Monthly Archives: January 2012

All Star Game? More like, All Star..Lame..

I apologize for the headline, I need to work on that.

So, the 2012 All-Star Fantasy Draft was completed yesterday and was packed with surprises! Well, not really. It was pretty lame, which doesn’t qualify as a surprise, unfortunately. I guess it was decent, but that music they played after every damn player was selected was annoying as s**t. I did enjoy watching Carey Price (who is a really goofy bastard, apparently) “miss” captain Zdeno Chara’s handshake and have Chara sort of chase him into the seats and stare him down…and also Marian Gaborik walk over to Henrik Lundqvist’s side of the room before turning around to go to the correct team. Alright, fine, NHL, I guess it wasn’t that bad, it was somewhat entertaining, but it did get old after the first few picks and after they stopped talking to players. But anyway, it at least set us up for this weekend’s exciting events. And by exciting events, I mean, of course, the skills competition. Can’t really understand why they still have the actual All-Star game. What kind of ratings does that thing get? If I want to watch a hockey game, I’ll watch an actual hockey game when the points count. The skills competition is at least unique, exciting, and most importantly, is a competition.

Seriously, I’d rather watch Ovechkin make a clown out of himself for three hours than watch 35 super-skilled skaters and Dan Girardi (sorry, bud) lollygag around the ice and half-ass an offensive effort, while the goalies just hang back in their nets trying not to pull a Rick DiPiet– I mean hamstring. It’s just not entertaining.

The skills competition is great. It’s hockey-related, and it’s much more interesting than an effort-less hockey “game”. You get to see the players showcase their skills and have something to brag about to everyone else; they can tell their teammates and the other players, “hey, you see that? I’m the fastest skater in the league, fools!” or “hey, did you see how nifty and clever my moves are?” or, in Chara’s case, “hey, you see that? No, it was probably too fast for your puny human, non-giant eyes to comprehend; don’t try blocking that shot in a game or you might break an ankle and miss the playoffs. Seriously, Mr. Ryan Callahan” (seriously, Callahan).

And the fans love it! It almost feels like a refreshing break from an adrenaline-filled season. It’s different, and that’s what makes it great! There aren’t any faceoffs, offsides, 1-3-1 traps, officiating, heart-wrenching saves and posts, or Daniel Carcillo (WARNING: don’t have anything in your mouth when you click the link). Now that’s not to say that all those things are indefinitely bad (except for the last one, maybe), but they can become a bit monotonous over an 82-game season. The skills competition is to the regular season sort of like what a losing season must be like to a Detroit Red Wings fan: sure, it’s nice to win, but it’s probably annoying to win ALL the time. Right? (Tough to enjoy winning if you don’t know what losing is like? Uh, no good without evil? Er, no? Well screw you, Detroit fans.)

Not to mention that we get to see the more human side of players. Instead of crowding on the bench or drifting around the ice looking like they’re hating life, players are hanging out, palling around, and chatting it up while they aren’t performing in one of the events, and actually seem to be enjoying themselves; usually they’ll mic up a few players, and sometimes they’re actually funny. And who doesn’t love the shootout tournament? When do you ever get to see something like that in the regular season? ..OK, we get the shootouts in the regular season, but they really shouldn’t be there (that’s a story for another time). Still, one on one with the goalies until only one shooter remains is a pretty exciting deal (much better than 6+ shooters deciding a point in the standings), and the players have to love it..well, everyone except for Girardi, who will probably try to dive in front of the shots directed at Lundqvist (is there a shot blocking contest this year?).

Unfortunately, the league didn’t force the captains to split up the Sedin twins (don’t they get tired of each other anyway?), which would have been neat. Especially if they were in a matched against each in a competition like, oh let’s say the accuracy contest…people would be adjusting their TV screens like crazy (“Honey, it’s doing it again! We’re only getting half the picture, and it’s mirroring itself! I told you we should have bought the Japanese one!”). And who would they award the point/win to when they inevitably tie in every single event they compete  in?

The point is, the skills competition is fun for everyone involved: the fans, the players, the media, the Zamboni driver, the hot dog guy, Mike Myers…basically everyone except for ESPN. Screw those guys. The players don’t have to try that hard and it’s still exciting. We get to see how talented these guys really are, and they show us in a way much different from the standard stuff. I love watching players try to best each other in one-on-one situations. I love watching players, which includes the goalies, make asses out of themselves in the “creative shootout” competition (by the way, more of that, NHL); you just don’t get to see that kind of clownery on a regular basis unless you’re a fan of the New York Islanders or Columbus Blue Jackets.

