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Baseball ... Not Tonight

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Baseball ... Not Tonight

Unread postby pup » Fri May 25, 2007 12:13 am

Not one to normally overpimp any of our writers on the front page, but if there are still people that only come to the message boards and are baseball fans, you must read this article.

Exellent piece and dead spot on accurate.

Good job Paul!
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Unread postby CLEfan86 » Fri May 25, 2007 12:30 am

I watch BBTN but this was spot on. ESPN has really become a joke of a network. Red Sox and Yankees all the time in the MLB, Cowboys and Ed Werder, enough already Terrell Owens is not compelling. And Kruk as was stated is a moron.
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Unread postby jfiling » Fri May 25, 2007 1:32 am

Great article.

Side note: I saw Kruk at Canal Park when he was a coach with the Reading Phillies. I thought for sure his uniform was going to explode trying to contain his fat ass.
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Unread postby paulcousineau » Fri May 25, 2007 8:44 am

As the frustration built nightly listening to Kruk and Phillips and (ugh) Eric Young, it couldn't be held in any more.

It's amazing to me that ESPN doesn't recognize that they're alienating their core fan base with their extra programming, talking heads, and fluff pieces.

The channel was built on sports and analysis for the intelligent fan and it is spiralling quickly downward to "ESPN Original Programming" and people just screaming at each other.

It's shocking that FOX Sports (or anyone else) hasn't jumped all over this to position themselves as the way that ESPN used to be, when it was actually relevant.
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Unread postby swerb » Fri May 25, 2007 9:06 am

Deadspin caught this on Paul's DiaTribe Indians blog and feature linked it ... drawing insane amounts of traffic to it.

I agree, though, great piece. I could not agree more. I really liked Harold Reynolds. Why did he have to go Clarence Thomas on that girl?

And Gammons is the best .... he's on every Thurs morning with Mike and Mike, right at the time I arrive at work. I sit in the car for 10 min and listen to the interview finish.
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Unread postby swerb » Fri May 25, 2007 9:07 am

And Steve Phillips is a raging egomaniac. He went to HS with my wife's uncle up in Michigan. He always told me that .... but I never saw it until this year on BT.
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Unread postby paulcousineau » Fri May 25, 2007 9:14 am

And Gammons is the best .... he's on every Thurs morning with Mike and Mike, right at the time I arrive at work. I sit in the car for 10 min and listen to the interview finish.


I do the same thing...and feel like such a loser sitting in the parking lot listening to the radio.
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Unread postby consigliere » Fri May 25, 2007 10:41 am

Baseball Tonight to me just isn't the same without Gammons and Reynolds on there. Also, used to like Dave Cambell and some of the old guys when it was at its best in the last 90s.

When they brought Kruk on board, they really dumbed it down. Believe it or not, I hardly watch Baseball Tonight anymore.

Great piece Paul.
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Unread postby Steve Buffum » Fri May 25, 2007 10:47 am

I liked the piece, and I certainly agree about Kruk. I like Hershiser when he's on. Tino Martinez looks like he needs another year of leavening.

But let me be contrarian here: Harold Reynolds was HAAAAAAAHRIBLE. He was Steve Phillips except a ballplayer. He always kept ranting on about bunting and moving runners and sounded like Murray Chass' adopted son. I HATED Harold Reynolds. I have no real insights into whether his dismissal was warranted or dirty pool or whatever, but from a purely show-quality standpoint, I was THRILLED when I heard he would no longer be on the show.

Of course, at the time, I did not know that his replacement would be John Kruk, who might consider washing his hair at some point this decade. Kruk is also horrible. But that doesn't make Reynolds good. He was dismal.
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Unread postby dazindiansfanuk » Fri May 25, 2007 11:29 am

Kruk definately looks like the last thing he should be wearing is a suit and the first place he should be is a bar shouting drunkenly at the TV.

But, by far the biggest mess on that show is Eric Young.

Why do TV networks feel that just because you were a pro at a particluar sport it qualifies you to talk about it? Young can't talk at all..... he just splutters and stumbles over his words and hopes that the mess that comes out of his mouth forms a sentence.

