Saturday, May 22, 2010

ESPN at it once again

I've already addressed my disdain for ESPN's sports score ticker, and how useless and outdated it is with advancements in the internet. It is one of the main reasons I avoid ESPN as much as I possibly can. Tonight, however, ESPN2 was showing the 1989 fight between Evander Holyfield and Michael Dokes, and I wanted to see the fight. I could not help but notice the ticker at the bottom and the order in which they were relaying the main topics of the stories.

The Lead - makes sense, the top sports stories of the day.
MLB - all of the scores from the day's baseball games.
NBA - the score of the Celtics vs. Magic playoff game.
NHL - the score of the Canadians vs. Flyers playoff game.
LeBron - do I seriously need to continue ???????

What ?!?!?! WHAT ?!?!?! Correct me if I'm wrong, but LeBron James is a player in the NBA. What the hell is he doing with his own classification on the sports score ticker? Shouldn't any news pertaining to LeBron James be listed under the NBA subtitle? Is he above and separate from the game? Could you imagine this debacle of a television station in the late 80's?

The Lead

Seriously ESPN, if you want to stick your tongue down LeBron's throat, could you at least do it in private?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Most Profitable Brothel on Earth, The NCAA

The NCAA needs to be fired. It is slowly ruining everything that is great about collegiate athletics. I'm not going to get into the bowl games vs. playoffs debate, nor am I going to comment on the numerous things that are wrong with the BCS. I'm talking about how watered down and meaningless the postseason has become.

I remember a time when getting an invitation to a bowl game used to mean something. It was a sign of an accomplishment, something to be proud of. It was a showcase for the best teams in the country and a reward for a season well played. New Years Day featured four bowl games, the Rose, Orange, Sugar and Cotton. Playing on New Years Day meant you were the best of the best. This is all a thing of the past now, thanks to the NCAA succumbing to the almighty advertising dollar. Now there are 14 bowl games on or after New Years Day, fourteen. Included in these 14 games last season were can't miss match ups like Central Michigan vs. Troy, South Florida vs. Northern Illinois, Connecticut vs. South Carolina and a 6-6 Florida St team playing West Virginia. A team that doesn't even have a winning record playing in a bowl game on the same day as the Rose and Sugar bowls, disgusting!!

To put it into perspective, Florida St had lost two more games going into their New Years Day bowl game in 2009 than every single team playing on New Years Day in 1979 combined. 10-0-1 USC against 11-0 Ohio St in the Rose, 10-1 Houston against 10-1 Nebraska in the Cotton, 10-1 Oklahoma against 11-0 Florida St in the Orange and 11-0 Alabama vs. 10-1 Arkansas in the Sugar. Now we get 6-6 teams, match ups of 7-5 teams, and if we're really lucky we might get a 9-3 vs. 8-4 match up. Good times.

It's going to get worse. In 1995 there were 18 bowl games, which meant of course that 36 teams went to bowl games. About 30% of the teams in 1A college football made a bowl game. In the upcoming season, there is going to be 35 bowl games, or 70 teams. Nearly 60% of the teams will be playing in a bowl game. It's practically inevitable that we will soon be seeing a team with a losing record in a bowl game (it has already happened one time before). If teams with a losing record are getting invited to a bowl game, then getting an invitation to a bowl game really doesn't mean much, does it? We managed to win 5 of our 12 games, pack your bags boys, we're going to a New Years Day bowl game. Teams with a losing record have no business whatsoever playing in a bowl game. Teams that don't have a winning record have no business whatsoever playing in a bowl game. The NCAA puts countless teams on probation for players receiving inappropriate funds, and turns around and sells out the postseason to any advertiser with a bank account.

To come to the conclusion that the NCAA has put making a buck a higher priority than the integrity of college football, one needs to look no further than the names of the bowl games themselves. The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, Eagle Bank Bowl, GMAC Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Papa Bowl, Bowl, Outback Bowl and the Capital One Bowl. Even the most prestigious bowl games have sold their soul, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and the FedEx Orange Bowl. The Rose Bowl attempted to save its' dignity by claiming it does not have a sponsor, that it is merely presented by a company or product. The Rose Bowl Presented by AT&T, The Rose Bowl Presented by Play Station 2, and currently The Rose Bowl Presented by Citi. Nice play on words, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. Ten years from now it will be the Southern California Edison Rose Bowl presented by Nintendo Game Boy.