There are many question to be answered: Will Chara break his own record for deadliest, er, fastest, shot? Will Gaborik score on arch-enemy Henrik Lundqvist in the elimination shootout? Will Pavel Datsyuk embarrass every single person in the arena whenever he touches the puck (spoiler: yes)? Will anyone actually care about the game? One thing is for sure, though: I’m going to be muting my TV when Lupul, Kessel, or Phanuef are participating in an event, or generally anywhere on the ice at all, because those Sens fans hate the Leafs, apparently. I hope Phil Kessel wins the MVP of the game and is awarded another car in front of those obnoxious, booing fans. And then he takes it for a victory lap around the ice…all while having a glove malfunction, of course.

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Just want to give a shout out to ESPN…

I’m done with you. You guys have become the second-worst “news” network on television (a close second to Fox News). I can’t believe you claim to be a sports news medium. You don’t cover sports. You cover entertainment. You cover the easiest thing that will draw ratings, which is usually a product of your own design.

Let’s start by mentioning your hypocrisy, because it probably is one of your biggest weakness (or strengths, not sure how it works in the corporate world). And what better example than the Lions/49ers “handshake” incident:

One week. You talked about the handshake that, even by your own admitting, “didn’t matter”, for an entire week. And I don’t mean just lightly mentioned it; you guys took it to the extreme, and it became THE issue of the week. The event that every single “analyst” on your network, including Skip Bayless, who I’m pretty sure is exclusively told to take the minority side of every issue (in addition to making an ass out of himself), simply passed aside as an incident in which two coaches let the emotions get the better of them after a hard-fought game. It happens. Worth mentioning, but nothing worth getting invested in.

But that’s not your biggest sin. You condemned media for mentioning the pointless issue because talking about it would “overshadow the great game that was played.” After making that claim, what did you do? Talked about it. For a week. Every day. You analyzed the event to no end, trying to draw something that wasn’t really there. You brought in “experts” to talk about it. You brought up past altercations between coaches, trying to compare the most recent scrum to those in history. You didn’t talk about the “great game” that was played. You talked about the meaningless altercation at the end of the game that really had no relevance or effect on anything, then talked about how the altercation had no relevance or effect on anything. Instead of talking about that game, football in general, or really anything else that actually had any importance, you chose to talk about the handshake that “didn’t matter” and was a “non-issue”. Non-issue, huh? Do you guys listen to yourselves talk?

Let’s continue with your hypocritical nature. You condemned LeBron James for “The Decision.” And rightfully so. We should definitely go after the network that chose to air that self-righteous prick making a big deal about which team he was going to sign with, because clearly, it’s not that big a deal, and we shouldn’t be portraying it as such. Oh, but, which network decided to have a one-hour long segment about the superstar and his decision? To which network should we bring the torches and pitchforks (I got mine for Christmas)? Surely, it couldn’t have been ESPN, the network that criticized him for making such a big deal about his signing…oh, it was? That’s strange. Did you guys know about that?

Also, I never thought a network that supposedly prides itself on bringing up-to-date sports news would rely so heavily Twitter. To be fair, Twitter can be a very useful tool, as it can deliver news as it’s happening to a mass audience, often quicker than any TV or radio network can. But that’s not how you use it. I don’t want to know what LeBron has to say, via Twitter, about the NFL lockout. I don’t want to see what LeBron, via Twitter, has to say about baseball. If I want his, or anyone’s, meaningless, non-expert opinion on an issue unrelated to them, I’ll go to Twitter myself. How does anything an NBA basketball player has to say about any issue outside his own sport, or outside his team for that matter, make news, especially when it’s usually some kind of joke or personal nonsense? How many times am I going to change the channel to ESPN looking for news and find you guys talking about Twitter or airing a minute-long segment of what your anchors are doing “behind the scenes”? I’m glad you guys are having fun out there, but…I don’t care.

I won’t even get into Tim Tebow, because the entire world is sick of hearing about him. But you know what you’ve done, and what you continue to do.

Because you, the “Worldwide leader in sports coverage” (or some other BS like that, I really don’t care what your slogan is), have such a stranglehold on the national sports market, people are going to tune in to you guys and take in whatever garbage is spewing from your mouths.

 

Being unemployed (*hint hint*), there’s not much more for me to do than sit here and rant and watch TV; and let’s be honest, television today is awful, especially in the morning and early afternoon. So during this time, I usually tune to SportsCenter, because I’ve accepted the fact that there’s nothing else on, and I’m curious to see what’s going on in the world of my favorite hobby, sports. But I can’t do that anymore. You guys are phonies. You don’t cover sports news; you cover senseless issues that nobody except you and your wallets, and by proxy, your entire audience, care about. You’re making America stupid. You’ve become Access Hollywood: Sports Edition (please note that I have no idea what Access Hollywood actually talks about, but the name is fitting). Through your “work”, casual sports fans are going to know more about LeBron James’ leg hair than they are about relevant issues going on in the world, such as, oh, let’s say an entire hockey team dying in a fatal plane crash.

