Showing posts with label ESPN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ESPN. Show all posts

Saturday, June 5, 2010

ESPN's Horse Racing Coverage Still Subpar

By: T.R. Slyder,, @AndyDisco on Twitter

First thing is first- I am glad ESPN is broadcasting horse racing and I think Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey are great, as are the little essay readings by Bill Nack. My problem with their coverage is about the direction /scope/focus of the coverage, which I will get to a bit later.

Most of my concerns about horse racing are about the sports as a whole. Specifically, that zero people care about horse racing and the industry has little reason to believe that will change anytime time soon. So what I look for from horse racing events or broadcasts is that it is done in a manner that fosters the participation of new fans. That means less horse racing jargon, a bit more explaining how things work, and so on.

In my opinion the biggest barrier people face in entering horse racing is that they don't know what all the jargon means- place, show, furlong, route, exacta, trifecta, maiden race, etc. Equally obstructive to their participation is the deciphering of the essential bible of horse racing jargon and cryptic symbology- The Daily Racing Form. It's too intimdating for people to want to try to figure out, and, as someone who has explained to scores of people over my life how to read a Form, it would be damn near impossible to figure out what all that stuff means on your own.

It's for that reason that I think ESPN should do a better job of educating the public about how to read the Form and participate in the sport. ESPN should give people the information, which will then lead to the requisite confidence to take their family, friends or girlfriend to a day at their local track.

I'd like to see ESPN's coverage include more racing handicappers (people who try to pick the winners) telling us their selections and why. They could show us the Racing Form on the screen with a telestrator while the handicapper points at the numbers and explains why they factored in his decision. This is the only way to learn how to handicap a race- you have to watch someone do it in front of you while they explain it.

Unfortunately, ESPN's coverage has way too little of this, despite having Randy Moss, who is an excellent and innovative handicapper in his own right. Instead, their modus operandi is to deluge the viewers with human interest stories, biographies of Belmont connections, and Kenny Mayne's questionable hilarity all while trying to shoehorn in the undercard. What they should do is focus on each of the successive races before the Belmont and handicap them, leaving out the human interest stories. When I go to the track with my Racing Form under my arm, I don't know any of the human interest stories. Sure, some are fascinating, but that isn't why I love the sport. Every conceivable aspect of life has human interest stories, so let us focus on what is unique to horse racing- like horses that race eachother and betting on them.

If you like human interest stories, you may not necessarily love horse racing. But if you love horse racing, then you love horse racing. So lets focus on horse racing. You have to aim high- and if someone watching ESPN's broadcast fell in love with everything ESPN was saying, that doesn't make them a fan of actual horse racing, just a fan of horse racing stories. And if you go to the track on any given saturday, you won't know any of the stories. Similarly, if ESPN's broadcast was focused on handicapping and someone fell in love with that coverage, they could visit their local track the next day and help support the sport.

ESPN and the horse racing community need to prepare the populace with the ability to fend for themselves at the track.. Namely arming them handicapping and betting knowledge. That and only that will help bring people back.

Today's broadcast of the Belmont Day is probably the best day of racing in America other than the Breeder's Cup- Four Grade 1 races and two Grade 2s. Sadly, such an exciting concentration of talent is lost on ESPN's coverage. While they should be telling us how exciting the next race is and why, they merely show the odds of the horses in the upcoming race, before going to more human interest stories, debates about the Triple Crown structure and showing the Belmont Stakes odds yet again. The casual viewer at home has no idea what a special DAY of racing this is and how special the horses on their television screen really are. While they could be learning about how important post position or pedigree is to a sprint race, they instead are forcefed another drunken-like stumbling of Hank Goldberg interspersed with Kenny Mayne making sure the focus is on him and not the horses.

I used to wonder why no one follows horse racing.

In Jack Keruouc and William S. Burroughs book, And The Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, there is a scene where the characters are at a port in NYC and are waiting around to be interviewed for the Merchant Marines. They're bored and nearly broke but they can't leave their area for fear they'll miss their interview. In an effort to cure his boredom, one of the characters picks up a Racing Form and gives it a quick look to see if he likes any horses running that day and can maybe make some easy money before he is interviewed and possibly deployed.

In the entire book about NYC's WWII-era Beatnik Boehemia, that scene struck me as the most outdated.

That's how I roll.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My System for Fixing a March Madness Deficiency

(this was the only ncaa basketball pic I could find in my folder of already-used blog photos. It's Miami University coach Charlie Coles. Who still needs to endorse a line of charcoal called CHARlieCoals.)

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

I am not trying to pick on this particular sports figure, but he's the only "pro" whose final four picks I have in front of me, and he successfully predicted 0 of them, having only two of his final four teams make the Elite 8. It also helps that I just saw him on tv telling me who would win on Monday. His advice wound up in my mental garbage can.

