Friday, April 18, 2008

Even I have my limits

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.


Joel said...

Totally agree about Skip Bayless. He's the one talking head that I can honestly say I have NEVER agreed with ONE SINGLE THING I've EVER heard him say. NOT ONE. It's amazing. It's like he sits down, figures out what all the reasonable, common sense opinions are, and decides that he's going to argue the exact opposite in the most shrill, condescending fashion possible. I can't understand how he still has a job in sports media.

My list would have been #1 Bayless, #2 Colin Cowherd, #3 Mark May. Being a Notre Dame fan, I have a visceral, gut-turning reaction to Mark May. The only reason I would put him at #3 rather than #1 is that he's usually on screen at the same time as one of my heroes, Lou Holtz. Lou (who I've met) is one of the nicest, most decent, most honorable guys you will ever encounter, and Mark May treats him like a complete child. He's got to be the most condescending a-hole on the planet. I'm not a violent guy, and he makes me want to do violent things to him. And not just because he hates Notre Dame. Lots of people hate Notre Dame. He's just so vitriolic in his hatred and his condescension, I can't stand it.

Mike said...

I agree, Deshawn. I too liked Colin at first, but he's become pretty much unbearable.

I have to add S.A.S. to that list. The minute his show starts he is screaming and usually it's nonsense. I change the dial in about .2 seconds.

I don't particularly like the Tirico show, either. He's just too, I don't know, nice and non-controversial. Maybe I'm too nostalgic, but DP will never be beat as far as I'm concerned. I find myself listening to his show online more in the mornings. Plus, Tirico and Tafoya just don't have any chemistry whatsoever.

My list would be #1 S.A.S., #2 Cowturd, #3 (local) Bruce Hooley (the official mixer of the Buckeye Kool Aid)

Joel said...

Oh, quick story about Colin Cowherd: on my lunch break, I have three talk radio options: Jim Rome, Colin Cowherd, or Rush Limbaugh. The collective blowhard-ery is almost overwhelming. (I actually don't mind Rome when he's talking sports, but the whole "smackoff" nonsense with all of his callers is completely boring and utterly unlistenable.)

Anyway, after the Pacers-Pistons brawl, Cowherd was going on about how the only time you hear about fights and stuff like that happening, the only people involved are males under the age of 30 (never mind the fact that the guy who actually threw the cup did not at all appear to be under 30). So he claimed that arenas should start charging higher ticket prices to under-30-males. I know, idiotic. I'm thinking, this is just so stupid, I'm going to call in. I actually get through and get put on the air. I tell him, "It's not young guys that are causing all the problems, it's DRUNK guys. A much simpler and much smarter solution would just to be to stop selling alcohol." He immediately hangs up on me, and continues arguing his point as if I had not even said anything. I was like, wow, what a douche.

While Bayless just seems to hold stupid opinions, I think Cowherd intentionally argues on behalf of ideas that he KNOWS are stupid, just to get people mad and arguing with him. Which I suppose works for getting ratings on some level, but I find it just completely intolerable. I refuse to listen to him.

JC said...

We have the #1 Sports Radio station in all the land, the sacred WEEI.

Those national clowns don't even get a dial spot out here.

But Bayless is ridiculous. Worst ever.

First and 10 with him and Woody Paige was a disgrace.

Jesse said...

@ 3. Eddie White

I'm so glad you included him. He makes it sound like he's from New York, or even Boston sometimes. Then he tries to say things like "our pacers" and "our colts" and he immediately looses any credibility he had.

Just because he used to work for some teams (wonder why he no longer works for a team, and in a hilarious sports radio market like Indy now....) I'm supposed to think he's credibile? PLEASE get this imposter Indiana sports fan off my radio ASAP. Cravitz is bad enough, at least I KNOW he's not from around here...

Deshawn Zombie said...

Woody Paige only didn't make the list because:

1. I limited it to 5
2. Jay Mariotti always gets me before he does.

Paige and Bayless together would be enough to kill me though.

JC said...


Even though you hate Patriots, I hope you've been watching John Adams.

Shake'n'bake said...

Good list. Agree with above comments that Vitale and Steven A Smith are unlistenable.

I can't stand Bayless.

That prompted me to stop watching ESPN for a few weeks.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Shake: ugh, I heard that one. I promptly turned the tv off.

JC: I haven't because I don't have HBO, but it's on my list ASAP. I can't wait.

coltsfanawalt said...

I agree that Steven A Smith should be added here. Shakenbake, that was one of the most retarded questions any sportscaster ever invented. Bayless is an idiot.

DZ said...

I only didn't put Stephen A on because I have yet to be in a market that covered him. I've heard him a few times, and he was bad for sure.

Bob M. said...

Dude, you leave Rome on Waaaaay too long.