A New York State of Mind
by Rob Schultheis
Feb 23, 2012 | 1616 views | 1 1 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I’m beginning to think that ESPN stands for “Every Story Praises New York.” The announcers act as if everyone watching is a fanatical Gothamite, and it’s beginning to really give me a case of the ---, as my old friend Sgt. Kramer used to say. I know that the Big Apple is a gigantic media market, but does that mean those of us in the rest of the country have to stomach the endless rah-rah, sis-boom-bugger-all blathering of brain-dead boosters pretending to be “professional journalists?”

Take the current “Linthusiasm” or whatever the schmuckolas are calling it, concerning the exploits of the Nicks new playmaker, Jeremy Lin. It’s actually a neat story – the kid went to Harvard, was a marginal (at best) NBA rookie, and all of a sudden is playing with spectacular speed and panache, rejuvenating, temporarily at least, a basically lousy Nicks team. But that’s the whole point: The Nicks have been a lousy team since dinosaurs ruled the earth, and they are still a lousy team until they prove otherwise. Even after Lin has helped them win nine of their last ten games, they are still mired in second place in the NBA’s Eastern Division. Before Lin joined the roster they were 14-15. Hallelujah!!

Does anyone who doesn’t live in Gomorrah on the Hudson really care about the Nicks, when there are so many more interesting stories unfolding in the NBA, like the brash new Oklahoma City franchise, the reincarnation of the Chicago Bulls, and the Lakers versus Clippers rivalry? (Who would have ever thunk it?)

And yet tonight on Sports Center all ten of the Ten Best Plays of the Day featured Jeremy Lin. (The yahoos who put the show together had to go back to last season to get enough Lin exploits.) Night after night we get anchormen bellowing like those awful college football radio announcers, with hog caller voices and every word in boldface: “AND HE SCORES – NUDELMAN SCORES!!!! UNBELIEVABLE!! HE SCORES!!! AND THE PLATYPUSES WIN!!!! It’s even more unlovely coming from national television professionals, who would be much more appealing if they lowered their voices, and put away their megaphones and pom-poms.

ESPN was at its worst covering the last NFL play-offs. New York fans have always hated Boston teams, all well and good, but media pros should be beyond that. They still go on and on about Spygate every time the Patriots win a game, and over-glorify everything the Giants and Jets do, rendering themselves ridiculous more often than not. At one point in mid-season this year both the Giants and Jets won on Sunday, and the ESPN jackass choir exulted, “THERE’S A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN!” (puh-leeze, put a padlock on the cliché’ locker!), and speculated about a Giants v. Jets Super Bowl. That bit of nonsense faded in the following weeks as the Jets’ manic mouth-writes-checks-his-team-can’t-cover coach led his bungling jocks down the road to abject failure.

But it was in the playoffs themselves that ESPN (and the rest of the New York-based press) really stank up the place. Remember the day after the Giants defeated the 49ers, how New York players gloated over how they knew San Fran kick returner Kyle Williams was suffering from the after-effects of a concussion, so they targeted his head, causing the fumbles that won New York the game? Have you ever seen a story that important appear and then vanish so quickly and completely? Nice job of “investigative journalism”, ESPN and the rest of the “sports journalism” world.

With two franchises each in pro football, baseball, basketball, and ice hockey you’d think the New York/New Jersey area would rule the athletic universe instead of picking up a measly one or two championships a decade. The fact that as a group they are so wretched, even when they outspend their competitors and sleaze their way past the rulebook, is due to the same sour sportsmanship that powers ESPN. 

As soon as a New York team shows signs of losing, the fickle press and the faithless fans turn on it like piranhas with Asperger’s syndrome. Yesterday’s hero is tomorrow’s goat: “Moider da bums!” A few weeks after the Jets were “the new sheriff in town” their quarterback was being hissed and booed by Jets “fans” when he walked out on his home field before a game. A few months ago Eli Manning was being called “Sheli,” implying (I guess; who knows?) his lack of machismo, when in fact Manning is one of the toughest, gutsiest QBs in NFL history. By the time this year’s Super Bowl rolled around, the same idiots were claiming that he is “better than Brady” and a sure bet for the Hall of Fame. “He beat Brady in two Super Bowls,” they ranted, ignoring the fact that they had already lauded New York’s defense as one of the best in history while denigrating the Patriots’ defensive unit as dyed-in-the-wool losers. A reasonably intelligent child would notice the illogic: Brady plays against a defense ten times better than the one Manning is facing, but if Manning barely ekes out a victory, he is somehow far better than Brady. 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!? At least try to make sense, you pack of scoundrels!

I had to listen to this kind of nonsense non-stop for the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, and now I have to suffer through Linfamy in the NBA until eternity. Then, God help us, it’ll be baseball season, and we’ll be barraged with propaganda about those wonderful Yankees and Mets. Yogi Berra Lives! Remember when the Mets won the World Series back in 1902? Hey, let’s show the footage of that ground ball rolling between Buckner’s legs 30 more times; maybe that’ll make us feel better when both teams are hunkered down 21 games out of first place in the dog days of August… I can hardly wait.
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February 28, 2012
Rant if you must, Rob, but ESPN has been & continues to be based in Bristol, CT, not New York.