ESPN: Worldwide leader in fact-checking

DMZ · September 10, 2004 at 12:03 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Wait, no…

John Kruk’s latest column of garbage includes this:

SHORTSTOP: Rich Aurilia, Seattle Mariners — Right, the Mariners again. Hey, they aren’t in last place by accident. Well, Rich is out in San Diego now — he wore out his welcome in Seattle after 73 games. The M’s didn’t trade him, either. Outrighted him. Kicked him to the curb. He wasn’t that expensive ($3 million per), but when you hit .241 with four homers and 28 RBIs, any price is too much.

Really, John? That’s weird because the Mariners actually traded him to San Diego for a PTBNL. Also, $3.5m, which if you round, is $4m. Doesn’t anyone — seriously, anyone — even proof-read what goes up on anymore?

Side rant: ESPN’s quest to diversify and wean itself off sports coverage may have built its audience, but it cost them serious fans like me, and I would bet that young ESPN would kick current ESPN’s ass if young ESPN launched right now with solid financial backing (except that current ESPN could easily revert… but that’s not my point).

More compare and contrast:

CATCHER: Mike Piazza, New York Mets — I know Mike has been hurt, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been a disappointment

comes after

FIRST BASE: Carlos Delgado, Toronto Blue Jays — […] Second, this guy used to be an offensive force. Now? Well let me ask you this: Outside of the trade talk and that story about the national anthem, have you even heard of Delgado this year?

Yes. One thing I heard was that he was injured, which I guess Kruk missed.

… Actually, I don’t want to go off on a rant here, I wanted to point out that ESPN can’t get even the most basic facts about transactions right.


57 Responses to “ESPN: Worldwide leader in fact-checking”

  1. DMZ on September 11th, 2004 12:56 pm

    Itea —

    I didn’t rag on ESPN for being not-free, and I’m not sure why you think that’s the case. Part of your explanation of ESPN’s quality was that as part of the web, it’s more immediate and also free —

    Yes, the site would be better if there was stricter editorial review. It would also be better without pop-up ads, or with more quality writers, or if it was faster, etc.

    It’s also free.

    I only mentioned that it’s not a free site, which… I’m not ragging on that at all. My point there was that if the reader’s willing to allow errors and poor editing because a site is free, ESPN should be held to a higher standard. I don’t begrudge ESPN, or anyone, from trying to make a living writing.

  2. Itea on September 11th, 2004 1:22 pm

    DMZ – Perhaps you didn’t rag on ESPN for being not-free, but you did write:


    I disagree with your opinion of the writing quality on in general – they’re pushing old-school newspaper guys over Neyer etc. on the strict content side, which has resulted in a drop in quality of thought.

    And also that it’s free.’s not free anymore – Neyer’s pay, pretty much any good feature article I want is pay. The stuff in front of the Insider wall today, for instance, is like giving out free samples of food you dropped on the floor.

    I point out it’s free in response to when people comment that they don’t like it. What I mean to convey is that it’s not like the reader has paid for something and found it not worth the money. If I buy a car and it explodes after ten miles, I think I’ve got a beef. If I visit a website and decides it sucks, I don’t visit it anymore.

    So that is why I’ve mentioned that “it’s free” – it’s in response to the comment that “ sucks”.

    The more general argument about how a news web site should or shouldn’t be is something else. I haven’t disagreed with most of what people say, and in fact I’ve also mentioned that I don’t frequent the ESPN site much myself, and I completely agree that the columns by the TV guys tend to be pretty bad.

    If someone wants to differ with me, here are my assertions:

    – has just as much quality stuff now as it has ever had since inception ~1995.

    – The reasons that “all those job ads for editors and copyeditors vanished” have about nothing to do with insidious MBA management people. It has everything to do with when the company grew, and when it stopped growing, and when it was bought out (four different times), and when it moved physically (twice), and when eventually all the jobs moved to Bristol – a move, incidentally, that was made in part because it was believed that it would IMPROVE editorial consistency with all the writers and editors more closely grouped.

    – Working with equal resources, news web sites that carry breaking news on an up-to-the-minute basis are not going to have the same editoiral quality as sites that post columns/reports at a more leisurely fashion, and to expect them to is unreasonable.

    – On an abstract level, to castigate a web site with tens of thousands of pages of written content (let alone computer-generated statistical content) for poor quality based on a single individual who is probably the worst writer on the site is unreasonable.

    There you go. Have at it.

    – Itea

  3. JMB on September 12th, 2004 8:23 am

    ESPN may never have been great, but it’s certainly rubbish now. Chad Ford and Neyer are the only columnists that I find even notionally informative or amusing. Kruk and Morgan are conclusive proof that the ability to hit a curve ball in no way blesses one with a a monopoly on insight. Dan Patrick was so good with Olberman, but now he’s devolved into a glorified jock sniffer.

    And the problem with the new SportsCenter anchors isn’t that they try to be Dan and Kieth, but that they all try to be Kenny Mayne.

