Have you ever turned on ESPN and at the beginning of an episode of SportSCenter they're talking about a small market team without the team having to have done some miraculous event? Like when the Atlanta Braves won 15 consecutive games ESPN couldn't not talk about the Braves, but when they're playing at their regular level on the field ESPN still thinks that the Washington Nationals are the class of the division even though they're behind the Braves by 16 games. The only time ESPN goes out of its way to celebrate small market teams is when said team goes above and beyond the call of duty and that's not right in my opinion. The star teams for ESPN are not surprisingly the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. What do these teams have in common? They're in big media markets. Even when these teams are not performing to the level that the gas bags on Baseball Tonight think they should be, they spend most of their time dissecting why they're under performing instead of focusing on the teams that are thriving this season like the Kansas City Royals or Pittsburgh Pirates who are on the verge of breaking a drought of futility.
Here's what I don't understand about ESPN a rookie would thrive and would get some modest mention on Baseball Tonight, but nothing even comes close to the slobbering that all of their pundits have done over Yasiel Puig. Yes, Yasiel Puig is having a terrific year, yes, he does have plenty of talent, but he shouldn't be crowned rookie of the year just because ESPN wants him to be. Jose Fernandez is a pitcher for the Miami Marlins who is having a season that is being compared to Doc Gooden's rookie year off the mound, but all ESPN can even think about mentioning in the rookie of the year conversation is Puig to the point where if anyone but Puig would win the award I'm pretty sure there would be outrage amongst ESPN pundits. Fine the Dodgers are going to the playoffs while the Marlins are floundering, but that didn't stop Felix Hernandez from winning that Cy Young a couple years back. So there is a precedence of a player with a .500 or less record winning (even though Fernandez has a 9-5 record this year) an award and I believe Fernandez should take it home this year.
That's not the only place where ESPN plays its "lobby" role. Ever wonder why football has about 8 shows (I'm exaggerating here, but it sure as hell feels that way) that run an hour long even during the off season while all other sports get about 1 or 2 shows that run an hour when the season is in play and half an hour or less when they're in the off season? The biggest football supporter is ESPN they invest millions on top of millions probably more than the NFL invests on its own product to talk so much crap about it. If any of the golden boys (Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, etc.) drop a deuce ESPN is all over it. All other sports are second fiddle. No other sport comes close to the apple of ESPN's eye...the NFL and as a admirer of sports in general it gets irritating when I have to sit through meaningless quarterback camps and Boomer talking crap while wearing an atrocious tie to get to highlights of the day in baseball or basketball for that matter. If you spontaneously tune into ESPN there's a 75% chance that the pundits are chatting about football with one of their 376 ex-players who are now "analysts".