Yet another low for ESPN

August 20, 2007

250px-espn8.pngESPN often goes overboard with self-promotion. This is nothing new. But this was so incredibly subtle and petty I had to point it out.

Shakedown Sports found a New York Post¬†column by Phil Mushnick which says ESPN is only displaying each little leaguer’s favorite TV show when it’s a program on a Disney-owned network.

For those of you who never watch the Little League World Series, typically ESPN has a graphic as each batter comes up saying each player’s favorite player, favorite subject in school, favorite TV show, etc. But they’re only displaying the show when it’s a show on a network like ESPN, ABC or the Disney channel.

As Mushnick said:

A cease and desist memo from above should have been circulated on this nearly 10 years ago. Instead, and once again, ESPN is using children for cheap, easy, transparent and worthless self-promotion.

Stay classy, ESPN.

Note: Phil Mushnick is quickly emerging as one of my favorite mainstream writers¬†for stories calling out ESPN and people like Joe Morgan. Keep ‘em coming, Phil.

Monday Links

August 20, 2007

bulldurham_731.jpgImagine making a baseball team from characters in baseball movies. I’d love to see what Crash Davis could do for Steve Nebraska. (Epic Carnival)

This is why I can’t stand watching the NFL Preseason. (Larry Brown Sports)

That Mark Teixiera deal is working out for the Braves so far. (Babes Love Baseball)

A Red Sox fan enters Yankee Stadium. (Bugs & Cranks)

An excellent take on why Kia Vaughn’s lawsuit against Don Imus is a bad decision (Ballers, Gamers and Scoundrels)

How does a team in contention lose 16 straight starts by Chris Capuano? (Just Call me Juice)

pac-10-usa-states.pngOccasionally, ESPN does some good stuff like real analysis.

Mark Schlabach did some research analyzing the most overrated and underrated teams of the 10 years. He looked at teams preseason rankings in the major polls and where they ended up in the final polls.

Not surprisingly, the Pac-10 was by far the most underrated major conference, not even close to the marks the next conference got.

This just reinforces my belief that the voters of the major polls have anti-West Coast biases. They watch the SEC, the Big Ten, the Big 12, Notre Dame, and the best teams of the ACC and Big East. But not the Pac-10, especially outside of USC.

USC is clearly the most dominant team in the Pac-10, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only team out here. Oregon and Washington State were both among the top-three most underrated teams (Boise State, another western team, was the other).

Unfortunately, these preseason polls do matter. The coaches’ poll and the Harris poll are a part of the BCS formula, and teams ranked low or not ranked at all will have difficulty leapfrogging teams that are ranked if they have similar won-loss records.

This is why we need to get rid of the polls. Ideally, we’d get a playoff system. But until that happens, at least the computer rankings are unbiased. Some may have their flaws, but they don’t just watch the SEC and ignore the Pac-10.

Monday sports preview

August 20, 2007

angels_celebrate_alds.jpgGAME OF THE DAY: New York Yankees at LA Angels, nationally televised by ESPN2, 7 p.m. Yes, ESPN finally decides to televise a West Coast game not involving Barry Bonds, and it involves — the Yankees.

The Angels just finished off a split with Boston over the weekend, which was great for them considering 1) The Red Sox have the best record in the majors, 2) It was at Fenway, 3) The Angels usually do badly there.

The Yankees have won three games in a row, all against the Tigers, and enter a tough road-trip with three at the Angels and three at Detroit. As Pinstripe Alley points out, the Yankees could control their series destiny with a good series.

The Angels begin a stretch with 17 of 20 games at home. They have also just finished four series in a row against teams with winning records, and have three more in a row (vs. Yankees, vs. Toronto, @ Seattle). For some meaningless trivia, the Angels have won 4 of 6 against the Yankees this year, with only the three this week left against them. The Angels haven’t lost the season series to the Yankees since 2003.

OTHER BIG MLB GAMES:

St. Louis at Chicago Cubs, 11 a.m. The two teams were rained out on Sunday night. Cardinal fans are in denial about how bad the NL Central is this year. I promise to have more detailed posts about the best and worst divisions later this week.

Seattle at Minnesota, 5 p.m. The Mariners finished off a sweep of the White Sox and Lookout Landing is comparing them to a potential Goliath. The Twins are hanging in the AL Central race, only six games out.

Milwaukee at Arizona, 6:30 p.m. This may be the first time ever a Milwaukee-Arizona series is big for both teams. Weirdly enough, AZ Snakepit is the first baseball blog I’ve seen to track their team’s magic number.

OTHER SPORTS:

Preseason NFL: Chicago at Indianapolis, 5 p.m., ESPN. I’ve heard good things about the new Monday Night Football crew, but I refuse to watch them until the season starts.

Little League World Series: Games all day, ESPN/ESPN2: 12-year-olds playing baseball better than I did at any age.

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