Why Sportscenter Pisses Me Off

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

All I ask of Sportscenter is equal time.

I don't care if the bulk of your staff is clueless about hockey. Feign interest, pull together some clips, and let the post-game interviews do the talking for you.

I get that at this time of year, both basketball and hockey are in the midst of the playoffs. But for God's sake...for the sake of this still-thawing Michiganian...for the sake of many people who live above the Mason-Dixon line...I just ask for some equal airtime for hockey.

Last night, 20,000 fans packed into The Joe to watch one of the most storied rivalries in sports history play itself out. The game went into Overtime after a blazingly-fast 3rd period tie by the Blackhawks. The Wings won the game with a fucking textbook 3-on-1 play to smash the puck at a thousand miles an hour past a stunned Khabibulin, who to his credit made a valiant effort to stop a puck he couldn't see. The checking was furious. Abdelkader threw a Blackhawk judo-style to the ice. The Hawks played as fast and hard as I have ever seen a team play, and the Wings broke their back through attention to detail.

But this morning, as I blazed away on the exercise bike watching Sportscenter, I noticed the next 2 stories in the queue were the Lakers/Nuggets game, followed by the Blackhawks/Wings.

I had 15 minutes left of my 30 minute torture.

11 minutes and 38 seconds were taken by the basketball game. As "highlights" they showed what amounted to every fucking basket scored in the 105-103 game, and some of the baskets they showed from 3 or 4 angles. Then, the showed Kobe Bryant's bragging throughout an entire post-game interview. Then, the Sportscenter talking heads went on about every shove, push, bump and uncalled foul. Then, more highlights of bumping, pushing and uncalled fouls. Then some final words about the game from the talking heads. This was Game 1, by the way.

Then, they cut away from the talking heads to 2 guys who talked about the Wings game. They gave Game 2 of this series 3 minutes and 40 seconds. They showed all 5 goals of the game, one after the other, from one angle, just once, in rapid succession. Thy provided us with a closeup of Osgood, and a post-game closeup of Byfuglien looking mopey. Then, on to baseball. No post-game interviews. No talking head analysis.

THEN...during the Top 10 plays segment, they showed 1 from the Nuggets game, and 6 fucking dumb-assed baseball plays whereby a fielder runs and makes a diving catch. ALL THOSE PLAY LOOK THE FUCKING SAME. Just some fielder, like every other fielder in fucking every baseball game played yesterday who ran and made a diving catch. I swear, they just randomly pick 5 or 6 of those and throw them up there. AND IT'S NOT EVEN THE PLAYOFFS.

The Wings game got 1 highight from a game full of them. It was the winning OT goal. It weighed-in at #6. #1? A fucking diving catch in the outfield in some baseball game. Not even Byfuglien's through-everyone's-legs-and-past-Osgood goal made it. 2 "Top 10" plays were wasted on a "funny" Shaq color commentary and Labron James making a basket while sitting on his ass. Khabibulin and Osgood stood on their fucking heads blocking light-speed shots, and Top 10 Play #9 was Shaq being fucking "funny."



B Mac 8:45 AM  

Amen. I had to go to You-Tube to find the damn highlights.

Sportscenter used to be my one true love. Now it's Yankees highlights, Lebron James, and the NFC East.

Smitty 8:49 AM  

EXACTLY!!! Sportcenter is to sports what Fox News is to News: 1 point of view that they themselves deem to be popular. All else be damned.

Joel 9:41 AM  

I don't even bother with SportsCenter anymore, really. With the leagues now all having their own networks, and me being an avid DirecTv subscriber, as soon as the hockey game is over I go to the NHL Network for NHL on the Fly. Want Tigers highlights? I used to tune in to Baseball Tonight on ESPN, but that is so dominated by all things Yankees/Red Sox, that now I go to the MLB Network. I still get my NFL fix from ESPN, because I think they still have the most knowledgeable crew and they do a decent job of talking about every game... which is much easier in pro football. NBA doesn't have a network yet, so ESPN has become the defacto TV source for that league... which might explain why they focus so much on the NBA, there is no dedicated network in place yet.

For hockey, it's Versus and the NHL Network for me (now that I can't get CBC or TSN out of Canada). ESPN caters to their demographics, it's that simple. 20 million viewers, 80% of whom care about basketball and 30% of whom care about hockey? NBA gets 20 minutes, NHL gets 8.

Rickey Henderson 1:49 PM  

Now that's some grade-A ranting sir. You're absolutely right about the top 10 baseball plays always looking the same--they absolutely do and they're always fielding plays.

Rickey won't pretend to know much about hockey, but it does seem like you grizzlies to the north are getting shafted by the business end of a hockey stick here.

B Mac 2:18 PM  

shafted by the business end of a hockey stick here.That sounds remarkably unpleasant.

steves 6:54 AM  

I have always been disappointed with the lack of coverage that hockey gets. I expect more. Part of it may stem from the fact I went to a high school that had a homecoming hockey game and it was fair to say that hockey was bigger than any other sport. I was also fortunate that one of the 13 channels we got was CBC and could watch Hockey Night in Canada.

That being said, for the US, hockey is not very popular. I seem to recall ESPN hockey coverage being better in the 90's, but I could be wrong. We are fortunate that there are enough other ways to get our fix.

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