Sunday, May 9, 2010

ESPN: Extraordinarily Sucky, Pointless Network

ESPN is a miracle of marketing. When they started, people didn't think there would be enough sports-related content to fill a 24-hour cable channel and now ESPN has four cable channels (not counting ESPN Deportes) and one of the most popular web sites on the internet. The miracle part is that for a massive organization devoted to sports, ESPN does a remarkably shitty job of analyzing and reporting on sports. There's the “east coast bias” that people often complain about—this time of year, it means Red Sox and Yankees all the time—but there's other things I hate about The column topics that get recycled every time an athlete says something race-related or gets accused of sexual assault. The willful ignorance of statistics and an over-reliance on “the team that wanted it more won” cliches. The refusal to have any discussions about sports that are elevated above the level of talk radio. And finally, the times when they decide to roll out content that is so pointless it's somewhat mystifying.

Look at this. Look at this! This is a detailed recap, down to a play-by-play, of a game that never happened between the all-time great Yankees and the all-time great Red Sox. I realize not everything on the internet needs to be a great and enlightening bit of art (see Cheezburger, I Can Haz?) but holy fuck is this thing worthless. Just think about how ESPN made this thing: first it was conceived after weeks of editorial meetings, then web pages and text were produced, edited, and sent to multiple people for approval. Fan votes on who the best Yankees and Red Sox had to be tabulated, probably by a computer that was double-checked by some poor intern. All for something that could have been created by a slightly autistic statistician with a massive baseball card collection, some time, and a stained bathrobe. So good job, ESPN! Just when I think you've hit rock bottom, you find a way to keep digging.

[Ultimate Rivalry: Red Sox vs Yankees]

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