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ESPN Joins MLB in Ripping Frank McCourt’s Handling of the Dodgers

Before we go any further I’d like to make one thing clear: Frank McCourt is the worst thing to happen to the Dodgers in the past 10 years and I can’t wait for him to lose the team. He’s a horrible person who seriously lacks any moral standard, and he never deserved to own the team. The best thing McCourt could do for the franchise is give up his legal fight and allow MLB to completely seize the team.

Even though I can’t wait for the Dodgers to have new owners, it was quite surprising to see all the anti-McCourt propaganda ESPN ran on Sunday Night Baseball. Prior to the Dodgers and Angels game Sunday, Tim Kurkjian did an excellent piece on the history of the Dodgers. His point was that the franchise and fans deserve much better than the treatment they’ve received from McCourt. Then during the game, ESPN ran the following (commercial? documentary?) video that had an identical theme:

For anyone who’s watched Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN, it was quite shocking to hear them editorialize during the middle of a game. As I said before, I fully support their message and would love to see the face of the franchise, Vin Scully, deliver a similar message. But their McCourt bashing didn’t stop there — it continued during the inning.

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ESPN Personalities Who Criticize Texas Could get Replaced

Remember the blockbuster TV deal the University of Texas signed with ESPN? The Longhorn Network is set to go live in August after ESPN agreed to pay them around $300 million for the next 20 years. Well apparently Texas is in such high demand ESPN signed a sweetheart deal just to lock them up. So much so that they’ve conceded the ability to criticize the school in their contract.

The Austin American-Statesman via Ben Maller did some digging and discovered this alarming aspect of the contract:

“In the event that UT reasonably determines that any on-air talent does not reflect the quality and reputation desired by UT for the Network based on inappropriate statements made or actions taken by such talent and so notifies ESPN, ESPN will cause such talent to be promptly replaced (and will in any event no longer allow them on air following such notice).”

The first rule of ESPN and Texas’ broadcasting arrangement is you do not talk badly about the Longhorns. The second rule of ESPN and Texas’ broadcasting arrangement is you do not talk badly about the Longhorns. The third rule of ESPN and Texas’ broadcasting arrangement is you do not talk badly about the Longhorns.

Does anyone else see a problem here? Is it alarming to anyone else that one of the largest and most important sports networks in the country won’t be allowed to say anything controversial about one of the biggest football programs around? I understand objectivity is tough to achieve, but there’s a difference between having natural biases and outright cheerleading. I’m afraid we’re veering into dangerous ground here.

Video: Lil Wayne Shown Swearing Before ESPN First Take Appearance

Rapper Lil Wayne has been seen court-side at NBA games a lot lately, to the point where he complained about Dwyane Wade and LeBron James stiffing him. There are plenty of YouTube videos of Wayne celebrating and apparently yelling at opposing players during games, but Friday morning I got my first glimpse of exactly what Wayne is yelling during those games. The rapper was about to appear on ESPN First Take and the network teased the appearance like this:

How did ESPN let this get on air? Someone has to be responsible for screening the video and it’s not like it’s unclear as to what he is saying. It seems very clear to me what Wayne is saying; “p***y a** n***a.” I’m not sure who he’s yelling at, but while Wayne might have some street cred, I’m fairly confident he wouldn’t fair too well in a fist fight with about 95% of NBA players. ESPN is a subsidiary of Disney and I’m sure that’s not the type of content Disney would endorse. I’m not personally offended by it, but I’m sure someone will be. In any case, I can’t imagine someone not losing their job over this.

Jon Miller and Joe Morgan to be Replaced by Dan Schulman, Orel Hershiser on ESPN

Jon Miller is one of my favorite broadcasters around. Joe Morgan is my least. It’s unfortunate that the latter all but certainly cost the former his job. Jimmy Traina shared with us the New York Times report that ESPN is breaking up its Sunday Night Baseball team after 20 years. They say Orel Hershiser, who joined Miller and Morgan as part of a three-man team this past season, will serve as the analyst to Dan Schulman.