It pains me to listen to him.

Fortunately I Sky+ (UK equivalent to Tivo) BBTN and just skip to the bits I want to see - it doesn't seem to take long!
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Unread postby swerb » Fri May 25, 2007 11:59 am

The DiaTriber wrote:
And Gammons is the best .... he's on every Thurs morning with Mike and Mike, right at the time I arrive at work. I sit in the car for 10 min and listen to the interview finish.


I do the same thing...and feel like such a loser sitting in the parking lot listening to the radio.

Whew ... at least I'm not the only one.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Fri May 25, 2007 2:05 pm

I still remember Harold Reynolds always, ALWAYS calling Cliff Lee by the name of Clifford. I guess the guy never pulled up ESPN's own player bios to see that his full name is Clifton or maybe Reynolds never realized that there were other names for which Cliff is a nickname.

I've gotten to see the BT crew down here a couple of times live at the ESPN Weekend at Disney and it's clear the show's gone downhill. I loved talking to Peter Gammons, albeit briefly, a couple of times and realizing how much the guy knows about baseball at every level. He was listing prospects in our system that I had never heard of, and while I'm not Tony when it comes to tracking the minors, I'm not a slouch.

Kruk was an arrogant ass who seemed more comfortable cracking jokes than giving good analysis.

Harold Reynolds was always nice, but I never found his analysis to be all the impressive. He had a good grasp on the obvious (Clifford Lee needs to improve his location if he wants to be more valuable to the team - thanks Einstein).

Ravech was okay, but was more of a moderator.

Steve Phillips couldn't stop talking about his days as the Mets GM. That's not something to be proud of. There's a reason he's not a GM somewhere else and is an ESPN talking head.

I haven't watched BT at all this season and am none the worse for it. It would be nice if a network would create another in-depth baseball show for the more intelligent fan, but I'm not holding my breath.
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Unread postby consigliere » Fri May 25, 2007 2:19 pm

Bottom line: To me, Gammons was BT. He is what made that show, and that show is what made him the legend he is today. Sure wish he could get back on there....
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Unread postby VultureHxC » Fri May 25, 2007 2:50 pm

i've become annoyed with BT also. it does seem that everytime i turn it on, they're talking about the yankees or red sox and have a 10 minute discussion. they never seem to show indians highlights until the tail end of the show. their new segment "that's nasty" is a good idea but could easily be put into highlights and save time (they also never seem to show any indians, which was weird especially the time i watched it after carmona pitched against the twins at the jake and the twins were raving about his pitches and they never showed one from him) they also never seem to break from the status quo and say things that might ruffle feathers (except for kruk but that's cause he's an idiot and doesn't know what he's talking about). i enjoy nfl live way more, mainly cause it's entertaining and they know what they're doing and not afraid to say anything (and hate to be off topic but does anyone else remember mark schlereth on draft day saying brady quinn is a less athletic version of charlie frye?)
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Unread postby leadpipe » Fri May 25, 2007 3:00 pm

Let's not forget that ESPN's worst personality is at his all time worst in the baseball booth. When Chris Berman is on the west coast game there are two guarantees, 1. He is going to say "Welcome to the Hotel California" in the first two minutes, as if it's the least bit funny and 2. Lead will be turning the channel.
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Unread postby Wahoot » Fri May 25, 2007 7:06 pm

I haven't watched BBT in years -- since the mid/late 90s probably. As soon as they dressed Rob Dibble in a suit and proclaimed him an "analyst" I knew it was over. Kruk was just icing on the cake.
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Unread postby Wahoot » Fri May 25, 2007 7:10 pm

Couple BT's incompetence with Joe Morgan's broadcasting skills, and ESPN is about the worst place to catch a Tribe game.

(They're on tomorrow night, BTW.)
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Unread postby intenso » Fri May 25, 2007 8:21 pm

Mr. MacPhisto wrote:I still remember Harold Reynolds always, ALWAYS calling Cliff Lee by the name of Clifford. I guess the guy never pulled up ESPN's own player bios to see that his full name is Clifton or maybe Reynolds never realized that there were other names for which Cliff is a nickname.

