Friday, April 06, 2007

Tom Mees is spinning in his grave

It's been over 24 hours since The Big Lead was maliciously taken off the web by Colin Cowherd. (Who's now being called "Schrutebag" by the Deadspin universe) The more I think about what's happened over the past 24 hours, the more outraged I become.

I'm outraged over Cowherd's vindictive actions, and for that matter, over what has become of ESPN over the years.

When I first discovered the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, it was the early 80's. It was manna from heaven for sports fans. I could not even fathom to attempt to try and figure out how much time I spent watching the worldwide leader over the years. Especially the golden years before the Disney overlords and their suit wearing minions took control of Bristol.

Sportscenter was the centerpiece, and I rarely missed it. We all know SC reached it's creative peak in the mid 90's, during "The Big Show" years. There were few, if any. weak spots in the on-air personnel back then. Tom Mees was still alive, Charlie Steiner was the man on the 6 pm SC, Chris Berman had not yet dissolved into a chubby, balding, leather wearing pile of shtick, Keith Olbermann hadn't yet gotten swallowed up in the debacle that was the debut of ESPN2, and his monstrous ego was still in check, Dan Patrick had a rapier wit, and was the perfect foil for Olbermann's snark, and...Well, I don't need to go on...

We all remember the good old days. There was talent everywhere on air. The worldwide leader was not spread nearly so thin.

ESPN had reached their cultural zenith. They had nowhere to go but down. The acquisition by Disney just accelerated the trip into Hell. The skids were greased by the decision to milk the ESPN cow for all that it was worth.

Miking that cash cow lead to...

5 other ESPN channels: News, Deportes, 2, U, Classic. ESPN News is the only one that still has a shred of dignity. What "Dodgeball" parodied may end up being close to reality.

ESPN Entertainment: Producing low budget fare, such as movies, reality shows and scripted dramas, shows that were trying to create...The Hell if I know what they were trying to accomplish. All I know is that the majority of it was hilarious. Unintentionally hilarious.

The radio network: 24/7 of broadcast Hell, giving us the bland Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, the awful shock jock wannabe Cowherd, a bored out of his mind Patrick, and numerous other voices not deemed TV worthy. There's already too much Mel Kiper in my life, I don't need him on my radio.

The magazine: A bi-weekly, which means it's instantly out of date when it hits the stands. It has a literally unreadable, migraine inducing layout. The web, especially blogs, is quickly making sports magazines irrelevant.

ESPN mobile: Their ill-fated cell phone venture, a branding attempt that showed the utter hubris of the ESPN suits. Lasted maybe 6 months, but continues to be joke fodder to this very day.

The dot com: In it's early days, much like the mothership, it was a prime time destination. Now stripped of it's best content, content that is hidden behind a pay wall. I love reading Buster Olney and Peter Gammons, but for $4.95 a month? You have to be kidding.

The dot com's Page 2: Once a must read, and now a shadow of it's formerly great self. Much like the dot com and TV motherships. Sense a trend? Say what you will about their opinions, but it was a great stable of writers. The late Ralph Wiley and Hunter S. Thompson, Bill Simmons before he was neutered, Jason Whitlock before he pissed off the worldwide leader's suits, much in thanks to an interview with...The Big Lead! Page 2 showed how good web only content could truly be, and was quite influential in the blog movement. I think we've come full circle...

But there is something even worse than what I've already listed that the worldwide leader can claim as their most evil creation.


What hath the success of PTI wrought? Tom Mees must be spinning in his grave seeing the assclowns now on the network he helped make a household name.

From Screamin' A. Smith to Michael Irvin. John Kruk to Rush Limbaugh. Jay Marriotti to Woody Paige. Mike Lupica to The Little Fella. Sean Salisbury to Chris Berman. It never, ever ends. One voice moves on, only to be replaced by a louder one. Rather than have a lucid opinion, they would rather just overwhelm you with decibels.

At this point, the worldwide leader in sports is nothing more than a total clusterfuck.

What Colin Cowherd did to the Big Lead was despicable. He deserves every bit of the bile being spewed his way by the blogosphere.

But the likes of Cowherd, and his sheep-like "Herd," are a symptom of a greater ill, not the cause. His ilk are the result of the ESPN corporate culture that only cares about their shareholders and the bottom line, ignoring journalistic integrity, and any dissenting opinions.

ESPN is now a giant monolith of a media conglomerate, gobbling up what it likes, and destroying what it doesn't. The folks at The Big Lead were sucked up in it's wake.

Despite the actions of the MSM in general, and especially ESPN, the bloggers will continue to rage at those media windmills. Why? Because someone has to...


  1. I fondly remember when Sportscenter was Must See TV and it was mostly highlights of the day. Now it is much easier to read the information you are looking for instantly and skip all of their sappy irrelevant drivel.

    You should also see what a clusterfuck ESPN fantasy baseball is this year. Lineup changes and scoring are all screwed up and after 5 days they finally offer an apology. The Worldwide leader no longer gives a shit about the people that supported them.

  2. Where was Deadspin's integrity when they falsely accused Puljos of doing steroids with 80%. Where was your vitrol?

    ESPN should be taken to task, however who is holding people like you to the same standards you hold them to?

    You want it both ways the respect but, you do not want the consquences when you fuck up. Like Deadspin when they told to attack ESPN conversation with things that did not have to do anything with the article. How about their daily questions to screw up ESPN chatting sessions? Where is that outrage?

    You do not get it, blogs are becoming ESPN and Will Leitch is Noby.

