... I know I'm not the first to do this nor will I be the last.
This rant is a year in the making. I'm going to break this down into the sports they cover (or don't anymore) that I watch.
I know I write a blog about Alabama basketball, but baseball has been and always will be my favorite sport. I used to watch Baseball Tonight almost religiously on ESPN. It used to be the best baseball show on TV. Gammons was good (despite his obvious Boston loyalties), Harold Reynolds was informative, and Buster Onley and Tim Kirkjian (probably butchered his name... oh well) brought some good insight to the network.
Then they hired that assclown Steve Phillips. You know Steve... the failed GM of the NY Metropolitans. Somehow, this know-nothing still has a job and is one of their featured "talents." I'm still in awe of some of the stupid things that come out of his mouth.
If that wasn't bad enough they added that fat guy with the mullet John Kruk. He brings a whole lot to the table... stumbling on his own words and often contradicting himself in the same sentence. Oh yeah, he's annoying to no end.
I funny it humorous that ESPN for years didn't cover NASCAR UNTIL they got a NASCAR contract. ESPN used to cover hockey extensively UNTIL they decided to not renew their contract with the NHL. The result... 10 seconds of NHL per 3 minutes of NASCAR coverage. While I readily admit I have no interest in NASCAR and follow the NHL less now that I ever did, how do you devote more time to a non-sport over a sport?
NFL Countdown at one time was a pretty good NFL preview show in spite of Chris Berman. Now, it's painful TV. Outside of Steve Young and sometimes Chris Mortensen is there a reason to watch that crap? Oh, BTW... Berman has become even more annoying with age.
If you look past Vitale's obvious Duke and UNC biases you can see he's knowledgeable about the game. The problem is he's now a cartoon character of himself... and utterly annoying to no end. I find my mute button anytime he calls a game.
The College Gameday crew of Rece, Jay, Digger, and Hubert seems forced. Rece Davis does a decent job of being the point man and Jay Bilas is probably the best in the game right now, but Digger Phelps and Hubert Davis bring the program down. Hey Digger... your biggest accomplishment in life happened 30+ years ago. It's about time you stop living off it. Hubert is plain horrible. He is neither entertaining or informative. I'd sooner hear Tim Brando say, "the iron unkind" than listen to Hubert.
I can't believe I'm going to say this... the LF announcers are superior to the ones working for ESPN.
This is one of the few things ESPN continues to do well. From their announcers (save Pam Ward, but I don't watch noon Big 11 games) to the gameday crew (I even like Corso), to the highlight they got it covered and covered well. They should model their other sports coverage after this.
In their efforts to expand their viewing audience, ESPN got away from what made them so great. From moving to making news instead of reporting it (at times), dumbing their sports coverage with a bunch of know nothing sideline reporters, hiring "controversial" columnists to generate a spark, making really bad sports movies, and generally dropping the ball in sports coverage ESPN is no longer must see TV for the sports fan. Unfortunately, FOX is even worse and no one else has stepped up to challenge them so IMO we're stuck with crap for the foreseeable future.