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Friday, October 13, 2006

The Moment You've Apparently Been Waiting For...    

...isn't coming.

I don't have anything cruel to say about late Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle.  The only cruel shit I've even thought is more about his teammates than about him.  Beyond that, it's not really that funny.  He died.  His kid grows up w/o a father.  And his death has been sensationalized.  (More on that later.)

My personal feeling on Lidle is convoluted, in that I never liked nor respected him as a baseball player.  The guy was a scab.  In his public spat with Arthur Rhodes, I side with Rhodes.  And Lidle was even involved in the Pedro-vs-Tampa beanball game, which was easily the most unprofessional act in recent major league sports history (even when you include the Ron Artest incident).  Lidle wasn't ejected, but I associate his name with that game more than anyone else's, so I must have seen him do something worth holding a grudge over.  (I know, I'm a bad writer for making specious claims about the dead.  This is exactly why people think Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth in order to fund a Broadway play.  Utter BS.  Look it up.)

Anyway, my genuine lack of respect for Lidle is offset by the genuine tragedy.  He's dead, it's sad, and people will remember him.  But most people will remember him more for the way he died than the way he played baseball.

Enough said on him.  Now for something completely not at all different.

In this month's edition of Shame On ESPN, they get a big fat F- for preempting its programming so that they could let Jeremy Schaap say "we have not heard from the family" for four hours.  Thanks for the update... if only ESPN had some kind of 24-hour news channel where they could have shown this coverage instead.  If Jesus ran ESPN, I'm sure he too would stir up a media whirlwind before the Lidles could be informed that Cory had died; they were on a cross-country plane when it happened.  Of course, that angle was played up by Schaap and ESPN for sympathy.  It brings a tear to my eye that the word "douchebag" falls so far short of the mark.  Shame on ESPN.


  • ESPN has actually managed to become to awful unredeemable phenomenon that people have been claiming it is for the last 5-10 years. I've said that once before, but it's even more true today than before. It's a complete caricature of itself, and it gets worse every day.

    I hate capitalism and all (at least in its current moment), but market inefficiencies like ESPN surviving off of the fat of no competition are especially frustrating. It would be nice if the internet could offer a real solution, but it's not there yet. Still, a daily sports wiki where people post clips or something that had a large enough readership and some kind of vetting process to see who was allowed to actually participate would be pretty sweet.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 1:25 PM  

  • I think that's part of why Deadspin became so huge. Deadspin is to ESPN what The Daily Show is to the news. It's not just a comedic ombudsman; it provides all the relevant national news that an intelligent person would need, along with more balanced, more genuine opinions than we would ever get from ESPN's stable of blowhards. It's as close to an alternative as you can find.

    There's been talk of VS (formerly OLN) challenging ESPN. Since VS is a Comcast property, with all of Comcast's money behind it, they are capable of making it happen if the opportunity arises. But it's an uphill battle. If there were any benefit to the NFL providing VS with content, it would be done. But they don't; the leagues want their own networks, not another ESPN. They don't want to rely on a third party to get their message out there; they want cable companies to have the NFL brand or the NBA brand or whatever.

    So I think we're more likely to see ESPN die alone due to the oh-so-fickle Internets than see another network take them down.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 2:47 PM  

  • OK, so Planet Haystack has a contrarian take on Lidle-Fest '06. It's neither coherent or consistent, but brings three important things to the table:

    1) Sarcasm.
    2) Anti-ESPN sentiment.
    3) The following point:

    When the legendary Buck O'Neil died five days earlier, the fanfare was limited to ESPN throwing the guy a bone with a 3-minute segment.
    It's not fair to compare. Buck O'Neil was an ambassador for the Negro Leagues for 70 years -- but he was beset by a few shortcomings.
    First of all ... he was black.
    Secondly, he was 94 years old.
    Thirdly, he was interesting.

    I don't think for a second that "interesting"-ness is valid grounds for questioning ESPN's decision. But the rest is right on the money. So you don't eulogize the modern-day symbol of the Negro Leagues, a truly important figure in modern sports... but you canonize a guy for crashing into an apartment building and exploding??? That has nothing to do with the person, and everything to do with sensational circumstance. Natural causes and old age aren't sexy enough for ESPN, but going down in flames would be a great ending for an ESPN movie.

    Therefore, I again call douchebaggery on ESPN. J'accuse!

    By Blogger Jeff, at 4:04 PM  

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