In my other life, I work nights so I’ve always got a lot of free time during the day. Usually what happens is I wake up and sit with my laptop in front of the TV for an hour or two when I first wake up. I’d always have Sportscenter on during the day, as they have live shows going from, I believe, 10a-3p ET. It’s pretty much the sports world’s version of a 24-hr news network where anything and everything is combed over with a sledgehammer.
But what was a morning ritual is now one that I haven’t taken part in for the last week. And I have no intention of taking part in again. Last Tuesday, for me, was the day that Sportscenter died.
I had watched/left on in the background the morning Sportscenters as they were generally harmless in a way where the hosts know there’s not a lot to talk about so it’s kind of one big joke unless they’re
fellating talking about Bretty Favre. It always seems like Hannah Storm and Josh Elliot were in on the joke and having a good time with it.
Then everyone decided that they needed to give a shit about hockey for a day. And I mean everyone; Herman Edwards, Doug freaking Gottlieb, EVERYONE.
I was fine letting the random crap about the Saints coach playing a prank on the Cowboys’ owner at a restaurant — winegate, they called it — go as “breaking super important news”. Whatever. It’s football. In this country, if a football player sneezes it’s headline news. But they went to far. They screwed with my hockey.
Last tuesday night, two days after the Olympics ended and the memorable gold medal men’s hockey game was played Ryan Miller and the Sabres were due in Pittsburgh to play the Penguins. This was a big deal all of a sudden. A random regular season game was now important because the two players involved in the game-winning goal that downed America and lifted Canada were playing each other again. And the debate raged on and on at the Sportscenter set.
They dragged out everyone to weigh in whether or not they had ever heard of hockey.
Doug Gottlieb, smarmy college basketball analyst was brought in to decide if Ryan Miller should play that night or sit out. I don’t remember what his answer was because all I remember is how he made some remark about the game being meaningless (correct, in my opinion) and then backed it up with the reasoning, in a scoffing-at-hockey tone, that everyone made the playoffs in hockey. This coming from a guy who covers a sport where 65 teams make the post-season, most of which are just place holders and warm ups for the big boys. Ever see a #16 beat a #1? You haven’t? That’s because it’s never happened. So don’t tell me that your tournament needs all those teams, Doug.
And then there’s Herm Edwards.
He and Barry Melrose were set up to debate the issue, which would be fine if Herm Edwards didn’t spend his life up until about a year ago eating, sleeping and breathing football. But it didn’t matter because everyone, including Linda Cohn who does understand hockey was in on the lynching of Barry. Herm decided that it was a competition of who could yell louder and screamed at Melrose about how it was some sort of mortal sin to sit out a game. In your sport Herm it is a sin since because there are only 16 games to be played. You better get your ass out on that field it you’re getting $10 million to play 16 freaking games. It’s different when there are 82 and you’re a netminder who is responsible for playing in 90% of those. And Cohn was in on the bit, insisting that it was some awful thing that all these people that had watched the gold medal game in the USA (and there were a lot) would all of a sudden be tuned into watching this game and that we would instantly lose all of their attention if Ryan Miller didn’t start one fricking game.
To paraphrase Melrose’s opinion in much more colorful words, he didn’t give a fuck about bandwagon fans.
And that’s why he’s the best. Why sell out your sport for some jokes who don’t really care about it anyway? I don’t know, because that’s what Sportscenter decided our opinion should be?
Well, in the words of Cartman, screw you assholes I’m going home. Or not watching anymore. Whatever.
Go back to talking to Ed Werder reporting from Jerry Jones’ pocket and Rachel Nichols coming to us live from somewhere near Brett Favre’s massive, engorged ego and leave hockey well enough alone.