His Final Four? Kansas, Kentucky, Kansas State, Villanova.

The pro? Dick Vitale. I wrote a column a few years ago where I said I kinda like Dick Vitale now. Sure he screams and adores the ACC, but I can think of worse attributes a commentator can have. The ACC has been the most entertaining conference for the past 20 years and we all know it. I don't mind Vitale's love of Duke either: everyone loves Mark Few and Gonzaga, and the Butler story is great too. But what is Duke, if not a program that started off exactly like those programs, yet rose to be a college powerhouse right alongside the most storied programs in the history of college basketball like Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Indiana. So we are all happy for Butler, but we'd hate them if they did this 10 times in the next 20? Why? At point did their winning become burdensome to the viewer? Plus Coach K. is a West Point grad.

Anyway, my point is that ESPN and other sports media should do something to curtail the talking heads who clearly had no idea what would happen in this tournament. What makes Vitale worth listening to when I had one final four team and he had none? They need to do a better job of "riding the hot hand" and letting another talking head who didn't get the game wrong talk his piece. Conversely, what if you knew there was some 26 year old forklift operator in Missouri who successfully picked all either Elite 8 teams in his office pool. Wouldn't you rather listen to his final four analysis than someone with Vitale's bracket?

Much like March Madness itself, I wish the NCAA commentary were elimination-based as well. Say maybe ESPN takes all their college guys- Vitale, Digger, Gotlieb, Hubert Davis, Bilas, Jay Williams, Andy Katz and the other college basketball talking heads I am forgetting, and once the tourney is down to the Elite 8 have them fill out the bracket from there. If you incorrectly pick a game wrong (say for instance I'm an ESPN panelist and I selected Baylor to beat Duke) I should be disallowed from commenting on the advancing team (in this case, Duke) for the remainder of the tourney. If I saw Duke's first three tourney wins and still don't know them enough to be able to pick them correctly in their 4th, I obviously don't know them too well. I must either not know their true capabilities, or worse, have no valuable predictive knowledge of them. Wouldn't their incorrect prediction PROVE that?

IF someone had Northern Iowa over Kansas (and I don't blame anyone for getting it wrong), wouldn't they be the only person you would want to hear assess their chances in their next game against Michigan State? Dick Vitale thought Kansas would be in the final game, how are you expected to care about what Vitale assumes will be their chances against MSU?

Now you read that and you're saying, "Your idea is stupid because if that were the case, by your own admission, the Northern Iowa/MSU game would have no pre-game analysis." Wrong. That was before the Elite 8. Crazy things make March Madness great and they happen, ideally, every year. But few truly inexplicable things happen after the Elite 8. And, on the rare chance when a George Mason does beat a UConn to go to the Final Four and everyone is wrong, then everyone gets a do-over, since no one has proven to be any more or less adept at knowing that surprising team. But if there are 10 panelists, and only two get it right, how can I listen to the other 8 tell me about this team? I just want to hear the two correct guys talk the whole time.

It isn't that I hold ESPN talking heads to a higher standard of sports clairvoyance than I hold myself, but that's also how life works. If you and I are deciding where to get dinner, and I let you pick the place and we both find band aids in our food and we get mugged in the parking lot, guess what I am going to say if you try to recommend the next restaurant? Maybe you let me pick the restaurant this time. Or if I ask someone to be my wingman and that results in him getting wasted, and telling women a series of embarrassing stories about me that get drinks thrown in my face, I will ask someone else to by wingman next time. Someone who has an idea what's going on. That is how the world works. You may have heard this theory before under the name "Natural selection".

That system would be very true to March Madness. Just as teams ride the player with the hot hand, so should ESPN, and, just like how in March Madness, the weak teams are eliminated, so too should ESPN.

That's how I roll.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Still Stinking: ESPN

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

Congratulations ESPN, you managed to once again reprove that you suck.

They re-violated my Duke Lacrosse Scandal Theory (toward the bottom of the article). The short version of that theory is that if you never talk about that sport (like college lacrosse, in my eponymous example) then you don't have the right to cover a scandal about it (rape allegations at duke university's lacrosse team). For example, if a scandal breaks out between two members of the United States fencing team, we shouldn't have to hear about it, since we don't know any of its participants. But since ESPN talked about Tiger Woods at every opportunity before his scandal, they are permitted to talk about his scandal.

ESPN violated that rule today while talking about the murder of an Iowa high school football coach. When did ESPN start caring about Iowa high school football? Oh right, when there's a scandal. If ESPN continues on the scandal-for-ratings ethos, we all lose because that just shows how close to MTV ESPN has become. If we wanted scandal news, we'd read US Weekly or a newspaper. What if I wanted just sports news? Didn't ESPN used to be a channel for that?

Even if I did want scandal news, I wouldn't go to ESPN to get it. I'd go to a publication with more experience in covering criminal cases. With the economy as it is, the last thing America needs is Bob Ley going all Nancy Grace on us.

