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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Heath Bell Complains ESPN Goes Overboard with Yankees, Red Sox, Mets

And I agree. On Monday I wanted to see highlights of Orlando Hudson hitting for the cycle for the Dodgers. Considering how tough it is to accomplish that feat at anytime and the fact that he was practically the first Dodger since Brooklyn to accomplish the trick, you figure it would get some good attention. And because it was the Dodgers’ home opener and a day game, I didn’t get to see it live but figured I would catch the hits on a a highlight show. Naturally I watched both SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight to get my fix, figuring I would only need to wait a few minutes to catch the highlights — a player hitting for the cycle usually is at the top of the list when it comes to day-to-day activities in MLB. I was wrong. Thoroughly. Hudson’s cycle got buried halfway through each show. Why you ask? ESPN was too busy slurping the Mets for the opening of Citi Field. That not only upset me, it also pissed off Padres closer Heath Bell something good when he spoke prior to Monday’s game:

“I saw John Kruk on ‘Baseball Tonight,’ and he said, ‘[the Padres are] playing real well, but I don’t believe in them,’ ” Bell said before Monday’s game. “And I saw ESPN’s promo for tonight’s game. They mention the Mets are opening Citi Field, they mentioned the starting time, but nowhere did they mention the Padres. That gave me the (expletive).”

Bell was just getting warmed up in his pregame commentary.

“I truly believe ESPN only cares about promoting the Red Sox and Yankees and Mets – and nobody else,” said the closer, a former Met. “That’s why I like the MLB Network, because they promote everybody. I’m really turned off by ESPN and ‘Baseball Tonight.’ When Jake Peavy threw 8 1/3 innings on Saturday, they showed one pitch in the third inning and that was it. It’s all about the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.”

The beginning of the season, if not any other time, is when you should be the most open-minded about showing highlights equally. Since it’s a fresh year, anything goes — expectations are out the window and so is last year’s performances. If Aaron Harang throws a three-hit shutout for the Reds against the Pirates and it’s the best pitching performance of the season thus far, you should place more prominence on those highlights. Instead, how the Yankees, Mets, or Red Sox fared, good or bad, always seems to come first. It really is a big turnoff and I might have to start joining Bell at MLB Network, too.

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