I've gotten to see the BT crew down here a couple of times live at the ESPN Weekend at Disney and it's clear the show's gone downhill. I loved talking to Peter Gammons, albeit briefly, a couple of times and realizing how much the guy knows about baseball at every level. He was listing prospects in our system that I had never heard of, and while I'm not Tony when it comes to tracking the minors, I'm not a slouch.

Kruk was an arrogant ass who seemed more comfortable cracking jokes than giving good analysis.

Harold Reynolds was always nice, but I never found his analysis to be all the impressive. He had a good grasp on the obvious (Clifford Lee needs to improve his location if he wants to be more valuable to the team - thanks Einstein).

Ravech was okay, but was more of a moderator.

Steve Phillips couldn't stop talking about his days as the Mets GM. That's not something to be proud of. There's a reason he's not a GM somewhere else and is an ESPN talking head.

I haven't watched BT at all this season and am none the worse for it. It would be nice if a network would create another in-depth baseball show for the more intelligent fan, but I'm not holding my breath.




Gammons did the Clifford thing too for like two whole years.
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Unread postby Charboneau » Fri May 25, 2007 8:44 pm

They need to sign Al Palowski to do BBT. When you think of the big names in sports broadcasting - Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Ernie Harwell, etc. - you have to put Al Palowski in that group. He's the biggest name in TV today.
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Unread postby jfiling » Fri May 25, 2007 9:15 pm

Charboneau wrote:They need to sign Al Palowski to do BBT. When you think of the big names in sports broadcasting - Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Ernie Harwell, etc. - you have to put Al Palowski in that group. He's the biggest name in TV today.


I'm pretty sure that the name of Tony Lastoria is now the biggest name in TV.
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Unread postby Charboneau » Fri May 25, 2007 9:26 pm

I'm sure it won't be long before every pre-teen girl in teh country is carrying an Al Palowski lunchbox and backpack. He's Teeb Beat material. it will be hard for STO to keep such a vibrant broadcaster like Al long term.

Anyone else just tired of Marte's offensive woes?
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Unread postby consigliere » Sat May 26, 2007 9:04 am

Looks like the players even notice it too....

http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/plaindea ... thispage=2

Showtime:

The Indians get some national exposure today and Sunday. Fox (WJW Channel 8) will carry this afternoon's game against the Tigers. Sunday night they're on ESPN.

"Maybe we'll get away from Boston and New York being on ESPN and 'SportsCenter' every day," said Borowski. "It's like baseball doesn't exist except for those two teams.

"Every other team gets two minutes. Those two teams get half the program."
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Unread postby furls » Sat May 26, 2007 9:25 am

Can you guys remember a distant second place, (10.5 back going into today) sub .500 team getting this much attention? It is disgusting and it further underscores ESPN's major problem.

The network is no longer anywhere near objective/disinterested and analytical; it is now merely pandering to ratings. In the short run, this strategy makes sense but in the long run, it undermines the long term best interests of the sport and the network. I cannot speak for ESPNs ratings, all I can do is go based on my own (limited) experiences with baseball fans from varying cities.

One of the "benefits" of being in the military is that I get to "interact" with fans of most markets and what I can say is that outside of New York, Boston, and LA fans most of these guys are fairly disgusted with ESPNs limited coverage of their markets. The AL Central is far from sexy, but if you really want to cover the best baseball in the AL, than you have to spend the bulk of your time on this division.

What happened to "insight" on the network? I have actually heard the network baseball braintrust say things like, "if the Tigers keep winning like this, they are going to be hard to catch." Wow, that is insightful... if a team keeps winning ~70% of their games, they are going to be hard to catch? They get paid for this shit? Seriously?