That's how I roll.

Friday, February 5, 2010

ESPN is Classless Again

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

Remember last year when non-ESPN sports media were reporting a likely far-fetched (and later dropped) civil suit rape allegation against Ben Roethlisberger? It just seemed fishy from the beginning and ESPN decided not to run the story because they didn't want to injure their relationship with the megastar Roethlisberger. Well, that wasn't their official reason. They said it was because it was a civil suit and not a criminal suit. After much scrutiny and allegations of putting PR with athletes ahead of journalism, ESPN decided to finally relent and report on the civil suit.

Now ESPN is going way out of their way to report on former ESPN talking head, and current talking head at their rival NFL Network, Michael Irvin's civil suit for rape allegation. It's the same exact suit as filed against Roethlisberger, and in the eyes of many sports fans, a non-story. Michael Irvin is a personality that sports fans tolerate, but no one embraces. A hall of fame player to be sure, but not someone a single sports fan cares about now. But for some reason ESPN has taken it upon themselves to mention Irvin's allegation on it's scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen and even during it's brief "What's happening now" cutaways between commercials.

Do you think ESPN would do this if Irvin were still on their channel?

That's how I roll.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bill Simmons' Book Stops a Bullet- and the Sports Nation Host Michelle Beadle Insults Guest When She Thinks We Can't Hear Her

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

Yesterday ESPN's Sports Nation, ESPN writer Bill Simmons appeared as a guest to promote his new book, The Book of Basketball. In an attempt to show how large the book is (750 pages) the crew sent correspondent Kevin Wildes to a gun shooting range to see if the book was thick enough to actually stop a bullet. The owner of the shooting range, Ray has the honor or shooting the Smith and Wesson 9mm at the book. Ray's appearance reminds me a bit of the Comic Book guy on the Simpsons- overweight, bearded and his lack of charisma, in tandem with his apperance, make him seem a little creepy.

So they shoot the book and it stops the bullet and Kevin sends it back to the studio to resume the interview with Simmons. Moments later Ray then brings out a higher caliber gun, and the show kicks back to the shooting range. While Ray is preparing to shoot, you can clearly hear co-host Michelle Beadle say, "Ray scares me" at the :58 seconds-remaining mark.

That's how I roll.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sean Salisbury Could do Some Good? Whaaa?

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

Sean Salisbury, formerly of ESPN appears poised to expose ESPN's unsavory side. As he told, he has a lawsuit in the works that will air plenty of the World Wide Leader's dirty laundry.

This won't be the first ESPN has been exposed, but I really hope that this will tarnish ESPN's reputation just enough for someone in the media to find them vulnerable enough to start a rival sports network. America's sports landscape is certainly large enough for two major sports networks and all of ESPN's current viewers merely tolerate the network, not even the biggest sports fanatatic loves ESPN- they just have no choice. ESPN has been fat and lazy for years, and why wouldn't they be? Who is going to keep them on their toes when they are a monopoly?

I just hope there aren't any scandalous stories about Linda Cohn. Not because I like her or anything, but because my stomach couldn't handle reading them.

UPDATE: It just got way awesomer.

That's how I roll.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Reason to visit Sports Illustrated's Website Instead of ESPN's

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter reports that Erin Andrews is going to go on Oprah to talk about her nakee video.

Oddly, this wasn't mentioned on

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Little League World Series and Feline Tinkle; A Lesson in Marketing

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

While watching an advert for Sunday's Little League World Series Championship of Chinese Taipei vs. the United States team from California, I noticed something.

The logo they used (and I couldn't find them anywhere on the web to show here) for Chinese Taipei was a logo that just said, "TPE", ostensibly for Taipei. The logo used for the US team was, "CA", for California, where they're from. The two logos were paired side-by-side, with TPE on the left and CA on the right, more or less like this:


I assumed it was arranged as such since we are hosting Taipei, their logo would appear "first" since most people would read that left-to-right. Then I also thought, "well someone had to be on the left, so there was a 50% chance it would be them even if their positions were selected randomly". That made sense, I thought. But then wondered if the "TPE" were first was because if it were arranged otherwise, it would look more or less like this:


it would sorta spell "cat pee".

What? Someone has gotta ask these questions.

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Some Rhetorical Questions About ESPN

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

If ESPN's Chris Mortensen found out that Roger Goddell, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson were running a drug-smuggling operation, do you think he'd actually report it? Or, do you think ESPN would even allow him to run it?

Who do you think would go after that story more tenaciously- ESPN or the New York Times?

Would you be more likely to trust the reporting of a sports company that reports news as well as films commercials with the very same athletes that they interview, or a company that is an independent news agency and does not broadcast any athletics?

If runs a story promoting the virtues of Player X, and runs a story promoting the virtues of a Player Y, would you be more likely to question the motives of why wrote a puff piece about Player X?

