ESPN's SportsCenter cannot resist the urge to fill a TV screen with meaningless statistics.
Whether spouted out by their anchors or listed as an aside on their final box scores, SportsCenter finds a way to deconstruct a game into tidbits of information that do not bring us into a better understanding of the day's action.
ESPN is in love with what I call "It Must Be the Uniform" statistics. For instance, recently I was informed that the Celtics are 4-0 against the Hawks all-time in Game 7's.
Never mind that the two franchises hadn't played against each other in the playoffs since 1988, when Atlanta called the Omni Coliseum home, and that the other two when they were called the St. Louis Hawks, back in 1957 and 1960.
Oh, and that there were completely different players on those teams and the game was played differently back then, in case those years didn't make that clear.
Chicago White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd made a bid to throw a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins, the second time this year he came close and missed, SportsCenter was ready with the statistic, "This is the first time a pitcher has pitched a no-hitter past the 8th inning in two games in the same season since 2006, when Chris Young did it."
I can imagine the guy at home who was just dying to know who, if anyone, could have possibly matched Floyd's feat of almost no-hitters.
Oh, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are 0-14 all-time in Game 1's on the road, by the way. And the Celtics have won six straight Game 1's at home. Huzzah!
ESPN's lunacy doesn't stop with the meaningless statistics.
I was watching highlights of the Padres/Marlins game on Saturday, and the package showed the Padres ahead 3-2 with their ace Jake Peavy on the mound.
Inexplicably, the package then featured Peavy getting upset at a ball call, which would signal that perhaps the Marlins started turning the tide and were about to get the lead, but it was the final highlight of the package...and the Padres won 7-2.
The headlines in the San Diego Union-Tribune must have been something like, "Padres Win 7-2, Peavy Gets Slightly Miffed at Ball Call in Meaningless Part of Game: four-page pullout section inside!"
Not to mention that SportsCenter constantly edits a highlights package in a slipshod manner. How many times do you watch highlights of your favorite team and they have the lead, but then the next highlight will show them behind in a game, without any explanation?
Don't you think that in the "story" of the game, a significant lead change is important? I'm sure time considerations are a part of some highlights getting excised, but when you see some of the things in which SportsCenter decides to include, this ignorance cannot be excused.
I'm sure everyone is dying to know why LaDainian Tomlinson left his helmet on while on the sidelines during the playoff game against the New England Patriots and whether he's sorry about doing it.
With the NBA and NHL playoffs going full swing and Major League Baseball in the early part of the season, the scads of people who are still demanding to know why Tomlinson left that helmet on and have been left wondering outnumber the combined number of people who care about present-day action.
I know, I know...Tomlinson's keeping-the-helmet-on gaffe completely ruined the Chargers chances of beating the Patriots that day, and it will be remembered in the same context that Bill Buckner is remembered.
But please just give me some meaningful highlights...it's been 40 minutes and you still haven't told me how the Braves lost today.
And I saw a poll question asking what was the most memorable thing that happened on May 6. There were some, like Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game, that made sense.
But Babe Ruth's first home run in 1915? Who remembers that? Who is more than 93 years old, watching SportsCenter, and was at the game that was obviously not televised?
Because there are those kind of people out there, I'm sure the answer got picked by more than a few people, and they are nothing but a bunch of lying liars in flammable pants.
One more thing: If you've got Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen in the same room, you've got to ask them the dramatic question, "It's Game 7. You're behind by a point. There's three seconds left on the clock. Who takes the last shot?"
First off, does it matter? Second, would these guys ever tell the truth to that question? Third, didn't Ray Allen prove that he's the guy to go to after his performance in He Got Game?
As Public Enemy rapped in that movie:
It might feel good, or sound a little somethin, but f*** the game if it ain't saying nothin.
I think that sums up SportsCenter pretty well.
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