The NCAA didn't stop there however, ruining college football's postseason wasn't good enough. They decided it was a good idea to expand the NCAA March Madness Tournament to 68 teams. I guess 64 wasn't enough, they needed to bring in some more teams. After all, since 1985 when the Tournament expanded to 64 games, the #16 seed is 0-104 and the #15 seed is 4-100. Add that up, a combined 4-204 record out of the bottom two seeds in 25 years ... and adding more teams is a good idea. They really wanted to expand it to 96 teams, but caved in after college basketball fans loudly protested that 96 teams would water down the field. This is why the NCAA gets away with garbage like this, because fans complain that 96 is too many. Fans should've been complaining that 64 is too many. Actually, I guess it's 65, huh? Two teams play a game to see who will be the 64th seed. Look on the bright side though, thanks to the 14 year 10.3 billion dollar deal the NCAA just inked, we can watch all 4,872 games of the Tournament on TV. Well, maybe you can ... I'm not going to. I have better things to do than watch two worthless teams playing each other for the right to be slaughtered by a #1 seed. Just in case you missed that, that was 10.3 billion, with a B. It's no wonder why the NCAA cracks down so hard on schools when their players receive any money, they want all of the money to themselves. It's a damned shame I can't buy stock in the NCAA.

The bowl games have become unwatchable, and March Madness has become unwatchable. Collegiate athletics used to stand for something, it was everything that is pure about sports. A bunch of kids with no chance of playing professional sports, giving it everything they have on the field or court, playing for the love of the game. Now you can't even pick that message up anymore ... you're too busy being brainwashed about which pizza to eat, or insurance company to use, or which credit card, or where to take your car to get it fixed, or how to finance your vehicle, or ... or ... or ... or ... or ... or ... or ... or ...

So welcome to the Bunny House Brothel, Madam NCAA has a collection of nice sports for the right price.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

ESPN Sports Center proves once again it is pure trash

I can go on a two hour rant explaining why ESPN Sports Center has gone from one of the greatest shows on TV to the most unwatchable show on TV, but I am going to leave that alone for now and just deal with the latest abomination from that show.

This afternoon, Colorado Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez pitched the first no-hitter in the Rockies 18 seasons in Major League Baseball. I had turned my back on Sports Center years ago because the vomit bags were getting too expensive to replace. I went against my better instinct and turned on Sports Center tonight, wanting to see the final out of the Jimenez no hitter. I assumed I wouldn't have to wait for long as surely the no-hitter is going to be the top story. I will never underestimate how badly ESPN can butcher a program again, never.

According to whatever monkeys and baboons they have working as editors and directors, the top story was not the no-hitter ... it was a 20 inning game that ended 2-1. How on Earth does a boring 20 inning game that nobody outside of St. Louis or New York cared about get the lead story over a pitcher throwing a no-hitter ??? Just another reason to hate ESPN in my book, and another example of just how full of themselves they are over at that station. ESPN not only takes the stand that the world of sports would cease to exist without them, but they also feel as if they have the authority and the power to dictate to you which story is important at which time.

Let's be honest here for a second ... is there seriously an anchor on Sports Center that you don't want to reach through the TV and strangle? Without a shadow of a doubt, the most annoying talking heads on TV. I will truly celebrate the day when that heap of cow manure goes off the air for good. Eventually, or should I say hopefully, the citizens of this country will figure out what a waste of an hour of their life it is to listen to these clowns repeating the same things they have been saying for the past 10 years. The next time I hear Chris Berman say "bbbaaaaaaaa baaack baaack back back back back" or "he .... could ..... go ..... all .... the .... way", the closest person to me is getting stabbed in the eyes with a pencil.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Another World Record to Remember

You know, I thought back in July when I wrote about Joey Chestnut and his "record setting" performance of eating 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes that I had officially seen it all. I was wrong. Living in Los Angeles I have been hearing about the LA Angels world record attempt during the second game of the baseball season against the Twins. They never really mentioned what the attempt would be, so I wondered. I thought maybe they were going to take a shot at the attendance record for a single game.

I should've known better. I should've known it was going to be an incredibly stupid and meaningless record. The kind of record that made Bobby and Cindy Brady's attempt at the world teeter totter record seem important. Last night I watched in horror as everybody in the stands at Angels Stadium started putting on a red fleece blanket with arm holes. The Angels set the record for "the largest gathering of people wearing fleece blankets of one color in one place." They "shattered" the old record by nearly 30,000, which was set on March 5th of this year.