In July, when baseball is the only game in town, and SportsCenter mentions an NFL offseason trade rumor before they report the outcome of that day's Kansas City Royals game versus the Seattle Mariners, do you feel that ESPN truly believes that possible-news is better than definite news? Or do you think that ESPN's profiting from the NFL far more than it does from the Royals and Mariners is why they have subjugated those fan bases?

ESPN pretended to address this problem by hiring and Ombudsman years ago. Their findings get buried at the bottom of, but all the ones I have read were outstanding and spoke my grievances flawlessly. So what change came of that? Absolutely none. It's just a charade. If you acknowledge that you have a drug problem to your friends at family during an intervention, thank them for their support, then go use again 9 minutes later, your apology is meaningless. As meaningless as ESPN having ombudsmen.

Don't you think that ESPN is aware that no one actually likes ESPN, but that all sports fans simply tolerate it? Do you know anyone who actually enjoys SportsCenter anymore? People certainly did 15 years ago, but now people tolerate it. In the era of ESPNEWS, and the internet, no one has time for all of the fluff and pomp on SportsCenter.

I haven't read one positive piece about ESPN as a whole, in over a decade. I've that people like PTI, Bill Simmons or certain analysts, but never the network, its ethos or the shtick of SportsCenter. If news dissemination and fan satisfaction came before profits, and you ran ESPN, would you keep the status quo as is? And, no offense, but don't you think that their CEO is probably better at running ESPN than you would be? So doesn't that tell you that they're only concern is profit?

I'm not the first person to ever ask this rhetorical questions. And I hope I'm not the last to ask why no other media people have opted to challenge ESPN. If a rival sports news network started, that dealt only with news and not broadcasting sporting events, thereby creating conflicts of interest galore and injuring its credibility, wouldn't you prefer their news over ESPN's? You could watch the game on ESPN, then click over to get the other network's analysis- which you'd trust much more. Who would you trust to be critical of Peyton Manning's performance- an independent news company, or Chris Berman- who is hoping to have Manning headline his charity golf outing this summer? Furthermore, if a New Sports Network (we'll just call it NSN for now) started, don't you think the approximately 6 ESPN personalities with actual journalistic dignity would gladly jump ship? ESPN would keep the soulless Berman, Linda Cohn, Stu Scott, Kenny Mayne, Skip Bayless, and the newest incarnations of screaming-heads like Stephen A. Hole Smith (like Keyshawn Johnson and Michael Irvin). Meanwhile NSN would most likely get at least a few integrity refugees like Peter Gammons, Tim Kurkjian, Ric Bucher, Bill Simmons, Buster Olney and other newsmen who do not wish to be associated with the network of Skip Bayless, Stu Scott and Chris Berman. When Bill Simmons jokingly refers to the future, when he runs ESPN8, he's really talking about NSN. NSN could enlist many of the reputable sports bloggers that have proven to be a valued counter-weight to ESPN's PropagandAdvertisements (I just made that word up). Heck, if they had a Daily Show-like show that lampooned ESPN, everyone I know would watch that show every single day.

ESPN has gotten fat and lazy. Not only are they ripe for a competitor, they are ripe to be bloodied by their competitor.

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Bartman Chronicle: ESPN Lacking Class. Again.

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

ESPN is going to make a documentary about Steve Bartman.

It's despicable that people still use his name. I have referred to him on this blog a few times, but never by name until now. If ESPN is doing a documentary about him, I don't think my not naming him will protect his anonymity.

Among my pet peeves in sports journalism is when sportscasters mention him by name. Everyone knows who they mean, and just calling him "the fan" would suffice, but instead they use his name- and perpetuate his feelings of alienation. Everyone remembers his name, but I doubt many people would recognize him on the street- so using his name is actually doing a lot of damage to the guy and it's not necessary to use it.

I'm as big of a Cubs fan as anyone you'll ever meet, but that guy has had enough. I wish he hadn't done what he did, but it didn't legitimately affect the game. It isn't as though Wrigley Field briefs fans sitting near the playing field to not reach for foul balls that are possibly catchable by Cubs. It's a ballgame. They sell alcohol and let any paying customer in- it's not the row of the emergency exit on an airplane- there is no briefing or screening process. Most people's arguments against the fan's actions are, "He should've known better. You don't interfere with the home team." I think a good bit of that is because he is a relatively young adult male. If it were a 65 year old female tourist from Kenya or Thailand, do you think the ire for the actions would be the same? I don't.

While a lot of people wished the fan knew better, we have no reasonable expectation in the intelligence of the public at large. How often do you seem something annoying in public you wish you could change? A bad driver who fails to use their turn signal while cutting you off in traffic, the moron standing in the doorway at the coffee shop- which is the only place you really shouldn't stand, the waitress who forgot to put your salad dressing on the side, the guy sitting next to you on the train screaming into his mobile phone, the blogger who uses too many examples of annoyances, etc.

