Monday, February 19, 2007

Maybe You're Crazy... I Think You're Crazy

ESPN could be crazy, possibly.

Let's revisit some of their recent bonehead moves.

1. Firing Michael Irvin

Was it over money? Word is Bill Parcells is not taking his slot. But there are rumors that Emmit Smith is. (which would be terrible, because Smith is the quintessential nice guy. he never has anything to say about anybody. translation: boring.)

What does this mean for ESPN's Cowboys/Terrell Owens coverage. Sure, they could tone it down a little lot, but Terrell Owens is a time tested ratings generator. If Irvin is gone, who will be their lifeline to T.O.? Are they counting on Dan Le Batard to be Owens' BFF?

Is Sean Salisbury taking Irvin's place?

Where will Irvin end up? Love him or hate him, he draws a crowd. I actually enjoy Irvin as an analyst. He's good for more than just Cowboys slurp. He brings excitement and energy to the desk. I actually think he would fit in at the jovial Fox desk. They don't take themselves too seriously. And if they go to a 5 man desk, they could squeeze in that robot next to the Ford sign. I don't want Shannon to lose his job, but Irvin would be an improvement at CBS. And Irvin and Deion together at NFLN? Shudder.

(And what of my fashion round up? Will the wide knots find a home?)

2. Overdoing it on NASCAR

Me thinks we're in for a long, long NASCAR season... I'm still mad about them taking PTI off. That's like Fox saying, "Let's just snatch American Idol off. Til' Death needs some air time. If we force it on them, they will come."

I don't see the cross marketing synergy on this either. I know NASCAR is an important sport for many, but will NASCAR devotees ever trust ESPN for their NASCAR news (especially since they're just running the same issue into the ground like they do with everything else)? Will the traditional audience that has been desensitized to endless Red Sox-Yankees coverage (yes, it's that time of the year again) and incessant "Steve Nash for his 13th consecutive MVP" coverage find a place in their hearts for NASCAR? Doubtful.

3. ESPN Deportes Interstitials During SportsCenter

What is that about? Again I don't see the synergy. Unless ESPN is going to spring for Spanish lessons, I'm not going to start watching ESPN Deportes - ever. If ESPN wants to spend a few minutes covering soccer, just cover soccer. The Deportes anchors have heavy accents and different styles from the ESPN anchors. It's not working. I know ESPN Deportes is out there. It's just not for me. No offense.

4. Continuing to mess with Cold Pizza

After all this time, the show is finally watchable. It's not good, but it's watchable. And now they want to move locations and risk losing anchors and other advantages they have by broadcasting in NY, just to save a little rent money? Brilliant.

5. Ali Rap

Still don't understand that one.

6. ESPN Insider

I think most outlets have given up on that pay for content concept. Only the Wall Street Journal is making that work. And is no Wall Street Journal. Let it go. Let the talent you have be with the people. Free the talent!

7. Firing Harold Reynolds

Smear him all you want, he was good at his job, dammit.

8. Not tweaking Monday Night Football

Get rid of Tirico, Theismann, Kornheiser and/or celebrity interviews. Do something. It's not good.


Okay, okay, I can say something nice. Some of the good things ESPN has done recently are:

1. Firing Michael Irvin
How could his termination be a good and bad thing? Because I get those hours of my life back. I don't have to even deal with NFL Countdown anymore. That show didn't stand a chance head to head against any of the other 12 o'clock pregame shows. And now I don't have to pretend. I'm freeeeeee!

ESPN's talent selection is poor. They go for names, instead of quality. And worst of all, Sean Salisbury's rise to fame has seemed to encourage all of the NFL analysts to start talking louder and crazier just to get attention (Jaws and Hoge, wha' happened?).

The WWL should watch NFLN who has been pretty good about picking random people who ultimately do a good job. Adam Schechter is annoying, but I don't hate any of the NFLN personalities. Sure, I like some more than others, but I can get through a few minutes with any of their talent. ESPN only wishes they were so lucky.

2. Mike and Mike in the Morning

Again, this is not a good show, but kudos to whoever thought of turning their 10 dollar radio show into a tv show with a 20 dollar set. The show passes the minutes in the morning and I'm sure it's profitable for the WWL.

3. Improved SportsCenter Anchor rotation

I never understood ESPN's random rotation of anchors on SportsCenter. (When you don't see Neil Everett for two months, what is he doing? Milking cows? Coaching little league?) But at least a quality rotation is in place now, with the WWL choosing to lean on the ol' regulars.


If you have any more bones to pick, feel free to chime in.


Gangsta D said...

I still can't over the fact that Salisbury showed pictures of L'il "Sean John" to women at the office and all he got was a week suspension. The worst thing Mike did was wear a mole hair suit and blind maybe 5-6 people at the most, and he gets fired.

Phil said...

On the plus side, PTI is back.

The Rover said...

Oh my gosh, HC. So much to comment on...

Irvin isn't really a journalist. He was a loud, gregarious commentator, and I prefer my NFL talking heads to be a bit more neutral. However, if ESPN replaces him with Salisbury (who may be the worst of all time), I may have to boycott the network all together.

PLEASE bring back Reynolds. He was great.

Insider sucks donkey. So does NASCAR. So does MNF - pregame, post-game, announcers, everything. Maybe you and I should announce next season - we couldn't be any worse.

But Phil is right - long live PTI.

JEB said...

Pity about Reynolds, he was my favorite on baseball much more likeable than Kruk who seems to be in a permanent sour mood. Lighten up. Hope Harold is vindicated.

Hey sure glad PTI is back. One week of retread tires of NASCAR is a bit much to stomach.

jvwalt said...

If you think ESPN has been flogging NASCAR on TV and its website, you should listen to ESPN Radio. It used to be that auto racing was considered death on sportstalk radio -- a loyal fan base, but a lot more people who don't give a damn. Leading up to Daytona, ESPN Radio was devoting what seemed like one segment per hour to NASCAR, and the anchors were forever saying things like "NASCAR is sweeping the country" and "NASCAR's popularity just grows and grows".

In reality, those comments would have been pertinent about five years ago. NASCAR has hit a plateau of late, and has probably reached its peak. But now ESPN has broadcast rights, so they're going to shamelessly shove it down our throats. And pretend that NASCAR is just now taking the country by storm.

(In case you think I'm a loser for listening to ESPN Radio, well, I live in a small market with no other sports-talk options, and precious few options of any kind.)