Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Who's Now?

I've been watching a lot of this television station called "ESPN" lately. "ESPN" is an initialism for "Entertainment and Sports Television." But it's clear to me that they are more concerned about the "Entertainment" aspects--the bling and the gossip and the egos--than they are about the "Sports." Exhibit A is this miniseries they've been showing. Yes, the sports channel is showing a miniseries. It's called "The Bronx is Burning" and was probably made under the mistaken impression that anybody outside of New York gives a shit about the Yankees. From what I gathered in a half hour of watching the Bronx burn, the plot is that John Turturro (Transformers, Mo Better Blues) likes to yell about some guy with big glasses. That's all I got.

But Exhibit B of why ESPN blows is this thing they've been doing on SportsCenter called "Who's Now?" I know a lot of guys live and die with SportsCenter, but I've never really gotten into it. My knowledge of sports, at least with respect to the big three, doesn't go too far beyond the state borders of Wisconsin and I've never really cared what the Yankees or the Lakers are doing. Plus SportsCenter is hosted by some really annoying guys.

But I have to say, based on my limited exposure to the show, "Who's now?" must be an all time low. I mentioned "Who's Now?" a while back after seeing the match up between the greatest golfer ever and a mediocre QB that porked some skanks. For your review, "Who's Now?" consists of a bracket-style "tournament" in which various athletes are matched up against other athletes in "nowness." I guess that means accomplishments on the field/court/pitch/pool, plus style and shit like that. Apparently accomplishments on the field are weighted much less than the other intangibles that make up "nowness." So each day or week or whatever, Stu Scott announces the current match up, three douchebags discuss it, and 50,000 morons vote on it. The last match up was between the greatest tennis player that ever lived and some guy I've never heard of. Now I scoffed at Tiger versus Matt Leinert, but at least Tiger won. This time though, according to three douchebags and 50,000 morons, Roger Federer, the greatest tennis player ever is less "now" than some guy I've never heard of (who is Tony Parker?). Awesome.

But the current match up has me livid. It's Michael Phelps versus Shaq. Now keep in mind the contest is for who's the most "now." As I've stated, I don't know what "now" means, but I can't imagine it means "ten years ago." Michael Phelps is unquestionably the best swimmer who ever lived. And frankly, it isn't very close. No person has ever dominated his sport more than Phelps. (The only possible arguments I would entertain are Tiger and Federer). And Phelps is doing it RIGHT NOW. And he's barely 22. So after Stu Scott announces the match up, he turns it over to two guys I've never heard of and an australopithecus that used to play wide receiver for Tampa Bay for some discussion. Now, this match up seems like a no-brainer (a total Schaivo as Ace would say) to me. Phelps wins. Hands down. It's a stupid contest, but Phelps is untouchable, especially against some aging NBA center that hasn't been dominant in years. (Don't get me wrong, I love Shaq as far as NBA basketball players go. He seems like a class act and, as I understand it, was once pretty frickin good.) So Stu Scott turns it over to the no-names and the caveman for some discussion, and ALL THREE of these "sports analysts" pick Shaq. Seriously, ALL THREE. ESPN, you are a stupid TV station.


Speaking of who's now, how 'bout them Brewers? I attended the baseball match between the Crew and the Arizona Diamondbacks last night and it was some good baseball. The D-Backs started the show with a solo dinger from their first batter. But Corey Hart answered right back when it was our turn. Two batters later, Ryan Braun made it 3-2. A Prince Fielder double in the fifth added another, and despite two more solo homers by the D-Backs, the Brewer's hung on to win 4-3. Ya gotta win those one-run games. Cordero and Turnbow both looked good shutting down the D-Backs in the 8th and 9th.

The bad news is that Ben Sheets was put on the 15 day DL yesterday. We brought in a pair of studs from the AAA squad down in Nashville. Manny Parra is a lefty starter that has been kicking butt with a 1.7ish ERA and a perfect game under his belt, and righty reliever Grant Balfour, who also had a 1.7ish ERA and a bunch of saves. This brings the average age on the team down to like 16. It's my kind of team Charlie, my kind of team.


Anonymous said...

ESPN doesn't have a lot of love for athletes outside of basketball and football played in big cities. I'm sure there's nothing any swimmer could do to make Keyshawn Johnson appreciate him at the same level as Shaq. Maybe Aquaman...

Redhead said...

Tony Parker is a basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs - they beat the Cavs in the NBA finals and Parker was named MVP. He also married Eva Longoria last week.

Now, while I don't agree with you that Parker's totally irrelevant (which you were kind of implying by saying you had no idea who he was), no, he's not on Federer's level - in anything other than mainstream media coverage. There he gets far more attention than ANY tennis player. But, since I also don't know what the fuck "now" means, maybe that's enough. Maybe it's about who's more popular rather than who has more historical significance in their sport.

Either way ESPN does suck now, so we agree on that.

Danny from Milwaukee said...

I think Phelps could take aquaman.

Tony Parker is an NBA player (as far as I know) and NBA Basketball is barely more popular than tennis in the US (4% of Americans describe NBA basketball as their favorite spectator sport, 1% say pro tennis. Compare this to 33% who say prop football and 14% that say pro baseball). I think the standout tennis player in the world is far more notable than one of several very good players in a league that not many people love, and LOTS of people actually can't stand. I'd bet that Federer actually has more name recognition than Tony Parker in the US. He definately does in the world. Not only do I find Tony Parker to be irrelevant, I find the NBA to be pretty irrelevant, comparatively speaking. Eva Longoria is pretty hot though. We can agree on that.

PaulNoonan said...

4.5. Oh yeah.

The real question, of course, is "Who's Erstwhile?"


Danny from Milwaukee said...

That's awesome.