See you later, ESPN.
I wish you the best.
For years, you were a close friend, who were there for me in thick, thin and when I was boarded up in Ohio winter weather.
I loved SportsCenter. I loved Australian Rules Football.
Heck, I even watched a Class C product like AWA Wrestling featuring the likes of Sgt. Slaughter.
However, over the last few weeks, it’s hit me. ESPN no longer holds much relevance for me.
Since the early 1980s when ESPN was gobbled up by most cable providers, ESPN has been part of the sports culture. ESPN’s SportsCenter was nearly every fan’s way to either start the day or end it, or both.
Much has changed since the 80s, however.
We now have the NFL Network, with shows on everything NFL including the Scouting Combine. The NFL Network even has speedy replays of its better games.
For every baseball fan like myself, there’s the MLB Network.
No network does a better job covering baseball during the year and in the offseason than the MLB Network.
And it’s not even close.
The MLB networks has top-notch commentators and analysts, including Hall of Famer and former ESPN analyst Peter Gammons.
ESPN has also made a few executive decisions over the years, much for the worse in my viewpoint.
In the past, ESPN was stocked heavy with baseball, basketball and hockey highlights. However, now ESPN’s baseball highlights are nothing more than highlight reels of the Boston, New York and Los Angeles teams.
And hockey? ESPN doesn’t have the NHL anymore so it really could care less about the sport. Luckily Fox Sports Ohio and NBCSP fill that void.
If you are an NBA fan, you better be a Lakers, Thunder, Celtics or Heat fan, because you won’t see much of anyone else on SportsCenter.
This attitude has even drifted down to ESPN radio with Colin Cowherd, who once said that the NFL and MLB should do some heavy contraction and eliminate teams in Florida and Ohio.
How much attention are the Reds and Indians going to get on ESPN when their talking heads are talking of contracting Ohio teams?
My other huge objection to ESPN has been the never-ending list of silly programing since around 2000. There was “Stump the Schwab,” where contestants battled ESPN trivia expert and researcher Howie Schwab.
Picture someone who hasn’t left the couch in six months watching sporting events 24-7 with a bottomless jar of cheese balls and that’s Schwab.
There was also “Dream Job,” where fresh face kids out of college competed for a sports anchor job—or at least a spot on the air at 2 a.m.
ESPN did come up with PTI, featuring Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser, a favorite of most sports fans.
But for every PTI, ESPN created brain-dead, full-throttle yelling and giggling shows like “Around the Horn,” “First Take,” “SportsNation,” and any show hosted by Stephen A. Smith.
Over the years, a number of ESPN personalities have tried to carve their own niche by upstaging the events and highlights.
A classic case of this is Stuart Scott. I probably sound like the dinosaur I am, but I just don’t get Scott.
I also just read the book about the history of ESPN, “Those Guys Have All the Fun.” In it, Mike Tirico comes off poorly, with numerous sexual harassment allegations against him. In the end, ESPN handed him a suspension.
Let’s just say Tirico probably shouldn’t be still working at ESPN.
Chris “Boomer” Berman’s act has long grown old. In the book, Berman belittles the help and clearly feels the universe revolves around his chair at ESPN.
Sure, I’ll still watch a MLB game or the occasional college basketball game on ESPN.
But, outside of a game here and there, I’ll no longer be watching ESPN’s SportsCenter, SportsNation or any other of their assorted nonsense.
Give me the MLB Channel with Mitch Williams, Dan Plesac and John Hart any day.
Good-bye Boomer. It was nice knowing you.