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Friday, November 16, 2007

ESPN to World: “Holy F*$#ing S*$t.!"

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2007 at 2:14 PM

Barry Bonds was indicted on Thursday. We couldn't find any other pictures. We thought it was weird too.
The two Most Important Stories We All Know Are Coming finally broke yesterday: Alex Rodriguez signed a record-breaking contract with the Yankees, and Barry Bonds got indicted. And you got the feeling ESPN, not to be ungrateful, would’ve preferred if they hadn’t both been made official on the same day. Buster Olney especially: the obedient correspondent was quickly set up with a bedpan, catheter, and food-and-drink IV hidden behind his desk, and set to “speculyzing” for 12 hours straight. That’s the industry term for the news coverage strategy trademarked by ESPN. Given a three-word tip (“Barry Bonds Indicted”, “A-Rod Even Richer”) and no statements from anybody involved, the sports network speculates on what may develop, and then analyzes its own speculation as fact. The phrase “obscene amount” has become cliché, but in this contract’s case, it’s truly accurate -- $275 million. Then there’s the additional provision that if he breaks the home run record, he’ll share the revenue generated. Why are athletes so damn aware of what they deserve these days? A distant memory are the days when Yankee stars roomed together in Queens bachelor pads and ate frozen dinners. Back then, there would be no Pay-Rod. Frozen Fish Fillet-Rod, maybe. Next we have Bonds, whose hatedness is approaching Osama-like levels -- the man whose cranium size went from cantaloupe to ostrich egg, his testicles from clementine to acorn. His career is over—he’ll be suspended by Bud Selig, ESPN analated. No chance at the Hall of Fame now, they fabridected. But what they didn’t do is connect the two apocalypse-is-nigh stories in any holy-shit-I’m-crying sort of way. All they needed was one elegant, understated, let’s-keep-it-in-perspective line, in the tone of JFK’s man-on-the-moon speech. Something like, “Today, ESPN, brought to you by Gatorade, ushered in a new era, a glorious period of Even Richer, but Completely Drug-Free Americassport™.” Or maybe I missed it. Maybe that was on ESPN2. -- Gus Garcia-Roberts


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