I assume that strangers are not intelligent, and you shouldn't either. And you know what? I am proven correct at an alarming rate. Maybe "the fan" is intelligent, but had a momentary lapse of good judgement. It sucks, but is it shocking? Do we have the right to be disappointed that a guy at a sports game, where they sell alcohol, did something unintelligent? How is that surprising?

Since ESPN (along with Fox) beat us over the head Curse of the Bambino, and it is no longer profitable to exploit a dead "curse", ESPN needs profit from the misery of another fan and fanbase. So great job for making a documentary about him, ESPN and profiting from his pain and the pain of Cubs fans. With all of the positive sports-related stories that you could possibly document, you went out of your way to focus on one of the (comparatively) few stories of sports ruining someone's life. That's awesome because I was getting tired of all of that uplifting news that has been saturating the media lately.

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Daily Racing Form EIC Steven Crist

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

He makes some excellent points here. Glad to see someone else is disappointed that no one is broadcasting this awesome weekend of horse racing. This article at can be found here.

TV networks conspicuous by their absence

By Steven Crist

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - What a first weekend of August for racing: The gelding, filly, and colt who won this year's Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes are all in action, heading for a possible showdown in the Travers; the 15-length winner of the world's richest race, the Dubai World Cup, makes his return to American soil; it's opening weekend at Saratoga, and the second weekend at Del Mar, the two biggest race meetings of the summer.

It's an extraordinary collection of talent, a showcase for the closest thing racing has to household names, and a fabulous opportunity to capitalize on the strong television ratings for this year's Triple Crown and the emergence of Rachel Alexandra as a national heroine. Instead, not a single one of these races is being broadcast by ABC, CBS, NBC, or ESPN.

Existing racing fans will probably figure out a way to see most of the racing, on simulcasts at the track or teletheatres or if they have access to TVG, which is unavailable in some major markets, including New York City. But for casual fans, who might have been attracted to the game by major national network coverage of this year's unusually compelling Triple Crown stories, it amounts to a blackout.

The most disappointing absentee from any coverage is ESPN, which promised a major new commitment to racing when it gained the rights to the Breeders' Cup more than two years ago. Since then, ESPN has has done little except slash its racing coverage to less than half of what it used to be before that new commitment.

This weekend may well represent an all-time low in racing's national visibility. Even as coverage has waned over the last two decades, there was a good chance that someone would find a way to get national exposure for a winner of a Triple Crown race, much less for a clash between two of them such as the meeting of Rachel Alexandra and Summer Bird in Sunday's Haskell. The appearance by Mine That Bird in Saturday's West Virginia Derby would, just a few years ago, have been a virtually automatic broadcast for ESPN.

Beyond ESPN's virtual abandonment of racing, it's unclear where the blame lies or what could be done differently. The invisibility of this weekend's racing reflects the vacuum of authority or coordinated power at the top of the sport. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association has much less money to work with than when it was founded a decade ago. The Breeders' Cup, running an operating deficit this year, is using its scarce marketing and television funds on fall races closer to its own events that it needs to promote.

In addition, individual tracks are playing off the various account-wagering companies such as TVG and HRTV against one another, taking whatever money they can get for exclusive rights to their top races in the absence of national coverage. Even if some organization in racing had the authority or willpower to seek wider coverage of this weekend's racing, it's unclear whether they could get the rights to these events away from simulcasting networks that the average sports fan has never heard of.

Bigger races at smaller tracks a growing trend

Mine That Bird is the first Kentucky Derby winner to race in a West Virginia Derby, which speaks to both his individual circumstances and to looming changes on the national racing landscape.

Since Mine That Bird is a gelding, his connections can have more fun with him than a group trying to establish his value as a stallion might. They can barnstorm with him instead of running in the races with the most prestige and tradition or highest grades.

But we also could be seeing the start of a shift in where those richest and most prestigious races are being run, and it's directly tied to the widening gaps between the haves and have-nots on the "alternative gaming" (slot machine) front. Tracks with slots, such as Mountaineer - which is running races worth $770,000 Saturday in addition to the $750,000 West Virginia Derby - are putting on stakes races with soaring purses that are going to attract better horses and higher grades in the years to come. Mine That Bird's emergence from the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby in New Mexico will probably make that race a Grade 3 next year. Philadelphia Park frequently puts on rich races that will climb the graded-stakes ladder once eligible.

With Hollywood Park's future uncertain, and tracks in California, Kentucky, and Florida cutting back on racing dates and stakes purses without slots, we could be looking at a very different set of "premier" tracks and races a decade from now.

Monday, July 27, 2009

ESPN Has a List of People Banned From Their Network

By: T.R. Slyder,

Nothing fosters dissemination of information like banning people providing information. What if every other journalist in the country "acted against" ESPN and wound up on the list? I'd like to see that.