SO WHAT ?!?!?!?! Who cares, a bunch of people wore a robe backwards that was the same color when they were in the same location. That's something to be ashamed of, not proud of. The best part is that a Guinness World Records adjudicator was actually on hand to verify the record. Guinness needs to be kicked out of the world record business if they permit such records to be validated by them. Seriously, when is enough? When does Guinness say no to somebody's idea? If eating hot dogs and wearing blankets are now world records, where is the line? Can I walk into a wall for three consecutive hours and make a name for myself? Anybody know what the world record is for consecutive days of clipping at least part of one of your fingernails? I can keep that string going for the rest of my life.

Making a big deal out of absolutely nothing, welcome to new aged journalism. You know why stupid record attempts like these never happened 20 years ago? Because the media wouldn't give it the time of day. If a tree falls in the forrest and nobody is around to hear it, did it make a sound? If nobody writes about a world record, did the record happen? The whole point of these stupid record attempts we see so much of lately is the media now gobbles it up. I miss the good old days, when reporters had integrity and didn't report garbage like this. The record will be short lived, once football season comes along you know some attention hound team is going to make a run at the Angels record, then all the fans who were at Angels Stadium yesterday wearing their stupid red fleece blanket with arm holes will only have the memory of how they did as they were instructed to do and looked like complete fools while doing it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The New Thug U

Back in the 80's the University of Miami, Florida was tabbed with the nickname Thug U. A well earned nickname, as the football team pretty much took on any player who had talent ... regardless of their past. Stole three cars, robbed a couple convenience stores and punched your mother? Who cares, if you can play football, Miami had a scholarship for you. To Miami's credit, they have shed themselves of the Thug U label, putting an emphasis on not only how a player performs on the field, but how they perform off the field as well. Thug U became a thing of the past.

Well, until Chip Kelly took control (cough) of the University of Oregon's football team. Kelly is a classic enabler, minimizing the severity of the problem and hypocritically supporting the star players on the team while casting off the average players without a paddle. Jamere Holland, a wide receiver for the Ducks, was kicked off the team completely for making a post on his Facebook page criticizing Chip Kelly ... and star QB Jeremiah Masoli was merely suspended for the season, permitted to use his red shirt, and is allowed to practice with the team after breaking into a house and stealing items. Apparently, making a critical post on Facebook is worse than being charged with felony burglary for stealing two laptops and a guitar.

Then we have star RB LaMichael James, choking his ex girlfriend and throwing her to the ground. There is something seriously wrong with a human being that places their hands around another human being's neck and squeezes. What, you ask, was the punishment handed down by Kelly for this outrageous act? If making a derogatory post on Facebook is a reason to kick a player off the team, surely James was to face an execution squad when he walked into Kelly's office. He was suspended for one game, the all important match up against powerhouse New Mexico. Is this a joke? Even better, Defensive End Matt Simms was kicked off the team for fighting a man. So, at Oregon, fighting a man will get you kicked off the team while choking a woman is a one game suspension. Once again, Simms is a nobody and James is a star. The hypocrisy displayed by Chip Kelly is shocking. I wonder if James still gets a one game suspension if he choked Chip Kelly's daughter? With Kelly's track record, my guess is James gets kicked off the team and Masoli is given the one game suspension. He made it very clear he isn't going to kick both of his thug stars off the team.

WR Garrett Emby was an accomplice with Masoli in the burglary. Kicker Rob Beard got drunk, pushed some women, and got beat up so badly he was hospitalized. Kicker Mike Bowlin also got beat up in the same incident while fighting with his fellow kicker. Linebacker Kike Alonso got arrested for drunk driving. It's been quite an offseason for the Ducks. Add all of this to the well publicized on field punch last season from LeGarrette Blount, who followed the punch up with a five minute rampage around the stadium where he challenged a team mate, the police and fans to a fight. Thug U is alive and well, changing locations from the east coast to the west coast.

