If you read this blog or follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I am not a big fan of ESPN. And it’s sad because the reason I chose to attend SUNY Oswego all those years ago was because both Linda Cohn and Steve Levy of ESPN graduated from its Communications department.
But that was the 1990′s when ESPN was in its heyday, when they could do no wrong, before they turned into an entertainment first, sports later network.
Now it’s people like Tim Tebow, Lebron James and – heaven help us if he’s in the news again – Brett Favre dominating the airwaves all the time.
Just like other mediums and other TV programming, it’s all about the biggest names, not the biggest news.
So it’s no surprise that ESPN’s websites would offer much of the same.
ESPN New York is a site that offers content about all New York sports teams. In fact, the coverage on ESPN New York is actually better than what’s shown on TV for every New York team except the New York Yankees.
Yes, the most celebrated franchise in North American sports history has a blog which houses the most petty writers and the most obnoxious tweeters: Wally Matthews, Andrew Marchand and occasionally Ian O’Connor.
Matthews and Marchand use their twitter accounts and the blog to make snide comments and posts about players – mostly Alex Rodriguez. They annoy fans and then act surprised when people don’t appreciate how they act. They claim to be bullied and Matthews even quit Twitter for a while after a particularly bad article of his received too many negative comments and he was embroiled in a battle on the social media network.
My question to ESPN would be: What on earth did New York Yankee fans do to deserve this?
Today’s offending article is the latest by O’Connor in which he declares Joba Chamberlain done. Yes, after one and two-thirds innings of play, Joba Chamberlain’s career is over. Never mind that it’s been 14 months since Chamberlain pitched in the big leagues. Never mind that after the injury he suffered in March most people wouldn’t be near a pitching nound. Never mind that it was an 11-1 game and that the home run he gave up was probably due to nerves.
None of that matters. Nothing matters because Joba Chamberlain is done as a pitcher.
As I was reading the article I shook my head so much I now have to ice it because it’s sore.
Thankfully, I’m not the only one who had a negative reaction to the piece. Most of the over 130 comments that follow that dreck are expressing their dislike for the article. And most of them can’t believe that O’Connor would use less than two innings to gauge whether a player is done or not.
Oh I’m sorry, he finished his article with the following line, “ ”It was a pretty good story for a guy who might yet turn out to be a pretty good pitcher.” So it’s okay that he wrote a pointless article because of that last line.
Hey, maybe we should judge Mr. O’Connor solely on his article today and see how he likes it!
And that’s not to say that everything O’Connor – or even Matthews or Marchand for that matter – writes is bad. It just seems to me that whenever O’Connor is called upon to write about the Yankees for ESPN it’s usually a negatively slanted piece. Let’s not forget last season when he declared Derek Jeter’s career was over – before he got his 3000th hit.
When Marchand tweets, it’s always snarky but seems more malicious than anything. You can be snarky and not be a jackass. Other beat writers who write for the New York Yankees have perfected that art. Maybe Marchand should watch and learn to see how it’s done without alienating fans.
So how can ESPN change this?
Well, how about hiring writers who report the news and not act like teenage girls gossiping on Twitter? Excuse me, I’m sorry, I just insulted teenage girls.
Off the top of my head, I can name at least 10 writers who would do a much better job of taking over ESPN New York’s Yankee coverage. They’d be fair when it was needed, critical of the team when it was needed, analytical when it was needed and they wouldn’t act like pouty children when confronted about their work.
My hope is that Joba comes out for his next appearance and strikes out six straight batters for two innings of scoreless, hitless ball and see what O’Connor writes about that. Oh who am I kidding? He won’t. But if Chamberlain has a stretch of good appearances and then suddenly has a bad game, you know who will be there to write about it!
My other hope is that ESPN gives the Yankees section of ESPN New York a complete overhaul because New York Yankee fans deserve so much better than what they’re currently getting.