1) Is it me, or has ESPN become so over-the-top, hyperbolic, and hype-infested, that they are bordering on insufferable? I haven’t watched much of Sports Center lately – mostly because I prefer the relatively tame, play-it-straight ESPNews. After tuning into sports center over the past couple of days, now I know why.
Stuart Scott, seemingly more full of himself and his
cleverness by the day, telling us about a “sick” “crazy good” nine yard
Reggie Bush in a pre-season game – that’s right – Scott is trotting out
full adjectival repertoire to tell us about a nine-yard preseason run.
ESPN, never able to find an adequate line between being a news
a promotional machine – telling us that the Saints-Cowboys’ preseason
night match-up – which they, of course, are broadcasting - is a “big
game.</> And, in the endless, over-the-top paeans to Tiger Woods,
there’s ESPN ignoring what’s most interesting and compelling about its
graphics. After Tiger’s win at the PGA championship on Sunday, ESPN
graphic comparing Tiger’s first forty majors to Nicklaus’ first forty.
say up front that I am a) not a golfing enthusiast but b) excited by
historic dimensions of Tiger’s greatness. In other words, I like it
wins. Furthermore, in whatever debate remains about Tiger vs. Jack, I
a friend likes to say, no dog in this hunt.
But, what the graphic showed was something so utterly astounding to me that I could not believe that no one commented on it – not on ESPNews, or Sportscenter. It compared the number of first, second and third place finishes of the two men and showed that Tiger has, of course, won 12 majors through his first forty starts, a remarkable total, and four better than Jack through forty tournaments. But, while the ESPN guys were blabbering on and on about the incomparable Tiger, I stared at the graphic in disbelief – under Nicklaus – 8 first place finishes, 9 second place finishes and 23 third place finishes. That’s right – in Jack’s first forty major tournaments, over the course of a decade, he finished in the top three EVERY SINGLE TIME. (Tiger placed in the top-3 31 or 32 times – I can’tremember now). The problem for me here is that ESPN is so stuck on its preferred narratives – and, for the moment, one of those is of the surpassing greatness of Tiger – so much so that ESPN can’t, apparently, think or analyze beyond that narrative,even when a non-Tiger achievement of astounding proportions is staring its talking heads right in the face.
2) I had the pleasure (not) of hearing John Rocker on the radio yesterday. His interlocutor, 850 the Buzz’s Chris Clark asked him about the Yankees-Red Sox series and Rocker noted how the Yankees’ starters were getting deeper into games, thus taxing their bullpens less (true in general this weekend), and noted that Yankee starter Cory Lidle went deeper yesterday than Boston’s David Wells. Except, of course, that he didn’t. Lidle pitched six innings – Wells pitched into the 8th. Naturally, Clark didn’t call Rocker on this – nothing should get in the way of a good, seamless, narrative, of course. In fact, Yankee starters left the game before their Bosox counterpart in each of the final three games of the series.
Rocker also treated his audience to some of his larger views of the world – he’s selling t-shirts saying “Speak English” – by way of promoting his own special brand of tolerance.
In that spirit, I close with a Talmudic saying – courtesy of the great Red Sox website, Sons of Sam Horn:
“We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are.”