First of all, ever since, oh, about 2006, I have been vehemently anti-ESPN.
Allow me to qualify that: I love Cricinfo, it is an absolutely wonderful sports website. Probably the best in the business, no matter the sport of focus. But it was wonderful before the Worldwide Leader swallowed it whole.
And I will admit that I get most of my football news from ESPNsoccernet, but I think that is simply out of laziness. The site is navigable and clean and has everything I need, but I bet I could get better information elsewhere just as easily.
Finally, ESPN3.com is one of the greatest inventions ever. It is something ESPN does very, very, very well.
But when it comes to their flagship channels and their flagship website: I do not watch and I do not visit (again with a qualification: when Arsenal are on ESPN2, I do watch).
Thankfully, I do not have cable, and therefore can avoid the utter trash that the channels have become. It is celebrity gossip based bullshit these days with an extreme east coast bias. The website is more of the same.
And from what I have heard, the magazine is trash, as well.
Therefore, despite the fact that I consider myself well read and well informed when it comes to sports, both American and otherwise, I seriously have no idea who the fuck Wright Thompson is.
Up until last night, that is.
The irony of this indignation will become clear very soon.
Last night I listened to Sam and Jarrod (aka, the Two Chucks) interview “Wright” at Lord’s during the first test. (I also listened to them interview Ravi Shastri and it was very obvious that the normally cool Sam Collins was more than a little intimidated, it took him 10 minutes before he asked a question that was not of the yes or no variety, but I digress), and it seems “Wright”, a Mississippi born writer for ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine, had been sent over to “cover” the first test for ESPN, in order to write an article about test matches. He has written a couple different articles already, one on the World Cup and one on Bangladeshi cricket, EVEN THOUGH UP UNTL APRIL HE HAD NEVER EVEN HEARD OF SACHIN TENDULKAR*.
I don’t mean to get all old man on you, but it was so frustrating to listening to this hick (albeit a very nice hick) make jokes about English teeth and English smiles in the home of cricket. I am sure there are several well respected American Sports Journalists who know who the fuck Sachin Tendulkar is and would be able to write wonderful articles about tests and Sachin and Bangladesh, but instead the Worldwide Leader sent this fish out of water who seemed to be drinking his way through day 3 to cover the 2000th test, at Lord’s, involving the two best cricket teams in the world, not to mention featuring the greatest batsman to ever live.
It was an insult to cricket, it was an insult to Sachin, it was an insult to Lord’s, and it was an insult to ESPN.com’s domestic readership. One more black mark on the Worldwide Leader, it seems.
Entertaining interview, however. Great job, Chucks. And the Shastri interview was brilliant. Initially I thought Sam just sucked at interviewing, but he seemed to relax as it went on. I still do not believe Ravi about the Shastribot.
Oh, and on the pitch: England destroyed a poor India in four days. This series might very well be over. Unfortunate.
*I freely admit that this is 50% cricket’s fault, and 50% Wright’s fault.