Anyone who thinks that ESPN is a sports information network and isn't just concerned with entertainment and protecting those who protect them, is sadly mistaken. Between burying the news Ben Roethlisberger's civil case, and their double-standard of Erin Andrews coverage (i.e. no one can profit from Erin Andrews attractiveness but them), their true colors are shining brighter than ever.

They are well on their way to being the Al Jazeera of sports. Congratulations, ESPN.

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

ESPN May Have Trouble Being Consistent With Their Punishment

By: T.R. Slyder,

It was big news today that in response to the NY Post showing pics of the Erin Andrews video, ESPN banned all NY Post reporters from appearing on any of their shows. That seems a bit much, but it makes sense.

But Bill O'Reilly played the video on air. Will ESPN now toe the line and refuse to air highlights from FoxSports football and baseball games?

I'm happy if PTI agrees to never have Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on their show again.

Here is B.O. taking the pixelated, moral high ground. I'd have no idea what he was talking about if he hadn't shown the tantalizing video. He's a real journalist's journalist.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thanks for Coming out, Berman.

By: T.R. Slyder,

No one likes Chris Berman, so I'll just get right down to it.

1)TMZ has a funny video of Berman feeling snubbed because people wanted Evan Longoria's autograph, but no one asked for Berman's or genuflected at him or his celebrity status. It's almost like Berman forgot that Longoria was the 2008 American League Rookie of the Year and World Series participant, and Berman is the guy who's job it is to talk about him.

You can't blame Berman though- it isn't like he's a pompous ballbag or anything. I was always shocked when women wanted to date Liam Gallagher over Kurt Loder. Don't they realize that Kurt's job is to chronicle Liam?? What the hell?

2) Berman got called out trying to pick up an ESPY's trophy girl. Didn't she realize he's a fatter, balder, louder, and probably older, sports version of Kurt Loder???

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Compelling Evidence of ESPN's Suckitude: Kenny Mayne is now the Mikey Teutul of ESPN

By: T.R. Slyder,

I don't know why I still go to

Last week on the site they were "promoting" how Kenny Mayne wouldn't shut up in some talking heads/argumentative segment with the cartoonish Scoop Jackson as though it were something to be proud of now. Now the big banner headline at is how Kenny Maybe is switching places with Colin Cowherd for a day and Kenny vows some sort of revenge for something.

It seems like ESPN has been relegating Kenny to the wacky side-stage for a few years now. The only thing they seem to let him do is host horse racing which 1) he does pretty well actually, but, 2) they cover horse racing about thrice a year. So the only time Kenny is allowed to do something is when it's wacky and completely unimportant. To break up the serious monotony of 4 hours of pre-game coverage, Kenny will stage an scripted "interview" with a few players and hilarity will ensue it's lame. Such sideshow relegation reminds me of when Lisa Simpson was elected president and Bart, then a down-and-out lowlife was begging for a job in the administration so she created a position for him and appointed him Ambassador of Keeping it Real.

But it also dawned on me that Kenny is just like Mikey, the fat, long-haired brother from the Orange County Choppers guys- pretty much worthless but he's jovial, so they pay him to hang around and do his silly crap that no one in the viewing public actually cares about.

My final ESPN comparison is to MTV. You know how MTV loves promoting itself? They love counting down the Top 20 craziest MTV Video Awards moments, Top 20 Most Expensive Cribs, Top 20 Craziest Reality Show Moments (on MTV), etc.? That seems like what ESPN has been doing lately with Kenny. Does his predictably unpredictable wacky, zany shtick really deserve top billing on, or is that a little bit of unnecessary promotion for their Mikey-in-residence on a slow news day?

ESPN is already a sports TV monopoly, they don't have to rub it in with garbage like that.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

ESPN Again Proves That They Suck

By: T.R. Slyder,

Today at the bottom of where they have all sorts of random links, I noticed they had one about horse racing.

I was momentarily heartened to see horse racing getting coverage on their website until I saw what it was about. Yesterday at Belmont Park a jockey was thrown off of his horse at the start of the race and the horse went on to "win" the race. Hilarious.

The video was borrowed from MSG Plus which is a NYC-based channel that televises the Mets games. Last I knew they didn't cover horse racing, but maybe they threw this clip in as a "bizarre sports news" entry. The only problem is that it isn't bizarre at all. When a jockey is thrown from a horse that horse goes on to "win" about half the time. Is it any surprise that jettisoning 112 pounds off its back may give a horse an advantage over others? Sure jockeys help some, but not enough counteract their 110-pounds of dead weight on the animal's back.

Worsening this moronic story is that MSG mispronounced the jockey's name. Twice. His name is French- Jean-Luc Samyn, pronounced "sa-meen", but the MSG commentator, unfamiliar with this 30-year veteran of racing, pronounced it "salmon". Twice.