    More things wrong with ESPN:

    Budwiser Hot Seat? Is this supposed to be edgy? They throw half a dozen softball questions at a sports personality. I don’t remember what they called it, but for a while they had a sponsored (of course) game of Taboo with teammates. Why is this on SportsCenter? Just show me the damned highlights and tell me if Lance Berkman did anything. Geez.

    They killed the message boards with the new format.

    ESPNews is only watchable because of the ticker.

    PTI is a waste of Tony Kornheiser, who while not informative (or informed for that matter), is at least an interesting on-air personality.

    The Sports Reporters and Around the Horn: Isn’t it enough that we collectively let idiots like Woody Page screw up the MVP vote every year? We have to let them become a D-list celebrity outside of their own market?

    I like Tom Brady and Derek Jeter as much as the next guy, but how much time do we really have to spend tossing their salad? Evidently ESPN thinks that it is a round the clock job.

    Skip Bayless?

    It isn’t that they’ve lowered their standards, it’s that they’re now scraping the bottom of the barrell to the point where they’re picking up Fox Sports Net’s leftovers.

  4. Mark on September 12th, 2004 4:36 pm

    Itea, you’re taking this way too personally, so I’m going to be brief and then I’m going to exit this thread. If you don’t see an editorial problem with — there are spelling errors in homepage headlines, for crying out loud! — then you and I are either looking at two different sites, or we have such different standards for those sites as to allow us little room for discussion.

  5. Itea on September 12th, 2004 4:52 pm

    Mark – I’m not taking it personally. I haven’t worked there for years, and don’t like the site much. You avoided what I actually asked you, so I assume you are conceding the points that you are ignoring.

    Yes, has grammatical/spelling errors in its content. As I’ve stipulated to this numerous times, I think you are the one beating a dead horse.

    If you want to be high and mighty about editorial standards, you ought to tell us (or at least me) what site you edit for.

    – Itea

  6. Itea on September 12th, 2004 5:01 pm

    Mark – On the other hand, what I do take personally is the fact that you address a post like that last one to me when it doesn’t even address a single thing I said. I might as well write something along the lines of:

    Mark – Are you crazy? Of course Bartolo Colon is over 180 pounds. Are you some kind of complete idiot? If you can’t even concede that, there’s no reason I should ever converse with you.

    So there we go. Now I have reciprocated your strawman and responded in kind.

    See, there’s a difference in how we argue. When I addressed my previous posts to you, I was discussing something that you had actually said in your post. When you address your posts to me, you “refute” something that I didn’t say, making your refutation somewhat silly.

    – Itea

  7. Kyle on September 24th, 2004 4:10 am

    This thread is ray of hope. I didn’t think anyone else felt the way I did about the decline of Sports Center. I’m a Twins fan, and it used to be nice to get up in the morning and at least catch a twenty second clip and recap of how the club did last night. Now most days Twins games are just skipped in favor of human interest stories. Does ESPN’s coverage of poker encourage kids to gamble? Who cares? With increasing frequency, ESPN is airing stories about ESPN. The behind the scenes look at Sports Center was embarrassingly self indulgent. I want to hear about how the Twins fared against the Indians, not how hard the production assistants at Sports Center work. Millions of people in America work hard at their jobs every day. Many in that multitude do so even though they don’t particularly enjoy what they do. I work nights. When I get home in the morning, I’d love to see some highlights. I can read about Silva getting a double play with one out and the bases loaded, but do I ever get to see the turning point in the previous night’s game? No.

    I have a hard time not changing the channel nowadays. The catch phrases are wearing thin. A ninth-inning, game-winning homerun doesn’t need a catch phrase–it’s already exciting. It carries weight on its own. I don’t need an anchor quoting Tony Montana from “Scarface” every time someone hits one out of the park to let me know something cool just happened. I will concede it was funny the first time, but not the thirtieth.

    As far as John Kruk goes, I tuned him out permanently very early on this season, when he said on Baseball Tonight that Paul Wilson having nine wins or so was an early front runner for the NL Cy Young. Paul Wilson. Front runner. For the Cy Young. Painting John Kruk as the “everyman” is degrading. To infer that being incompetent and unintelligent make you like the masses that make up your viewership is arrogant and insulting. The average man on the street is much smarter than John Kruk .The man hides his lack of a meaningful contributing to any discussion on baseball behind his membership in the fraternity of former players with a decidedly anti-intellectual flare. Guess what John—you aren’t in the batter’s box anymore. Take a look around. There’s no pitcher, no plate, no runners on base. You’re wearing a suit, and holding down the title of analyst. I don’t claim to be able to hit a curveball or pick an errant throw out of the dirt. I do, however, know that Paul Wilson was not at any point in the 2004 season a front runner for the NL Cy Young, that Derek Jeter is not the best player in baseball, and that the first name of the Expos’ center fielder is Endy.