I could not agree more with the assertion that part of the problem with the network is that the "talent" overvalues their own celebrity. Have any of you ever heard Dan Patrick's radio show? What a pretentious jack ass. How often have you seen Chris Berman announce his own hilights from some golf Pro-Am? Seriously, when did watching him golf become sports news worthy? More importantly, has he ever heard himself call a sporting event? It is obnoxious. If you ever need proof of how played out and irritating his act is just watch a home run derby. He insists on using his BACK BACK BACK BACK GONE tag line on every HR (all 450 of them) and he never seems to notice that after the first five it is like finger nails on a chalk board.

and that brings us back to the original point, ESPN has failed to realize that the only thing that people come back for is the SPORTS not the "talent." Give me responsible reporting and real insight on a guy with 0 personality (Jaworski and Mortenson come to mind) any day. I guess I should not complain about ESPN's woes and limited coverage of small markets, because it is just ultimately attributing to the rising popularity of sites like this one as ESPN alienates more and more fans with their disinterested or irresponsible coverage of their teams.
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Unread postby swerb » Sat May 26, 2007 9:37 am

Much like the fading Cleveland Plain Dealer, expensive baby formula producers Similac and Enfamil, and Windows (pre-Apple resurgence) ... ESPN has gone downhill because of one simple fact.

They have NO competition.

And Furls is dead nuts on. ESPN panders to its ratings markets.

FOX Sports has been a disaster. How in the sam hell has that station never been able to put together a program to compete with Sportscenter? What's their answer? Best Damn Sports Show? That show is a trainwreck.

At one point 5-6 years ago, FOX looked like they may make a run at being a viable competitor to ESPN, but it never happened. The station regressed.

The local Fox Sports station is a great microcosm of the company as a whole. It sucks. There is absolutely no worthy programming of any note besides their Cavs telecasts. A great example of just how sad and uninspiring the station is was their decision to resurrect The BSK, Kendall Lewis, from the dead to join Les Levine as co-host of Cleveland Rants. What a joke.
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Unread postby swerb » Sat May 26, 2007 9:39 am

And while I'm thinking about it, a "Best and the Worst of the ESPN personalities" column would be great for the front page if anyone wants to take it on.
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Unread postby furls » Sat May 26, 2007 10:25 am

Gotta couple ideas, Ill email you swerb.
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Unread postby leadpipe » Sat May 26, 2007 12:59 pm

Swerb wrote:And while I'm thinking about it, a "Best and the Worst of the ESPN personalities" column would be great for the front page if anyone wants to take it on.


Without question, the worst is Berman. What makes this so is not only his ineptness and arrogance, but the fact that the other ESPN lackeys seem to be told to treat him with this "legend" status. As if it's a special honor when he sits in at sportscenter and does his stupid, played out nicknames. And Furls brings up a classic. The home run derby is unwatchable with his bacb, back followed by, apparently what he thinkls is extremely funny, "caught by a fan from (insert small town near host city) 943 times during the event. Or another favorite, when he's the Swami and every week he has a game predicted like "Patriots 3, Bill 2. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAA.
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Unread postby Jumbo » Mon May 28, 2007 9:21 am

I actually think Beman does a pretty good job on NFL Countdown, where he's not doing highlights so much as introducing games and setting up some of the other talking heads. If he simply dumped the nicknames and just called the game straight, he'd be alright.

As for BBTN, Karl Ravech is OK as a highlights guy but he gets dragged down by Kruk and Phillips. Eric Young is unlistenable. Hershisher is fine. Gammons is Gammons. Buster Olney has gotten pretty good, actually.

I wouldn't mind a Ravech-Orel-Olney main cast with Gammons filling in as much as his health permits.

They have NO competition.


Well, there was CNN/SI about 10(?) years ago...which just goes to show you can't have a viable sports network if you broadcast no games. It would've been interesting though, since CNN is in the Turner fold, if they had made a quicker move for the NBA (putting it on CNN/SI) and moved their Braves games there too, in anticipation of a bigger play for baseball.

I wonder if we might've seen something like the NFL's AFC/NFC split between CBS/Fox, with ESPN taking the AL and their beloved Red Sox and Yankees and the Turner networks the NL, building around the Braves fanbase.
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