You can see the saliva drooling out their mouths today, whether it's SportsCenter, or First&10, or Mike&Mike, or whatever ESPN talking-heads programming is on right now. Let's face it sports fans, late-July is not traditionally a big time for the major sports. Only the true, true, solid diehards follow the opening hours of NFL training camps. NCAA Div. I football camps are still about a week away from opening up. And for the most part, in most divisions in Major League Baseball, division races haven't (and rarely do in in late July) hit the peak of excitiment. So usually this time of the year, the general sports media, led by the Disney fanatics that run ESPN need to make mountains out of mole hills. In some summers, they are ridiculous about, even creating bogus topics like the utterly-failed Who's Now debacle. And usually at this time a single soundbite from Ozzie Guillen leads off SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight with little shame.
But ahhh.... the sports gods have listened to ESPN and have thrown quite the bone in the last two weeks. Retired quarterback/egomaniac/uber-brat Brett Favre, and all-around clown/relatively harmless/Yankee fan nemesis Manny Ramirez have given ESPN two stories I actually believe to be legit in the scope of coverage currently being given. Favre in a stand-off with his former employer and the threat of him in another uniform screwing up some other training camp in the next week? Ramirez possibly being traded in a few days from Boston, or likely out of Boston somewhere else come November? I can't believe it, but I'm supporting ESPN's full assault on these two topics.
Whether it's the biggest arrogant, racist, sexist imbicle on ESPN, Skip Bayless defending Favre like he's a son on First&10, or the Vermont slickster and overall too-good-for-ESPN, Buster Olney briefing us on Theo Epstein's next move with Manny , I am all eyes, ears, and brain cells on ESPN in this usually pointless, late-July period of the year.
Pretty crazy for a guy who usually nitpicks all of the wrong doings and utter ridiculousness the ESPN networks usually display in the summer (still not happy how they diss the NL West and my San Diego Padres). Oh yeah! Add the start of skateboard big air on Thursday night for the opening night of the X-Games. Holy crap, ESPN owns me right now.
I have a feeling I am not alone on this. ESPN owes Brett and Manny a huge thank you right now. One of their biggest detractors is glued to the network for the moment.