.

Group E


Netherlands

Denmark

Cameroon

Japan

This looks like the most compelling group of the World Cup. Cameroon have played World Cup spoiler before and even went as far as the quarterfinals once. Japan always gives you a good scrap and it seems like The Netherlands are one of the hottest teams in the world, not losing a single game in the World Cup qualifiers.

Group F


Italy

Paraguay

Slovakia

New Zealand

Pretty easy group for the world champions.

Group G


Brazil

Portugal

North Korea

Ivory Coast

Poor North Korea. First World Cup since 1966 and you get thrown to the wolves. That’s right folks this is the group of death. Ivory Coast really can’t catch a break either. Netherlands and Argentina last time around and now Brazil and Portugal.

Group H


Spain

Honduras

Switzerland

Chile

Spain once again gets an easy draw in the World Cup. They are favorites to win it all this time around, maybe this loaded squad featuring Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso can break their underachieving WC run after their Euro 2008 triumph.

The official World Cup schedule is set but I will hold off any postings on that until full TV rights and commentary crews are known.

Expect plenty of previews and live-blog coverage of the first ever World Cup of Soccer held in Africa.

Oh, and someone tell Alexi Lalas there is NO ONE on Portugal’s squad named “Christopher Ronaldo”.

And so it Begins….

I may not survive the season hearing this stupid drama over and over again. When Seattle travels to Minnesota I want to see 15 sacks on Fa***….and that’s just by Brian Russell. Overall he should be on the turf every time he drops back. You can’t ignore this story because it is everywhere you turn.

At least level-headed and quality journalism will prevail amidst all of the stupid crap we have endured from a certain #4.

Oops, scratch that.

Derek Rae to Call SPL Games For ESPN UK

Photo from ESPN.

Photo from ESPN.

With ESPN now completely out of the loop for the UEFA Champions League, it seems as if the loss of Derek Rae’s bread-and-butter has given him another job. The 42 year old Scotsman may be commentating on Scottish Premier League games for ESPN UK:

DEREK Rae is poised to become the voice of Scottish football once again as ESPN negotiate a homecoming for the Stateside commentator as part of their 30-game Clydesdale Bank Premier League coverage.

The Herald understands that the 42-year-old, based in Bristol, Connecticut, has been offered the chance to commentate on the station’s SPL coverage on an ad-hoc basis without hindering his commitments across the Atlantic.

Rae joined ESPN Inter­national after the World Cup in the USA in 1994 and has become one of the most distinctive and respected voices on the channel’s football cover­age in the States.

As well as Major League ­Soccer, Rae also lent his expertise to ESPN’s Cham­pions League coverage – they have since lost the rights to Fox Sports – and hosts a weekly magazine show, PressPass.

Great opportunity for Rae to work on SPL games while staying here. ESPN has plenty of unemployed Setanta talent to hire but they stayed in-house.  I wish him the best of luck and exposure in the United Kingdom. I’m certain the folks across the pond will not be disappointed.

ESPN DOES Like Soccer After All

…..And the idea of world domination. Oh yeah. They love that. But that is beside the point.

ESPN did the double dip as far as picking up soccer rights. First they surprised even me by snagging the 46 game Barclays Premier League package for the 2009-10 season that were up for grabs after (doomed) Setanta Sports lost their rights, but also snagged their 23 game bundles from the 2010-11 season to 2012-13.

ESPN has been awarded the two packages of rights containing a total of 46 matches that were available for the 2009/10 season as well as a package of 23 matches per season from 2010/11 to 2012/13.

Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, said: “The Premier League is extremely pleased to have added ESPN as a UK rights holder. They have a formidable worldwide reputation and experience in sports and I am sure we will enjoy a long and fruitful relationship with them.

“I would like to thank ESPN, as well as all the other broadcasters who submitted bids, for their professionalism and effort in engaging in our sales process at such short notice.

The 2009-10 packages include rights to the 5:15 PM GMT Saturday fixtures  as well as the Monday night 8:00 PM GMT matches.

It should also be mentioned that they did win one of Setanta’s Scottish Premier League packages so they really came out winners today. So while ESPN will be broadcasting soccer in the UK, it does not mean you’ll be seeing ESPN 2 covering live matches. They will still be broadcast on Setanta US and Canada as North American rights are separate from the UK rights.

Really shocked that Sky Sports won neither package when they had a chance at 1.

I won’t comment much further than that, other than wishing that British viewers don’t endure the likes of Shep Messing and Dave Roberts commentary mess a la ESPN International.

But wait! It gets better. ESPN has also won broadcasting rights to La Liga matches!

Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka will get a wider distribution platform in the United States next season.

ESPN said on Monday that it will start sharing U.S. television rights to Spain’s La Liga with GolTV, which has broadcast the league for the past six seasons.

ESPN2 will televise about 20 matches per season, and ESPN Deportes two or three per weekend of league play for a total of at least 95. At least 114 matches per season will be available online on ESPN360. ESPN’s networks will also share rights to Spain’s Copa del Rey.