  3. If I recall correctly, Deadspin didn't accuse Pujols of using steroids. They'd been told that one of the names that had been blacked out in the affadavit for the Jason Grimsley case was a trainer who was then working with Albert Pujols. The trainer later denied that report.

    But you do bring up a very good point, I think. Maybe it is time for them to act a little more responsibly when it comes to things like flooding conversations with comments - sort of the reverse version of what Cowherd did.

    However, I don't believe that's something Deadspin told its readers to do; those people chose to do it themselves, and Will sat back and marveled. He can't control all of the blogs (some of them copycat) that have spawned from Deadspin's success.

    The bigger Deadspin gets, the less they can be the clown at the back of the classroom. They're inching toward that weird limbo when something independent becomes so popular that it's sort of the establishment.

    But that's something Deadspin has to deal with. And you know what? The minute they do become something else, the rest of the blogosphere will be there to point it out.

    ESPN should know it can't have it both ways, and should be better than conducting juvenile stunts like Cowherd's - and I believe 3/4 of its radio staff knows that.

  4. I think that the 99% of sports blogs are far from turning into what we mock, ESPN. Right now there are only a very small handful of blogs that could claim to wield anything close to the influence of an ESPN, and even that is stretching things quite a bit.

    How many listeners of Schrutebag's show actually read Deadspin? The Big lead? I'll bet you it's just a small fraction. Will Leitch and Deadspin does has influence, but not nearly as much as anon thinks.

    When it comes to holding people/blogs/ESPN to certain standards, ESPN should meet a much higher one. They are supposed to be journalists, and when taken as a whole, they are a news gathering entity. They have certain rules to abide by.

    I'll never claim to be as such. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'm a fan. No more, no less. Most bloggers would say the same.

    I've written things here that would have gotten me suspended, and more likely, fired, if I was working for a media organization. I don't have to be held to the same standard, and I shouldn't be. Their having different standards gives them access and an audience I could only dream of getting. Let alone a salary...

    For that matter, I've never read where Deadspin, The Big Lead, Kissing Suzy Kobler, With Leather, EDSBS, or any other blog, big or small, claim to be journalists either.

    Deadspin is walking a very fine line right now. In the somewhat incestuous sports blog world, Deadspin is an animal all unto itself. I agree with Ian, if they do something as stupid as Cowherd did, they'll get called out on it. It'll be just as ugly as the current bloggers vs ESPN battle has been.

    I will agree that they came damn close to going over the line (If not cross it) when the Deadspin readers went batshit nuts, in taking over ESPN's Page 2 commenting. If you've noticed, since that incident, along with the steroid rumors they posted and raised a ruckus about, Leitch and company have somewhat toned things down some.

  5. First what Cowherd did is wrong and he will pay the price. I am not defending him in anyway. I read Deadspin, TBL, and all the others.

    All I have been reading is we want respect, he does not respect us, we are just as crediable, and gives us credit. Okay you want it you got it. But, you must be held to the same standard.

    I hate to use this example again but when Deadspin posted about Puljos. Keith Olbermann went on air with this story and said it was crediable. He brought in another baseball guy and he gave it credit. While on Deadspin they were all happy they were getting credit, but a couple where like you better be telling the truth, because if not your done. What would have happened if Puljos' trainer took Albert up on his offer to sue those who started this?

    Don't give my BS that you would take Deadspin to task. You are all scared of him, you know how much power he has and his not afraid to use it. You think you and other small blogs can go up against Gawker, because that is who is backing him. Why do you think he told Colin to go after him, because then Colin goes after Deadspin, Gawker, and everyone who is associated with Gawker.

    EDSBS, KSK, Fanhouse, With Leather, and Awful Announcing are the next biggest and they are all scared too. He made them he can destroy them, just like that and they all know it.

    They are ESPN, whatever line was there they crossed it and got sollowed whole by mainstream. He blogs for CBS sportsline and CBS is so underground, right.

    I love examples so here are some examples of how they have become mainstream.

    1. ESPN comments on all those outside of them, but rarely never give the same attention to inhouse matters. Deadspin went after Berman because of his issues with the ladies. However Keith Olbermann did something even dirter with the ladies and not a peep. Yet, KSK covered it and some small blogs did too. Don't forget Keith Olbermann loves Deadspin.

    2. Cowherd knew what would happen when he sent everyone to TBL. Leitch knew if he put up a post about ESPN's conversatation the same thing would happen. He wanted it to happen to show his power. That is also what Cowherd is being accused of on why he did it.

    3. ESPN has always been mainstream. So has Deadspin, Leitch wrote for Sporting News. That's how he knows how it wroks. He is a poser.

    4. ESPN did not like Arena Football,until they got it. Leitch did not like Shanoff until he slobered all over Leitch's knob.

    5. ESPN was edgy,but knew they had to reel it in when they became crediable. You wrote it, Deadspin toned it down, why?

    6. When the Berman thing came out, it was draft time so he slightly suggested for people to bring it up that were there. Which can amount to stalking, but then when there was an actual stalker of ESPN, he back tracked and said we don't condone it, so what is it.

    All blogs know if they post something what the response will be, they know their readers. So, when something they readers do goes wrong. They say we didn't mean for them to do that and we do not codone it.

    You gentlemen seem reasonable and intelligent, so do me a favor look at how ESPN and Deadspin does their business. What is the difference? How much power do they have?

    Then if you are not scared post about it and see the response.

    I know your going to say why are you talking about Deadspin and etc. Say Colin did this to can't stop the bleeding do you think he would have posted about it or would he have encouraged it. All of you take your cues from him, he sets the agenda. Just like ESPN.

  6. lauren brittany5/29/2010 1:32 PM

    my father was tom mees and those were the best years