Chip Kelly and his win at all costs method is a disgrace to the University of Oregon, a disgrace to the Pac 10 and a disgrace to college football in general. If a player plans on screwing up while under Kelly's watch, they better make sure they have the stats to keep them on the team. It's not what you do off the field with Kelly's Ducks, it's what you do on the field that matters. The next Lawrence Phillips and the next Maurice Clarett is going to come from the University of Oregon, you can take that to the bank.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ESPN's sports score ticker

I would like to start off by saying there was a time when the ESPN sports score ticker at the bottom of the television screen was useful. There was also a time when horse driven buggies, Sony Walkman's, car phones and television antennas were useful as well. Unfortunately, ESPN fails to acknowledge that the continual running of sports scores at the bottom of the television screen has become just a waste of space. This is 2009, and in 2009 most American households have at a minimum one computer connected to the internet in their household. If I'm watching a game on television, and I want to know the score of another game that is not on television, I have two choices. I can ignore the game I'm trying to watch and focus on the constant scroll of scores at the bottom of my screen patiently waiting for the score I want to be posted, or I can walk into the next room and go to any internet sports site and instantly obtain the score. With advances in the way we watch television, I can do this without missing a second of the game I'm watching as I can just pause the game and resume watching it 10 seconds later after I obtain the score I desperately wanted to know. ESPN seems to be under the impression that the world of sports cannot exist without them, and nobody can obtain information about sports without them.

That being said, it gets even worse. First, in case you haven't noticed, the sports score ticker is slowly creeping up our television screens. It used to be at the very bottom of the screen, now there is a descent size gap between the bottom of the screen and the sports score ticker. I predict by 2015 the sports score ticker will be located in the middle of the screen. ESPN wants to control what is important to you. They don't care that you don't care about getting the final score of the Cubs vs. Reds game 45 times during a Lakers playoff game, they are not only going to post it 45 times during the basketball game, but it is going to interrupt your view of part of the game. Even better, in the Dodgers vs. Marlins game which is still going on, they are going to flash UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE every time a team scores a single run with the newly revised score. If I cared so much about the Dodgers vs. Marlins score that I wanted to know every time a team scores a run, I would be watching the Dodgers vs. Marlins game. How does this logic elude ESPN executives? I was watching one NBA playoff game where throughout the game, approximately every 20 minutes, it threw on their ticker about Brett Favre seeing a doctor for an opinion about his shoulder. First off, why do they assume somebody who is watching an NBA game cares about a football player? Is there no such thing as somebody who follows one sport more than another sport? This nonsense about a football player seeing a doctor is somehow news? Did Brett Favre announce he was ending his retirement for the second time? No, he saw a doctor. This is information I need to be told continually throughout an NBA playoff game? What did Brett Favre have for breakfast, please, inform me. Did Brett Favre speak to any person associated to any NFL organization? Did Brett Favre put on an old Packers jersey and look at himself in the mirror? This is NOT news, this is ESPN trying to convince you what you should care about and taking the stance that you cannot obtain the information on your own.

Another thing that has gone berserk with that ticker recently. During college football and NFL game days, it has become a common sight to see the following; SCORE UPDATE, SCORE UPDATE, SCORE UPDATE, SCORE UPDATE, SCORE UPDATE, Penn St has the ball 2nd and 4 on Ohio St's 32 yard line. Excuse me, but that's not a "score" update, that's an update. A score update is when a team actually scores. My personal favorite waste of space comes in the form of ESPN promoting its own programs while I'm trying to watch a game. Classic example would be on a Monday Night Football game. Monday Night Football games are programmed from 6 PM - 9 PM on the west coast. ESPN's Sports Center is programmed at 9 PM on the west coast. Of course the game won't end at 9 PM, they never do. So what does ESPN do? PROGRAM UPDATE, PROGRAM UPDATE, PROGRAM UPDATE, PROGRAM UPDATE, ESPN Sports Center will be seen immediately following the conclusion of the game. This is repeated from 9 PM on until the end of the game, approximately every three minutes. Does this really need to be reported? Has there EVER been somebody who was just doing work around their house and not watching the Monday Night Football game, and saw that it was 9 PM and thought, "oh my, Sports Center is on, I have to see that"? Then, turned on ESPN at 9:01 and saw an NFL game going on with 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter and thought, "hmm, I guess they aren't showing Sports Center this evening". Turns off the TV and goes back to working around the house? Has anybody ever been watching Monday Night Football, and even though there is 6 minutes left in the game, when 9 PM rolls around thought, "what the hell? Sports Center is supposed to be starting right now". Seriously, because if there are people of such minimal intelligence in this country I want to start looking for another country to live in.

