now, don't get me wrong ESPN, i still love you. we wake up together in the morning and go to bed together at night. you provide me with endless podcast entertainment throughout the day. i watch and read you like it's my job and even dabble a little in your fantasy leagues. when no one else wants to give me sports, you never hesitate. you complete me.
that being said, i cringe every year around this time because the channel/website/magazine i so admiringly adore churns out some of the most exploitative bullshit ever. if you are even somewhat in tune with ESPN programming then you're probably familiar with the "My Wish" segment of the show. In this ten minutes of torture, ESPN spews forth the most trite, watered down, and inexplicably unwatchable puff pieces i've ever seen. and to top it all off, they have chris connelly narrate. dear lord.
i'm sure you're probably thinking right now, "come on kevin, why do you have to be so cynical? sure it's a puff piece, but they're touching stories and athletes are involving themselves in order to make these kids feel better." this is true. but to what end does ESPN involve itself? the athlete thing is neither here nor there. he (i'm forgoing the he or she for the sake of brevity) shows up for about a half an hour, talks to the kid who idolizes him, signs some shit, and takes off. occasionally he'll play a game with the kid. and you know what? that's great because the kid seems happy that he just got to meet his hero, and he's fucking stoked. i'm all for that. good times. thumbs up.
it's how espn approaches it though. i'm sorry, but the transition just can't be there. you can't go from meticulously evaluating and covering brute, violent sport to a puff piece. the network airs a vicious fight between the rays and the red sox and subsequently discusses the necessity of throwing a 90 mph fastball at a batter in order to protect your team. i mean the announcers were literally pinpointing the part of the body you should sling the ball towards. have you ever been hit with a baseball? it fucking hurts...bad. and they were discussing why a pitcher needs to intentionally do this at times. and within 20 seconds of finishing that analysis,the channel transitions to a story about a kid with terminal cancer who finally got to meet alex rodriguez, his idol. the whole thing screams of desperation on ESPN's part, and it sucks. i mean, puff pieces are puff pieces. there's no escaping them, and 90% of the time they're bullshit, but i just feel like ESPN is exploiting the hell out of unfortunate kids for the sake of appealing to more of a mass audience that really isn't watching anyway. people who watch ESPN watch it for the sports. that's it. stop bullshitting around and stick to what you know.
oh, and did i mention chris connelly narrates? ugh.
please don't take this fired up rant as any kind of knock on anyone performing charitable acts for disadvantaged kids. if you are taking it that way...then you're dumb.