What’s that? No idea what I’m talking about? “Hockey?” you say? Yeah, it happened. You don’t remember when, at the end of the year, you listed professional athletes that died in 2011, and neglected to mention a single hockey player? When you forgot about the 26 players (plus 11 staff members) that died in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash, and the three players who died over the summer? “That happened?” you say? And when that “slip-up” was brought to your attention, as if only to appease those who knew and cared about the deaths, you said you would run an updated segment listing the excluded players. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…the updated segment was only for some — not all — SportsCenters, of course. I guess those athletes were only worthy of mentioning to a few select audiences.

What sports are you supposed to cover? All of them, you say? Interesting. I still cannot believe you claim to be the “Super awesome sports network that covers all the important sporting issues of our century! Come see us talk about LeBron James’ underwear and compare Tim Tebow to Abraham Lincoln!” Is that your slogan, ESPN? I truly forget, and I apologize for that. You see, after so long of watching your crap, my mind, too, has turned to crap. I no longer have the ability to perform decent research and understand an entire story before bashing my head on my keyboard and releasing the unfiltered garbage to the world. You aren’t even trying anymore.

The last straw, in accumulation with many other outrages, that triggered my fury was an event that occurred on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. I turned you guys on, hoping to get some balanced coverage about all the important stuff that happened in the past day of sports (heh, I know, stupid, right?). What was I thinking? Anywho (I only use that word when I’m trying to be as condescending as possible), I was hoping to get your take on the biggest hockey event of the season so far: The Winter Classic (oh, I should probably explain what that is…hockey is a sport in which two teams…). I was hoping to see what you guys would say about it, and therefore what opinion would be generated by your zombified masses.

I can’t say that I’m surprised, or disappointed, at your coverage (or lack thereof), but it was pretty embarrassing. I mean, why bother to mention that the event even took place if you’re not even going to explain what happened? Here’s my summary of your guys’ summary of the event:

-Hey, look everyone, hockey is still a sport! And they’re playing….OUTSIDE?????

-OOOOHH, eye black, that’s adorable, they think they’re a real sport, like baseball or football!

-Second period! (that’s where the game starts, right?)

-Ummm this guy has great hands and he scores (by the way, someone scored before that, but we won’t tell/show you, you’ll just have to figure out why the scoreboard already read 1-0)

-Third period! The score is now 3-2! I think one team may have scored three to come back from a 2-goal deficit, but who cares. Oh! And there are just 19 seconds left! Isn’t hockey exciting??? Anywho, it’s total chaos, this guy covers the puck in the crease, and it’s a penalty shot! It’s like a shootout! And since shootouts are so thrilling, and pretty much the only relevant part of hockey, we’re going to show this replay twice (don’t worry about the goals, guys, we’ll show you what’s really important)

-Oh, he made the save and the game is over

-The coach’s post-game comments! Look at how he rips the refs! Why is he ripping the refs, you ask? We have no idea! And neither do you, because we didn’t bother to show any of the controversial calls/non-calls…but I’ll be damned if a coach calling out the refs isn’t entertainment, even if there’s no context!

-The NHL Eastern Conference Standings, blah blah, …we apologize for that brief delay in which we didn’t relay actual sports news to you; we now return you to your regularly schedule programming, the wonderful Miami Heat!

-(I just want to clarify that I am not mocking John Buccigross, who covered the Classic and this segment here, or make him look bad; it’s not about him, and he did a great job with what he was given, and he does a good job covering hockey in the minimal time it’s allotted.)

You spent more time talking about a team (the Heat) that receives more coverage than the sports of hockey and soccer (two of the biggest sports in the world, and, despite your beliefs, both very popular sports in this nation) combined than you did the biggest hockey event of the season so far (it was sort of like the NHL’s Superbowl..they even had an unnecessary fly-over by jets and a crappy intermission musical performance). No, wait, let me clarify…you spent more time talking about an individual player who receives more coverage than the sports of hockey and soccer combined: Dwane Wade. As if LeBron wasn’t enough.

Well, to be fair, I can only assume he got that much coverage; my outrage caused me to immediately change the channel to anything else than your garbage, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. But, with nothing else on TV, what did I change it to, you ask? Looney Tunes. Yes, I would rather watch 50-year-old cartoons that I’ve seen hundreds of times as a child (OK, fine, also as an adult) than what’s supposed to be a live, daily update, complete with invigorating discussions, of what is happening in the great world of sports. Because, quite honestly, EPN (not a typo), finding out and analyzing how Bugs Bunny is going to outsmart Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and other great characters, is much more intellectually stimulating than finding out how LeBron James puts his pants on, which apparently, isn’t one leg at a time like the rest of us.

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