The move from ESPN was long overdue. It got to the point with Morgan where I couldn’t listen to the man speak without thinking there was something wrong or erroneous about what he was saying. That happens when you tell lie, after lie, after lie on national television and the listening audience calls you out each time. Joe Morgan has a big name but zero credibility. Not that having zero credibility has not stopped networks from hiring people before, but it should be a huge factor in putting someone in front of millions.

The good news is we don’t have to endure Morgan regaling us with falsehoods any longer. Also, Jon Miller may continue doing Sunday night play-by-play for ESPN Radio, so he might not be entirely missed. Lastly, Schulman is an excellent play-by-play man and Hershiser provides great commentary, so I’m looking forward to hearing them on TV in the future. Good move by ESPN, it was about time and they did a great job picking the replacement team.

Scott Van Pelt Says the Spotlight Fixed on ‘South Bitch’ for Heat Opener (Video)

Nothing like a classic Freudian slip to cap off a Friday night.  Don’t tell me Scott Van Pelt didn’t mean to call South Beach “South Bitch” on SportsCenter late Friday night/early Saturday morning.  I mean come on, LeBron James is the headliner down there now.  Chris Bosh, Mr. “I want to be on TV!“, now plays for the Heat.  If the shoe fits.  Check out the video of Scott Van Pelt calling South Beach “South Bitch” on SportsCenter.  Well, it’s kind of an audio of the video, but we’ll try to get you an actual clip later if you’re having trouble visualizing the act.

Video Credit: YouTube user idontdovids123

Jeff Fisher: Titans Ran Up Score After ESPN Requested More TV Timeouts

Many football fans probably missed the end of the Jags-Titans game on Monday night. First off, the game was a total dud because Jacksonville failed to show up. Matters weren’t helped when each team’s starting quarterback got hurt, leaving us with the delightful Trent Edwards-Kerry Collins struggle (first to two field goals wins!). Once things got to 20-0 in the third quarter, fans probably switched over to TBS to watch Cliff Lee and the Rangers against the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS. I kept checking back with the football game, but I missed the very end when Chris Johnson scored a touchdown to make it 30-3 in the final two minutes. I was shocked to see that he had scored that TD, and now I realize it’s become a controversy.

Pro Football Talk’s Gregg Rosenthal pointed out via the Titans Insider that Titans coach Jeff Fisher says he only ran the ball late because ESPN had asked the coaches to call timeouts so the network could air more commercials. Going back over the boxscore, it’s quite curious that Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio called timeouts after two Chris Johnson runs inside the two minute warning. Why would a coach down 20 points with two minutes left begin burning timeouts?

Fisher explained it after the game, “My understanding is they needed network timeouts, and that’s why Jack used his timeouts. They came over and asked me to do it, but I said, ‘I was hoping to get a first down and kneel on it.’”

Had Del Rio not called the two timeouts, the Titans likely would have been able to kneel on the ball and run out the clock. Instead, they poured on the extra touchdown, helping out Chris Johnson fantasy owners in the process. Sports by Brooks says ESPN is denying the claim, but what would you expect them to say? Why would a league like to have the impression that TV controls its product, even if we all already know that’s the case?

The only logical explanation for why Del Rio took the extra timeouts was to see if his team could get the ball back to give Trent Edwards some more game experience with his new team. Now that is semi-plausible.

UPDATE: It appears as if Jeff Fisher was just making a joke.

Photo Credit: J. Meric/Getty Images

ESPN’s Little ‘Herminator’ Segment Was The Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Seen

I don’t know if anyone watched ESPN’s NFL Live today yet or not.  If you haven’t and you plan on it, you’re in for a real treat.  By treat I mean you’ll undoubtedly have a lower IQ when you’re done watching it than you had going in.  I can’t imagine who’s ridiculous idea it was, but someone thought it would be funny to have Herm Edwards play a character called “The Herminator” and declare whether or not each of the five winless NFL teams are out of playoff contention.  Check it out:

On what planet did an ESPN producer think this would go over well and people would find it funny?  If that’s not the dumbest thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life I honestly feel sorry for you.  I can’t stress enough how far from funny I find this bit to be.  I s*** you not when I say that three-minute span was the stupidest three-minute span of television I’ve ever watched in my life.  As a result, I’m not watching ESPN for the remainder of the evening and maybe into tomorrow.  Hope I don’t miss anything important.

Video Credit: DCF Radio