Does anyone else remember when ESPN SportsCenter was actually good?
I remember growing up and getting excited to watch Dan Patrick with Keith Olbermann (when he was good) along with other anchors such as Craig Kilborn, Kenny Mayne and Rich Eisen. The show was good and was only concerned about reporting sports news.
Now, it’s an over-the-top mesh between MTV and the Real Housewives of whatever city with some sports sprinkled in here and there. They seem to pander to the large markets and put the small ones on the back burner. Maybe they did that back in the day, too, and I just didn’t notice it, but their big market pandering became abundantly clear last Thursday morning.
As I watched the Thursday morning SportsCenter, the anchors were waltzing around their new studio digs, which in my mind might as well be called the Death Star. The anchors then transitioned to their new topic, which was the American League East, and began to show highlights.
First, they showed the league-leading Toronto Blue Jays as they defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 7-4. A great game for sure as Toronto’s slugging first baseman Edwin Encarnacion hit a walk-off three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. A great game with a great ending.
The next game they showed was the New York Yankees against the Tampa Bay Rays, which the Rays won 6-3 as Sean Rodriguez hit a tie-breaking home run in the sixth inning and drove in three runs as the Rays completed a sweep of the Yanks.
After that, they showed the Boston Red Sox getting pummeled by the Chicago Cubs (of all teams), 16-9. After that game, I was expecting them to show the highlights of the Baltimore Orioles game against the Texas Rangers, a game the O’s would win 6-4, in large part due to Adam Jones going two-for-three with a home run and three runs batted in.
But no. They went on to another segment and, for whatever reason, left the Orioles out of their AL East segment. Even though at that time, the O’s were only one game behind the league-leading Blue Jays!
It would appear that ESPN is more focused on horrible shows that “embrace debate,” in which hosts bloviate about topics on which they often have no expertise. Or, they like to inform you what LeBron James had for lunch that day right before they ramble off a bunch of tweets from other athletes and anyone with a Twitter account.
I completely get that media and journalism have changed dramatically since ESPN was actually good (back in the 90s), but things have gotten out of control—so out of control they either forget to leave out an AL East team in a segment dedicated to such, or they just leave them out because Baltimore is not a big market like New York or Boston.
So, it looks like Baltimore is not getting any love from the outside media even though they had three players named as starters (Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, and Matt Wieters, even though he is out for the year was voted as the starter by the fans).
As it stands now, the O’s are sitting in first place with a two game lead over the Blue Jays, three-and-a-half games over the Yankees, eight-and-a-half over the Rays, and nine games over last-place Boston.
Maybe now ESPN will show them the respect they deserve. Either way, the network should do its job and report the sports news without bias.
by Andy Mindzak