My tolerance for sports commentary is not infinite. Sure, I'll randomly leave on ESPN radio in the background for hours or even check out First Take at lunch, but there are just some guys that make me turn of the dial. I'm not talking about guys who are just stupid. Stupid commentary generally makes me mad and/or drives me to post something about how stupid they were here. No, I'm talking about guys who manage to be so utterly retarded/crass/useless that I can no longer stand to hear their voice, even if they are talking about the Colts. These are the five guys who can make me flip off faster than anyone else:
1. Skip Bayless (ESPN First Take, ESPN2) - He is far and away the most useless waste of space on TV. He adds nothing to the mix except being an ahole. He picks extreme opinions (I don't know if Tiger Woods is really that great because there are no other great golfers today), presents them with little to no evidence (my sources tell me that Kelvin Sampson cheated to get Eric Gordon), acts condescending, and refuses to admit when he's wrong (after the Super Bowl he STILL was killing Tom Coughlin for playing his starters the whole game against the Pats to end the season). He's not just wrong. He's not just an ahole. He's not just shrill. He's all them. All at once. All the time.
Time it takes before I turn him off: <1 minute
2. Jay Mariotti (Chicago Sun Times, Around the Horn) - Long considered one of the single laziest major columnists in America, Mariotti has made a career out of being shrill and unfair. Marriotti's mugging for the camera and ridiculous opinions are the chief reason I can't watch Around the Horn. I'll turn it on for a minute watch the first three guys, and think, "eh, not awful." Then Mariotti will have segment and I'll cringe. Generally, by the second time through, I turn him off. He's uninformed, self-promoting, and generally wrong; but it's the twinge of cruelty that he has that really repulses me. Ozzie was right about him.
Time it takes before I turn him off: <4 minutes
3. Eddie White (Kravitz and Eddie, 1070 the Fan) - Who is this clown and how did he get a radio show? He may be the single biggest waste of airspace in the midwest. The only reason he is lower on this list than Mariotti is that he's always talking about Indy sports, so that keeps me hanging on a fraction longer. He is ignorant and very crass (fat jokes about the IU president? really? That's humor? You want to sleep with Erin Andrews? Why do I care to hear about that?). His only skill is that he is so irredeemably awful that he makes Kravitz bearable (thus keeping him off this list in miraculous fashion). I have nothing good to say about this guy at all. 1070 goes to sports and this is what they give us? Horrible.
Time it takes before I turn him off: <5 minutes
4. Jim Rome (Jim Rome Show, Rome is Burning) - Rome held the top spot down for a long time, but isn't nearly as horrible as he used to be. Now mostly it's his callers that make me turn him off. Rome is still hard for me to listen to, but I freely admit that he's often funny and entertaining as well. At his worst, he's like fingernails on the chalkboard. He's hard to listen to, but is clearly way more talented than the rest of this list.
Time it takes before I turn him off: <15 minutes
5. Colin Cowherd (The Herd ESPN Radio) - I dug Colin at first; I think most people did. He wasn't amazing like TK was, but he was ok. Then he ran out of stuff to talk about it. Cowherd's biggest problem is that he doesn't really like sports. He loves gambling and radio. Not sports. The one sport he really digs is college football, which I don't like. He also gets off on 'life commentary' which is usually boring and ignorant. He's over the top and generally clueless. He also spends waaaay too much time ripping on 'sports nerds' who 'use statistics' and can 'prove things' and have 'coherent arguments'. He does have good guests, so I'll usually turn him off for five minutes at a time, and then turn him back up when he's done being a moron.
Time it takes before I turn him off: <20 minutes
Special Lifetime Achievement Award:
Mark Patrick (1260 drive time several years ago) I don't know where he is now, and I don't care. I've never heard a sports guy I hated worse. His show was so crude and pointless that I actually wrote the station to complain (it was all the 'hanging out by White River' jokes). He wasn't funny, smart, or interesting. I literally would get spasms just passing his show on the dial. The all time, hands down, worst host ever.
Demond Sanders: Great list. You nailed 1, 2, and 3. Eddie White, you are not good at your job. The annoying thing is that Kravitz is clearly uncomfortable on the radio and uses White as a crutch, forcing him to carry the show at times. Hopefully over time Kravitz will realize that he's far more talented and White needs to take a minimal role as the show's MC. Wow, did I just type that sentence?
Cowherd is an interesting host. He insists that ESPN hired him because he is able to entertain and pander to the non-sports fan. Gee, thanks ESPN. His argument is that hard-core sports fans will listen either way, so it is his responsibility to the advertisers to bring in listeners who would rather listen to a rant about how Whole Foods is amazing or how everyone should leave the midwest and move to the southwest. He bashes on sports talk shows that "breakdown the games" and "crunch numbers." In other words everything he says is based on anecdotal evidence that he quickly threw together in the pre-show meeting.
Jim Rome is not as nearly as obnoxious as Cowherd. I would argue against his inclusion on this list. He seems to understand and actually like sports. His interviews are solid. His listeners, the clones, are huge tools, but he mocks them liberally so their impact is for the most part neutralized. I think we all still kind of hate him for his famous run-in with Jim "Chris" Everett, but the truth is Everett was forewarned that Rome would be calling him Chris to his face and agreed to do the spot.
I'm not sure if color commentators qualify for this list, but I'll throw out Dick Vitale and Ron Santo for starters.