I absolutely love this news because I finally get to watch La Liga without forking over more money to Comcast! The part where I’m skeptical is if they even think about using Dave Roberts, Steve Cangialosi, Shep Messing, etc. on their broadcasts like they do on ESPN International. If it’s not Derek Rae or even Adrian “Bad Puns and Jokes” Healey I’ll be watching with the mute button.

Hmmm…maybe if the US loses to Spain 6-0 in the semifinals of the Confederations Cup (don’t think I didn’t watch that….I live blogged with JFein on Fire Andy Reid Now!) ESPN will change their mind?

Don’t screw this up ESPN…winning this many European soccer rights should be backed up with the highest of quality. That means, for the sake of the British, don’t use your own commentators for Premier League games and hire the unemployed folks over at Setanta! It also means no Alexi Lalas. Ever.

Should be interesting to see how things unfold in August.

Never Again Shall I Watch the NFL Draft on ESPN

I wasn’t expecting the best of coverage by ESPN for the NFL Draft, but goodness me did that “coverage” suck. I know it’s hard to fill in 2 days of things to talk about, but everything from Erin Andrews’ pointless interviews, to having a bunch of talking heads, to Todd McShay dying for Seattle to draft BJ Raji (when we already have Brandon Mebane, Cory Redding, and Colin Cole) was too much to handle. This cannot be possible. For lack of a better phrase, they half-assed one of the biggest days in the NFL that has absolutely nothing to do with playing the game itself. There was nothing positive about this year’s telecast.

I used to like Chris Berman. On Saturday though? Pathetic. His puns are worse than ever “The 4 hour mile”, he constantly strung together incoherent sentences broken up in between more incoherent sentences. It’s like he wanted to set up one of his colleagues before the pick was made but it just came off as awkward. When the highlights of Matthew Stafford were narrated by Boomer I couldn’t bear it. He could not possibly have been prepared. He looks so lost and it’s embarrassing. If I’m ESPN I’m thinking of phasing him out slowly.

Steve Young, Mark Sanchez is “Presidential” in the way he dresses? What the hell are you talking about? He did this again later on with another player. Young is a good analyst but even he was awful. It’s like he was intent on shouting over everybody with insane observations while stressing the importance of the QB position. Frankly I’d rather have Emmitt Smith back than listen to Young again. At least I’m guaranteed entertainment I can laugh at.

The team of Berman, Mel Kiper, Steve Young, and Keyshawn Johnson made my life hell. I had to mute the TV several times because it wasn’t intelligent debating. It was 4 guys shouting over nothing. You may not like Around the Horn, but the mute button is probably the best part of that show.

Todd McShay should be fired because he adds nothing other than arguing with Kiper but you already knew that.

Michael Smith was so awkward over the weekend with his little touch screen draft board thingamajiggy. He couldn’t articulate himself properly much of the time and is not good on TV. Stick to reporting and writing because you do a solid job in that department.

We’re not done yet. The pointless “sideline reporting” has reared its ugly head yet again. Erin Andrews interviewing Matthew Stafford before the official announcement that he would be the #1 overall pick AND after Roger Goodell made it official was unnecessary. Why do we need immediate thoughts from them after they’ve been selected?! It’s just more talking heads that are not needed for a professional broadcast.

Where is ESPN getting these people? An injury analyst? Are you serious?! Pedro Gomez should be banned from television. If he’s going to tell me that Edgerrin James was watching the Heat/Hawks playoff game with his kids then I’m not a happy camper.

Enough picking apart of individual people, let’s go to the production itself. I know they’re at the mercy of advertisers, but going to commercial break 4 minutes before a pick is about to be made is unacceptable! They ended up missing the final pick of the 1st round.

It’s also anticlimactic for the cameras to zoom in on a player who is on the phone smiling, knowing he’s about to be selected by whichever team is on the clock. Can’t you just wait 20 seconds instead of practically giving away the pick? I swear they did this 6 or 7 times in the first 15 picks.

Why do I need these stupid polls on the ticker? They put up one that asked “Will Josh Freeman be the starting QB in week 17?”. Zero percent said yes, and zero percent said no. Come on. It’s bad enough I have a bunch of guys shouting nonsense to me, what’s the purpose of adding reader polls after nearly every pick?

I’m going to leave it there even though I have some more things to say.

That is the last time I’m watching the NFL Draft on ESPN. My tolerance has been pushed off a cliff. It’s like they don’t even care what they do anymore. Since I know you’re scoping blogs ESPN, hear me on this one (and just about every other blog and media outlet there is), your COVERAGE IS BEYOND TERRIBLE.

I’ll watch it online if I have too. I can’t stand it anymore. It’s obvious they aren’t getting any better at what they’re supposed to do. Excess doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. I’m fine with simplicity. ESPN is not capable of understanding that, and I know that I’m not the only one fed up with this.

Check back in June when I end up writing the same thing about the NBA Draft.