ESPN used to be a great station. However, like many other things in this country over the years, they have taken a good thing and ran it straight into the ground. Who watches Sports Center anymore? Invest $350 and get yourself a computer. I can obtain everything Sports Center will tell me in an hour in approximately two minutes. The only time I ever turn that god awful station on anymore is to watch a sporting event, and even then they are losing my viewership. Sunday Night Baseball is unwatchable, unless of course you enjoy hearing Joe Morgan talk about how he is in the Hall of Fame for three consecutive hours, Monday Night Football is unwatchable as well. Their broadcast crew for that game is Mickey Mouse. Actually, that is an insult to Mickey Mouse. Sorry Mickey. Their coverage of the NBA playoffs were about as close to being unwatchable as it could get without actually being unwatchable, any worse and I was turning the volume off and listening to the play by play on the radio. College football broadcast crews aren't much better, as I only watch half the games I want to watch because their play by play is done by somebody who clearly doesn't know anything about college football or the teams they are covering.

ESPN used to be a great station, but it's time for the Ole Yeller treatment. It's time to take this station out back and shoot it.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hot Dog Hero ???

On CBS Sportsline's main sports page, any "breaking news" sports stories are placed at the top of the page in a yellow box. As to draw attention to this late breaking story that all must know. Past examples of stories worth of this yellow box were Manny Ramirez being suspended 50 games by MLB for a positive drug test, the NCAA stripping Florida St of 14 victories over an academic cheating scandal, and the Lakers winning their 15th NBA championship. Big stories, breaking news, highlighted box at the top of the webpage.

Today however, I went to CBS Sportsline to check on some baseball scores, and noticed that yellow highlighted box at the top of the page. What important and late breaking sports story was I about to be informed of? Did Lamar Odom sign a new contract with a team other than the Lakers, or with the Lakers? Did another big name baseball player get suspended for cheating? What, I wondered, was the big news. The title, "Hot Dog Hero", with the caption "Joey Chestnut wolfs down a world record 68 dogs in 10 minutes to win his 3rd straight title on Coney Island". Are you kidding me?

To start off, eating hot dogs is not a sport and has absolutely no business whatsoever being reported on a sports website. I can drink Coke with the best of them, doesn't make it a sport, or me an athlete. Eating is not a sport, it's a necessity to keep from dying. Tiger Woods will not die if he doesn't play golf, but you can rest assured Joey Chestnut will most certainly die if he doesn't eat. Eating fast or in large quantities does not make a necessity of life a sport. Absolutely incredible!!! Perhaps one day I will read on CBS Sportsline about Joe Toggle breathing a world record 450 breathes in a single minute, or how his heart beat for a world record 123 years, or how he drank water for a world record 44,000 consecutive days.

Which brings me to another point, what's this "world record" garbage? If there is such a thing as a world record for most hot dogs eaten within 10 minutes, then these "records" are getting far too loose. When I was growing up, world records consisted of the oldest man, the tallest woman, the fastest this, the slowest that. Biggest, smallest, oldest, longest, widest, heaviest, lightest ..... legitimate records. Most hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes? If we have gotten that broad with these world records, excuse me for just a moment. Ok, I'm back. I just set a world record. I am now the world record holder of placing a dime on my head, a Tissot watch in my left hand, a key to an Audi in my right hand, a checkbook stuffed in my waistband and standing on my right foot balancing a stapler on my left foot. I achieved this for one minute, a world record.

Finally, not to be forgotten, is the use of the word "hero". Hot Dog Hero. Listen people, words such as hero and love, for example, start to lose their meaning when they are overused. If somebody tells his wife that he loves her, then goes about his day and tells 65 other women that he loves them, the word love kind of loses its meaning. Same with hero. In today's America, it doesn't take much to be called a hero. Let's take a gander at the definition of the word hero, shall we? 1a - A mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability. 1b - An illustrious warrior. 1c - A man admired for his achievements and noble qualities. 1d - One that shows great courage. Which one of these, I wonder, does eating 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes fall under? When anybody who rubs two sticks together is a hero, than being a hero really doesn't mean anything. A man who runs into a burning building to save a child is a hero, somebody whose actions save a country is a hero, eating 68 hot dogs is eating 68 hot dogs. Nothing heroic about it.

Eating hot dogs is not a sport, I don't care how many you eat in what amount of time. It is not a sport, and it most certainly should never be reported as a breaking sports story. Joey Chesnut's hot dog eating abilities are as much of a sport as Sarah Palin resigning as the governor of Alaska, although I will admit about the same number of people care about each story, approximately 10.