ESPN has lost all credibility as a reliable MLB news source, choosing culture and correctness over competition.
On the continuous loop of one-hour editions of ESPN’s SportsCenter that ran overnight on the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in Sports,” August 10 teased the NBA, Tiger Woods, and stated that the hottest team in baseball are the Miami Marlins.
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But if you watched SportsCenter, there was not one thing said about the A’s winning streak or their 3-1 victory over the Astros. No mentions. No highlights. No respect.
But you would know that the WNBA’s 4-4 Dallas Wings beat the 2-6 Atlanta Dream, that Messi had a goal in international soccer, that there were two knockouts in meaningless MMA bouts, that Woods is playing in the PGA Championship (he is tied for 59th going into the final round) against other golfers and that ESPN can’t open any broadcast without a LeBron James mention.
Lebron James is to ESPN what Donald J. Trump is to Fox News. The networks are nothing more than a shill and seem quite comfortable with that. ESPN is all about sensationalizing at the expense of serious sports news, even it requires a little misinformation like the Marlins hot streak, which is now at one loss in a row.
I am actually surprised the Marlins earned a mention. They aren’t the New York Yankees or New York Mets, the Boston Red Sox or the Los Angeles Dodgers, the only teams of the 30 MLB clubs that ESPN chooses to feature. By the way, they promoted their Sunday night game coming up on August 16 which is, shocker here, Red Sox versus Yankees.
ESPN is nearing the end of media contract with MLB signed in 2012 for $5.6 billion. When that much money changes hands, one would think ESPN would have cherished the property, not relegated it to a line item in the budget.
The network canceled the excellent Baseball Tonight series in 2019. The main broadcasts are often insufferable. Their direction in porous. Color commentator Alex Rodriquez is there for his perceived star power. Original Sunday night team member and retired Women’s softball player Jessica Mendoza, who has been reassigned to her house for ZOOM broadcasts of Korean Baseball, seems to think she is paid by the word, adds no insight and verbally steps-on the play-by-play announcer, the first thing one learns not to do in Sports Broadcasting 101.
MLB recently finalized a long-term media rights deal with Turner Sports, a network that started as an outlet to broadcast Atlanta Braves games on cable nationally. They take sports seriously. ESPN should give up or greatly reduce their MLB commitment. Their product shows they have already given up.
Maybe ESPN is waiting for LeBron James to take a turn at playing baseball ala Michael Jordan. That would give the network something they to talk about.