Some burn incense anticipating the euphoric joy of the Second Coming, while others cringe at the finality of an impending Apocalypse. For ESPN, the burning of the biotic benzion begins on the eve of any Yankees-Red Sox series.
For those west of Newark, the cringing begins at the first glimmer of the pre-series hype.
If you live in New Yawk or Bah-ston, you likely hunker down in your baseball-watchin’ easy chair with a silly grin and hug your autographed Homer Bush cap when ESPN fires up, oblivious to the fact that relatively few fans outside a 100-mile radius of the Hudson River give a rodent’s backside about what will transpire in the neighborhood of the Green Monster or The House That Ruth Built.
Of course, this regional thing is lost on the folks at Eastern Seaboard Programming Network, a.k.a. ESPN.
The fact that so much of the country has so little at stake when the Yankees and Red Sox meet seems to have little affect on the programming pales at the sports station behemoth.
They proceed on their merry way, filling nearly every nook and cranny with the breathless anticipation of THE series, the ONLY series. The baseball world stops at a blinking red light while each and every Yankees-Red Sox series is green-lighted by the ESPN traffic cops, all the way to the pennant drive.
Like much of the media, the ESPN talking heads will tell you they do this because this is what the people want. This is what the fans demand. Poppycock. Don’t believe that for one second.
When was the last time you answered a poll concerned with ESPN content? Has ESPN ever called and asked your opinion? No, the only reason the Yanks-Sox series is so big is because ESPN has drooled over it for such a great length of time, it’s taken root by osmosis.
ESPN has created this self-absorbed monster, now they want you to believe you asked for it all along.
To be fair, ESPN isn’t the only conspirator here. The Sporting News recently ran a story on hired Yankee gun, Alex Rodriguez, that went on and on and on for nearly 10 pages. Ten pages! Would Jesus Christ himself be afforded such coverage if he stuck himself with a juiced needle and wore the uniform of, say, Kansas City? Milwaukee?
I’d be willing to bet my hometown Cardinals have just as big of a following as either the Yankees or the Red Sox. Their broadcasting radio flagship, KMOX, has always had a piercing signal, especially at night, bringing the game into the homes of hundreds of thousands of people, many east of the Mississippi.
I remember listening to Cardinal games while at Kansas State University, ironically in Manhattan, KS, The Little Apple. The thing is, the fandom is much more subdued without the constant glare of a major media outlet.
I doubt ESPN will change their ways in the near future regarding their near-sighted coverage of everything Yankee and/or Red Sox, because for all they care, their little nape of the cape is really all that matters.
It’s all East all the time, baby! Have you seen the bloated coverage of NCAA Big East and ACC basketball? Just another case in point. The rest of us are merely a fly-over that need to sit back and pay attention to the sporting news that really matters as presented to us by those who know better.
Arrogant? You bet. Relevant? Not hardly.
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