(Alternate Title: Sportscenter Overload) - For full enjoyment, please check out all the links...
ESPN’s Sportscenter is a staple of almost every red-blooded American male’s daily television routine. Whether it’s for 15 minutes or two hours, guys always know that one of the five or six ESPN networks will be running highlights so that they can get a sports fix. However, in recent years the formula has begun to rub this red-blooded American male the wrong way as they have veered off-course from the purpose of the show: Show Highlights and Report the Scores.
It just seems like ever since Sportcenter went to their “always live” format back in the summer of 2008, they have gotten away from the standards that were set by 1990’s Sportscenter greats such as Kenny Mayne, Charley Steiner, and Dan Patrick. Much like the evolution of news broadcasting, from a once-nightly format to a 24-hour format, ESPN has been forced to fill their newscasts with a lot of filler. This filler is the main reason why today I try to avoid watching Sportscenter by all means necessary.
Over the last year, Sportscenter has become less and less about highlights and score and more and more about the following three people: Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, and LeBron James. While I will admit, the idea of Tiger Woods seeking redemption is appealing to me, Brett Favre refusing to submit to father time and LeBron James refusing to just play basketball is just infuriating. The worst part of it all is that ESPN is encouraging these actions, proven by the broadcast of James’ “The Decision” broadcast last July. After that night, I began to seek alternatives to ESPN as I now saw their news division devoid of any journalistic integrity. For those of you who share this exhaustion with the ESPN family of networks, I offer you three alternatives for how you get your daily sports fix.
1) MLB Network (Channel 99 - Compas Cable): Now, if you live for Football, Basketball, or Hockey, this network won’t appeal to you. However, if you hate how ESPN only talks about the NBA, the NFL, or the NFL Draft the moment college football season is over then this is the place for you. MLB Veterans and experts giving appropriate time to highlight packages and breaking down the season in an intelligent manner is truly a breath of fresh air.
2) The Dan Patrick Show (Fox Sports South - Channel 65 on Compas, 101 on DirecTV): This daily telecast of the Sportscenter alum’s 9 am-12 pm radio show serves as the voice of anyone who has grown tired of the new format of ESPN (or as DP calls them, “The Mothership”). It is three hours of semi-serious sports talk that can give any sports fan their fix for the day. The shows are also available for free on-demand on his website so even if you are away from a TV, you can enjoy the show.
3) The Onion SportsDome (Comedy Central - Channel 74, Compas Cable): Now, this may seem like an odd choice considering that this is not a serious sports show. Much like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, “The Dome” a comedy show with the same super-serious attitude that Sportscenter offers. With news stories such as Miami’s Big Three adding 101 new rules to the NBA (Rule 24 reads, “Kicks that Punk Kobe Out of the League”), an MMA fighter banned from competition due to his titanium-alloy prosthetic hands, and a discussion segment titled “Girlfriends Talk About Sports,” this is a very tongue-in-cheek delivery of what has been accepted as the norm in reporting the sports. New episodes air Tuesdays at 10:30 pm but is recommended for viewers 16 and older.
My relationship with Sportscenter is very much a love/hate relationship. Granted, the last couple years have been rough but I will still find myself tuning in from time-to-time out of habit. When I watch the show these days, I just think of a time where the show had two reporters behind a desk on a cream and brown-colored set. Those 90’s broadcasts and catchphrases are what helped be fall in love with sports and are also the reason I will typically describe a hot-handed basketball player as “Simply En fuego.”
I wonder if my attitude would change if I ever got a job behind a Sportscenter desk? Only time will tell.