Thursday, July 15, 2010

ESPY Recap

By Finesse

When games start that we care about, GTOG will get much more into the analysis.  In the meantime, it's mid-July and there is absolutely nothing going in the sports world that really moves our meter.  Sorry, British Open.  But our legions demand content, so content is what we provide.  Later today we will post some thoughts on the various things of interest that have been going on in the sports world, but first some brief thoughts on the ESPYs last night.

  • Say what you want about ESPN, but they can do a montage.  Even Brooks Orpik was in it.  If I had to nitpick, I think the montage of people who died this year later in the show.  Sure, that is stealing from the Oscars but it is stealing the second most compelling part of the Oscars behind watching millionaires take themselves incredibly seriously when they play pretend for a living.
  • Seth Myers' opening monologue was strong.  I was really surprised there were no Roethlisberger jokes, especially because Myers is a Steelers fan.  The two best jokes (not verbatim)
    • "So LeBron is moving to Miami.  I didn't know he was Jewish."  (This got very little reaction from the crowd)
    • And the one that slayed the crowd: "The ESPY's, where sports and entertainment come together.  Kind of like a Kardashian sister's bedroom."
After the jump: women's basketball, Phil Mickelson, Norm MacDonald, the NHL, and GTOG's first official crush...

  • Most inexplicable line of the show was in the highlights for "Best Breakthrough Athlete" when they played a clip of the Baylor women's basketball announcer saying, "Brittney Griner, the most talked about athlete in the country."  I'm not even kidding that I forgot her last name between the time I heard the sentence/started typing until I got to the part of the sentence where I had to type her name.  So I googled "baylor womens basketball star" to get the name and the first result was "Video: Baylor women's basketball star Brittney Griner punches a Texas Tech opponent." 
  • Could Shaun White possibly be taller than 5'4"?  And those pants!!  He was 100% in women's clothing. He must shop with Frank from the Bachelorette.
  • Most inexplicable winner of the night, hands down: Landon Donovan and the US Soccer Team winning "Best Moment" over Joannie Rochette (the Canadian figure skater who's mother died 4 days before the Olympics), the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl Drew Brees holding his baby, and Phil Mickelson winning the Masters while his wife was suffering from breast cancer.  GTOG prides itself on its sensitivity, so Rochette should have won in a landslide.  Also, I think that Mickelson should have been nominated not because he won despite his wife's breast cancer, but because he won despite his own breasts. 
  • Closing thoughts:
    • Andy Samberg bombed as the German octopus who guessed 8 straight World Cup games correctly.  He's usually pretty funny but that was nearly painful.
    • Ed Thomas's family was impressive in the highlight video when they accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage award.  Ed Thomas is the Iowa high-school football coach who was murdered by a former player.
    • Way too much love for soccer and NOTHING for the NHL.  I know ESPN doesn't care about hockey (though it would if it aired hockey), but is there anything the NHL can do to increase its profile at events like this?  Can't they hire a good publicist with ties to ESPN who can get these guys some good seats and some camera time?  Even Jeremy Shockey was on screen for about 11 minutes last night and he hasn't caught a meaningful pass in the NFL.  No Kane, no Toews, no Ovechkin, no Sid...  The NHL should be more aggressive in promoting itself - it has the best product, but it has to make people realize that.  Of course, it is entirely possible that the NHL asked Sid to go, but he never got the call because he was doing knee-highs through frozen sand on the beaches of Greenland to get ready for next season. 
    • Drew Brees, you are going bald.  You aren't totally bald yet, but everyone can see that it is happening in the next 3 years.  It's not a bad are in your mid-thirties.  Stop hanging on with those dangling bangs and just own it.
    • Will Ferrel's bit as Jeff Vuvezela was clever, but about 6 minutes too long.  In other words, it was the opposite of an episode of Entourage. 
    • Brett Favre can be annoying personally, but his streak of 271 consecutive starts is unreal.  Being addicted to pain killers for a large portion of that streak probably helped, but in all seriousness that streak is remarkable. 
    • "January Jones" could be an adjective to describe Mario.  If we get a 5th blogger at GTOG, he is going to be named "January Jones." 
  • And finally, a classic ESPY opening from Norm McDonald (via Deadspin)


    1. Have you ever seen an athlete more pleased with himself than Brett Favre? How envious was he that Lebron thought of a primetime national television special entitled "The Decision" before he did?

    2. That Norm clip is hilarious, if only because he makes people so uncomfortable (Ken Griffey Jr.)

    3. Seth Myers was good, but not nearly as good as Timberlake last year.

      Do the moderators of this blog have an issue with soccer like ESPN does with hockey?

      Speaking of ESPN's poor hockey coverage... It's often said that ESPN has no incentive to cover the NHL because it and ABC carry zero games. I would argue that ESPN actually does have an incentive -- and that's to show as little hockey as possible. Why? According to wikipedia, the NHL has broadcast deals with NBC and VS through 2010-2011 -- very soon. By not covering much hockey, ESPN turns less people onto the sport throughout the season, not helpful to ratings, which would lower the bidding for the broadcast rights in the near future.

      I probably wouldn't have believed this myself, until I read an ESPN VP attempting to defend the network's NHL coverage. However, all of the evidence was anecdotal (hockey is often in Top 10 plays, promoted Winter Classic, etc). He provided no numerical data across a period of time or comparing it to coverage of other sports -- percentage of Sports Center devoted to hockey, number of interviews/week with hockey players/coaches, percentage of on-site reporters sent to NHL games (compared to other sports), etc, etc. If you don't want to cover the NHL, that's fine, just say it, don't give poor evidence. The moderators of this forum will see right through it when we aren't distracted with The Bachelorette and the incredible cleavage of Frank.

    4. Good point about driving down the price of broadcast rights. I think ESPN wants hockey back, and I think it will outbid Versus. Gary Bettman has made noises about staying loyal to the people that were there for the NHL in leaner times (i.e. the folks at Versus), but that would be bad business. And yes, we do have a problem with soccer. We admit this openly and frequently.

    5. I could see ESPN wanting hockey back -- TV numbers and fan excitement for the game are trending up (and higher than the NBA in the latter, I believe). Versus is not a household name like ESPN and and doesn't have the benefit of a Versus2, Versus360, Versus3, Versus: The Magazine, etc. However, it is owned by Comcast, which purchased (purchasing?) NBC, the major network already showing hockey. Comcast is thriving -- they won't give this up easily and having a growing number of properties to promote the game. Plus they own the Flyers.