However, MSG Plus did have the decency to add that "salmon" was not hurt in the fall- a courtesy that did not extend. All offered other than the video was this synopsis,

"After throwing off jockey Jean-Luc Samyn at the start, Phone Jazz went on to unofficially win the race at Belmont Park by seven lengths"

Classy. ESPN is the same network that went berserk after the death of Eight Belles at the 2008 KY Derby- criticizing her owner, trainer, breeder and anyone else they could find. It's the same network that reported incessantly about the well being of the late Derby winner Barbaro during his final weeks of his struggle with laminitis. Yet when a human falls from a horse and "bizarre" result ensues, can't find the time or page space to mention whether the jockey was injured or not.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Awesome Scrapped ESPN Ad Campain

By: T.R. Slyder,

Big ups to my homey Dr. Kevin for passing this along to me.

(copied and pasted from right here)

ESPN drops ad campaign that was to portray college stereotypes

Updated 17h 44m ago | Comments 38 | Recommend 8 E-mail | Save | Print | Reprints & Permissions | Subscribe to stories like this

ESPN canceled plans Thursday for a TV ad campaign touting its college basketball coverage after learning that the actors were to depict sometimes crude stereotypes of students at specific colleges.

A leaked memo from Anomaly, a New York agency that has produced past ESPN ads, described a casting call for actors in which it sought someone to portray a Tennessee student as "a slutty girl who would hang out at the cowgirl hall of fame" and a Notre Dame student who is "an Asian kid ... who's always fighting."

The concept of the ad was to have students working at an ESPN call center, representing their schools as they phoned people to try to get them to watch ESPN college basketball coverage.

The campaign was killed as soon as the memo leaked. "Our marketing department just learned of this casting call today," said ESPN's Mike Soltys. "The language and approach reflected in that document were not approved by us and in no way represent ESPN or the respect we have for the college community."

In the memo, which first appeared on, the "defining characteristic" of the Marquette student is that "you don't really remember her." The Kansas student "takes great pains to point out that Kansas is very cosmopolitan." Syracuse would need a "Jewish kid" who loves college — "all you can eat buffets in the cafeteria, who knew?"

The Purdue student needed to look 14 and the Oklahoma student needed to be "wide-eyed, as naive as they come."

The content of the memo is reproduced below.



Director: Matt Aselton
Casting Director: ERICA PALGON
Interview: Thurs 11/13 and Fri 11/14, Mon 11/17
Fitting: 11/21
Shoot: 11/24, 25
Location: New York



All roles are ages 18-22 yrs old. WITH THE EXCEPTION of PERDUE.

T.R. Slyder interjection- Um, ESPN guy, that isn't how you spell Purdue.

The concept: The spots take place in the ESPN College Basketball Call Center (CBBCC). All of these guys are there representing their schools, calling people on the phone to get them to watch more College Basketball. Basically they are selling college basketball.



MALE. Our guy for Duke UNIVERSITY is a smart, with it, young WHITE male. He's handsome. He's from money. He is, in short, the kind of guy, everyone can't stand. He is the kind of guy everyone wants to be.


FEMALE. She's a Southern bell. She is the counterpoint to Duke. Being young and pretty everyone wants to be around her. She's charming. Not a dingbat, she's sharp.

T.R. Slyder interjection- Hey chief stereotyper- great spelling of "belle". If you're gonna act awesome enough to stereotype, at least know how to spell them, thanks.


MALE. Straight out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog, Texas is a young man's man. He is the kind of guy that could field dress a deer and then take you to the debutante ball in 20. Polite, farm boy. He's good at everything. Except call centering.

T.R. Interjection- Um, when I stereotype Texans I just go for fat, loud and stupid. Maybe that's why this promo got canceled.


MALE. Kansas is straight off the farm. However, he takes great pains to point out that Kansas is very cosmopolitan, as witnessed by their record, their burgeoning tech industry, and their hybrid corns (bonus: modified by fish genes!)


MALE. Connecticut is all things Connecticut. He's a little bit older. He's a little bit thicker around the waist. He's WHITE. He's also competitive. Very. Waspy, blue blood.

T.R. Interjection- Since when has WASPy been portrayed as "thicker-around-the-waist"? Aren't they always like 6'3'' and lanky as all hell? He really sucks at stereotyping.


MALE. Oklahoma is awesome and he thinks everything is awesome. He's very enthusiastic about all things call center and all things life and he wants to share this contagious enthusiasm with everyone he meets. Wide-eyed, as naive as they come.

T.R. Again- Wait, isn't every non East Coaster the same so far?


MALE. Louisville is very true to place. He's short. He's HISPANIC. And one day he hopes to carry on in proud Louisville tradition and race thoroughbreds.

