The sports lessons that keep on giving

Sharing some recent readings and rants ...

Jim Litke: Canseco Offers Civics Lesson -- We have Jose Canseco to thank. He might be the last guy you would pick to teach anybody about anything. But stay with me for a moment here while I propose that he taught fans a valuable civics lesson — namely that the system works. (more ...)

Palmeiro: B12 shot may have caused positive test -- Rafael Palmeiro gave his first public explanation of his failed drug test Wednesday, on the eve of a congressional report on whether the former Baltimore Orioles slugger lied under oath when he denied using steroids. (more ...)

On another topic ...

Lines Between News, Entertainment Blurring. While this story points to examples during the live 'West Wing' debate and ESPN's sportscenter for the questionable blurring of news and entertainment, I didn't see any problem with using the NBC news logo on 'West Wing.' After all, 'West Wing' does appear on NBC and the network gave approval...

I'm not sure I can say the same about ESPN's use of Steve Phillips imitating a Boston Red Sox GM and answering questions about the Red Sox offseason drama. Without initially seeing the stunt (the reasons for my declining viewership of Sportscenter is a whole different post, but this rant provides a pretty darn good starting point ...), I read this story and, frankly, what ESPN was doing infuriated me.

The following day, I had Sportscenter going on the TV during breakfast and reading my morning paper when ESPN pulled the stunt again. This time putting Phillips in the role of the Houston Astros general manager. One by one some of ESPN's most recognized anchors popped up from the 'media' and asked questions of Phillips. Yet I found none of Phillips answers that intriguing or insightful. I mean really, what does STEVE PHILLIPS, know about Roger Clemens' plans for next season or the state of the Astros infield. Even then Phillips' answers seemed to be less authoritative, almost as if even he felt imitating a MLB GM or the segment itself was overstepping some boundaries.

To me, Peter Gammons, a true baseball expert and insider sitting behind a desk, is much more interesting and appealing than some watered down press conference that's more visual than educational. But apparently ESPN doesn't see it that way.

Please ESPN, think about going back to your roots and just show me the sports highlights. That's the only reason I tune in to your 'legendary' show. I want to know whether my team won, I want to see the best plays of the day, and how the standings look -- and yes, with a little expert insight on the side ... I DO NOT want to see another heavy metal-laden highlight reel that's overloaded with so many graphics I can barely make out the players, or some mindless ESPN short that's really a sellout piece of advertising coming out of nowhere to break the flow or your program, or Stuart Scott talking like some suave pop star he ain't, or Sean Salsbury arguing with another analyst like it's the WWF, or Chris Berman bumbling up half the program talking about the good 'ol days of -- well, just about anything ... If I wanted any of that I'd turn to E!, MTV or -- well, the History Channel.

Just give me all the sports highlights. Yes, even the lowly teams like the Kansas City Royals, because surely somebody, somewhere loves the Royals and wants to see the highlights, even if they played the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and got trounced.

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