Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Harold Reynolds...gone, gone , gone

I've been an avid ESPN viewer for the last 18 years. I've seen them grow from an admirable bunch of sports fans turned commentators giving the news, interviews, stories, etc that were actually really good. ESPN brought up some talents like Charlie Steiner, Robin Roberts, Dan Patrick, Keith Olberman etc and some not so talents (Craig Kilborn). They took chuckleheads like Chris Berman & Stuart Scott and turned them into icons. Might I add here that I once loved Chris and Stuart. When you don't change your act for 15 or 30 years your act tends to get a little stale.

I used to love watching Baseball Tonight. Though I thought Andrew Jackson, errr, Peter Gammons was full of himself, he usually knew what he was talking about. I loved how the commentators would go over each ballgame and discuss trade rumors or a few inside stories. Then the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry kicked in again and the show started becoming 30 minutes of Boston and New York, 10 minutes of Bonds, 10 minutes of gossipy crap, 5 minutes of game analysis and maybe 5 minutes of attention to teams not from Boston or New York (sometimes this was taken up by more talk about Bonds).
I always thought most of the players-coaches that came onto the show were way off the mark in their insight of current league issues or games. Instead of intelligently discussing the issue at hand and coming to a logical and sane conclusion, it was a discussion of all the inside parts of baseball we wish we'd never known: That baseball players, for the most part (and probably most athletes in all sports) are egotistical, machismo obsessed, pride mongering neanderthals.
One of the few intelligent spokesmen that I'd heard on this show was Harold Reynolds. Lo and behold someone who once played the game puts down his "Man Cap" for a second and actually discusses the game in an intelligent manner and doesn't assume his audience is intelligence-handicapped. Instead, he treated us as if we could handle whatever information he would give us. He stated his opinion without mistaking his opinion for fact. He wasn't the world's best baseball analyst but he was leagues above Kruk, Kennedy or Brantley. Much more entertaining than Phillips. So...how does ESPN repay him for his 11 years with the network and treating the viewing audience like intelligent human beings? They fire him. No announcement. No explanation. Just GONE.

Well...that's one more (of the many) ESPN shows I won't be watching anymore. Their Sportscenter talent has left years ago, NFL Live offers little in intelligent insight and now Baseball Tonight is off the list since there's no more Reynolds or Gammons (may he recover quickly). Darts, The Spelling Bee, The Scrabble Championships, and poker are not SPORTS. They are games or competitions...but they are not sports. Hockey and soccer are sports...but ESPN is far above covering them. I'd rather they covered Rugby or cricket before starting to cover the spelling bee or darts. Give it up ESPN, you're finished.


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