He's obviously been to Louisville on several occasions and visited their sprawling Little Mexico section. When I think Kentucky, I obviously think of Hispanics. Maybe our trusty stereotyper is transposing the words "Hick" and "Spic" in his brain.


FEMALE. Tennessee is orange crazy. The ice tray in her orange fridge, that freezes the water she dyes orange, is that orange. The party girl cowboy hat she wears is a white and orange zebra print. The tattoo on her lower back is Pantone 3 for that Tennessee orange. The only thing that's not orange is her dog, which is the mascot Smokey. Did we mention she's crazy? A slutty girl who would hang out at the cowgirl hall of fame.


MALE. Child prodigy. 14-year-old. Or open to an 18-year-old who looks 14. Aeronautical engineering. Wiz kid. Think McLovin from Superbad.

I'm from Indiana. Since this stereotype involves intelligence, I'll take what I can get here. I know some smart kids that went there.


MALE. Villanova is the poor man's Duke — he's not quite as handsome, he's not quite as rich, he's not quite as dapper. After 2 or 3 beers though, who cares? As he's friendly enough.

Wait kids were gonna be drinking in your ad campaign? That's pretty thorough characterization there, Stereotyper. Besides, everyone who has every been to Vanillanova knows that it leads the nation in squirrels-per-acre on campus. Have you noticed how at ESPN all the East Coast stereotypes are all detailed and nuanced, but the Midwestern ones are just all hicks, and the West Coast has been totally ignored? Sounds like an ESPN Memo.


MALE He's an ASIAN kid who is in to all things Notre Dame, ridiculously so. Oh, and he's always fighting. Every time we encounter him he always has some words or another, be it the faint traces of a black eye, or a scab or whatever. He epitomizes the fightin' Irish.

Wrong again. Everyone who has been to Notre Dame knows that 88% of its student body is from New Jersey. It's weird, but it's true.


FEMALE. Pittsburgh is a tomboy. She obviously grew up in the neighborhood and isn't going to take any guff from anyone and she'll wallop you in the eye with a crowbar if you suggest different. So don't. Think Tina Fey type.


MALE. Jewish kid from Long Island that is loving the college experience. It has opened up a world he never knew existed. All you can eat buffets in the cafeteria — who knew? To Syracuse, everything is a party.


FEMALE. Georgetown, a 4.36 GPA who's lived in 9 world-class cities, but all the time in her sister's shadow (her GPA is 4.37). She's sort of the female Duke, except most people like her. Think Reese Witherspoon.


MALE. No one knows what Gonzaga looks like because no one knows where to find him. He is still stuck in the grunge look, reckless, in from the wild. Flannel look. Chews tobacco. Guy that would go to school in the Pacific Northwest.

This doesn't sound like it was based on multiple visits there, or extensive knowledge of that school. Just sayin.


FEMALE. Marquette, on a scale of 1-10, she's a six. A B-, C in every category you can define a person by. Her defining characteristic is you don't really remember her. You're not breaking your arm to get to her, but you're not chewing it off to get away. She does have a winning personality though. Midwest, sweet girl.


MALE. Blue collar to the core. Michigan State is one tough kid that grew up by putting a few down. That's just Michigan State's way. Big beefy kid.

Admit it, Stereotyper- this stereotype is based 100% on Michael Moore always wearing a Michigan State hat, Stereotyper? Come on....admit it.


MALE. What can we say about Memphis? He's a southern BLACK kid, really culinary and polite. He's artistic, and draws comic books really well.

"And by 'really culinary' I mean 'barbecues a lot'. That's all I know about Memphis."


MALE. He plays lacrosse. A dude. Low key. Mid Atlantic, wears baseball hats and chinos.


MALE. He looks like Jim Tressle (head coach of Ohio State football) in the dress code. Red sweater vest. Always. Doesn't care for swearing either — of course we never really test this out as they are commercial advertisements and no one swears in them, but it's true nevertheless. A Republican.


MALE. African-American. Young Obama. Think Toofer-the straight-laced, Harvard grad writer from 30 Rock (Keith Powell)

Right. No black kids at state schools in Illinois go to school in Chicago, they prefer the charms of the rural, central part of the state.


FEMALE. She's a fun loving girl, Oklahoma born and bred. Decided not to travel out of State so she should be closer to home. She's a flirt. She's a hot chick.

Again with the characterization. "born and BRED"? Was this commercial series going to discuss where eachother's parents conceived them? I mean, that's VERY extensive characterization, especially for commercials. That are about sports. Yikes.


MALE. True to the region, Texas A&M is one tough dude. He's not big physically, but he is imposing. He's an ROTC kid and his 100-yard stare lets you know it.


MALE & FEMALE. Baylor is not one people but two. It's a couple. In fact, we're not even sure which one goes to Baylor. We only know they are madly in love. Their world is each other, which is really sweet or really sickening, depending. Think Sheri Oteri and Will Farrell as the cheerleaders.