Over the past few years, Realists, we have noticed many a growing trend at ESPN. Among these include the insane “First Take”-ization of its morning sports coverage, the re-Olbermann-ization of its nighttime sports coverage, and LeBron James’ winning of two championships with the Miami Heat having the nerve on the part of ESPN to treat him as if he deserves more coverage on its channel than the President of the United States does on CNN.
It is safe to say that Bristol has in fact changed as of late, more for the worse than for the better. But, you may also have spotted the following few words also appearing on the four-letter networks family of channels as of late:
“ESPN & Media Reports”.
Huh? Come Again?
This is a new phrase. ESPN and Media Reports? What does this mean?
Let’s picture this hypothetical scenario, Realists. Imagine that rumors are starting to bubble up toward the surface that Philadelphia Phillies general manager, Ruben Amaro, Jr., is indeed on the hot seat. But, it was WPEN-FM 97.5 The Fanatic that initially heard the rumors, not ESPN.
97.5 The Fanatic is Philadelphia’s sports radio channel affiliated with ESPN, by the way.
The rumors get louder and louder with media inside and outside Philly continuing to break news. Then, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and MLB Network reports official word from the Phillies that they do, indeed, plan to release Amaro from his duties as Phillies general manager.
Since one of MLB Network’s reporters is the first to find the source of the funny scent of “pink slippage” coming out of Philadelphia, they immediately break in to their regularly scheduled programming to air breaking news coverage of Rosenthal’s report that Amaro is about to receive his walking papers from the Phillies.
As for ESPN—crickets.
Apparently, either word has reached ESPN and they are oblivious to Rosenthal’s report, or they simply do not want to give him credit because Rosenthal is someone who works for one of ESPN’s primary competitors instead of them.
Then, approximately 40 minutes later, ESPN displays a breaking news blurb on TV and its “bottom line” also stating that Amaro was axed by the Phillies, but the graphic will say “ESPN & Media Reports”. Not that other sports media inside and outside of Philadelphia have already confirmed the original breaking news broken by Rosenthal. In other words, Bristol will have waited until one of its scribes (probably Jayson Stark or Buster Olney) also confirmed the same thing that was originally broken by Rosenthal.
Meaning that “ESPN & Media Reports” is simply their cute and little way of saying, “You know what, we didn’t get to this story originally, but at least we reported it. And we’re ESPN, so nothing is official until WE say it is official. WE reported that Amaro had been fired, so only now is it true. He’s gone! Da da da! Da da da!”
By the way, this Realist completely used a hypothetical scenario that is still understood to be a real dream amongst Phillies fans, of course.
The point that must be made is that the farcial phrase that is “ESPN & Media Reports” is merely another sign of how inflated the higher ups of ESPN (and probably a few of their on-air personalities as well) believe they are. It has gradually become worse and worse in terms of the egos that run wild at the Bristol campus, but this went into overdrive after “The Decision”.
When LeBron James announced that he was “taking his talents to South Beach”, ESPN and its family of sister networks turned their channels into on-air infomercials for LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The network basically manufactured that team to a certain extent. Also, they hired Brian Windhorst, the former Cavaliers beat reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, to be in charge of ESPN’s brand-spankin’-new “Heat Index” blog on ESPN.com.
Even during the treacherous winters in Connecticut, there is still a “Heat Index” of 110 degrees on the famous Bristol campus.
ESPN as a sports channel thinks that it is bigger than what it truly is. Not only that, but the network as a media entity has also become bigger than what it truly is. “ESPN & Media Reports” is not only saying that Bristol’s reporters are better than reporters of any other sports outlet because they are ESPN, but that these other reporters don’t even exist.
Meaning that nothing is official until it is broken by someone such as Jayson Stark, Buster Olney, Adam Schefter (who was by a million miles better at NFL Network than ESPN), Chris Mortensen, Chris Broussard, or Stephen A. Smith. Who cares for: Tom Verducci, Ken Rosenthal, Peter Gammons, Jon Heyman, Adrian Wojarnowski, Michael Silver, Jason La Canfora, Jay Glazer, Mike Florio, Peter King, etc. etc. etc.
Wanna know another irony, Realists? Many of the ESPN reporters happen to be very good friends with the reporters from the other sports media outlets. Meaning that the likeliest of cases is that this hogwash about “ESPN & Media Reports” is another creation dreamed up by The Worldwide Leader’s marketing department—just like “The Decision” was also engineered by its marketing department.
Have they totally abandoned one of the central rules of journalism in Bristol, Connecticut? The competition to be “first with breaking news” has become so “everything” in Bristol amongst its higher ups (most of them are in New York and not Bristol) that it values being “first” rather than being accurate. The ESPN ratings (which they always get because they’re bleepin’ ESPN) mean more than the reliability of their reporting.
After all, the numbers never lie.
Neither does this one–2014. It’s not 1979 anymore, Worldwide Leader.
But “ESPN & Media Reports” is rich—Steve Ballmer kind of rich. No—Bob Iger kind of rich. So rich to the point that executives in New York and Burbank want to try and direct its personalities to act as if other sports media do not exist.
Oh, they exist, alright, Bristol. Not only do they exist, but they have been poaching your talent as of late. So far, out of the notable personalities that have left, only Michelle Beadle has since returned.
Try getting back Jim Rome, Charissa Thompson, Erin Andrews, Dan Patrick, and others to return to the campus, and we may have something. But your personalities are abandoning “mothership” and slowly, but surely, it is being increasingly felt at The Worldwide Leader.
Notice how ESPN has rarely done an “ESPN & Media Reports” on one of its personalities leaving them for a competitor? That’s news, isn’t it?
Have a great week Realists! Oh, wait, what is that? Oh, that’s Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports about to break another college sports scandal before Andy Katz does.