As a kid, I thought ESPN was the greatest thing invented since Hot Wheels.
A 24-hour all-sports cable channel devoted to showing games and highlights? What could possibly be better than that?
And at first, that’s all ESPN was. But it grew and grew and grew and now resembles something like the monster Audrey from “Little Shop of Horrors,” devouring everything it sees.
ESPN does its best to ruin sports now, not promote them. With their inane babbling idiots on in the afternoons, their constant over-obsession with people like Tim Tebow, Tiger Woods or LeBron James, and their reduction of every game to only the best dunks or touchdowns, ESPN has become a bloated mess that most of us sports fans endure because they have the rights to so many big games, not because we enjoy the network.
So in what may actually be a Michael Lewis first, I’m rooting for Rupert Murdoch in his new venture.The gazillionaire media titan is announcing Tuesday that he is going to start a rival to ESPN, calling it Fox Sports 1. Eventually, one hopes, Fox Sports 1 will bid for rights to MLB, college basketball , NBA and NFL games, and maybe even have a nightly highlights show that focuses on, you know, highlights and not the hairspray sportscasters’ latest stupid catchphrases.
Competition is desperately needed for the Goliath that is ESPN. I don’t like most of what Rupert Murdoch stands for, but he’s about the only guy with enough money to truly rival ESPN.
I hope he succeeds.
**So this was actually on CNN the other day. CNN, the network that broke new ground in cable news, that covered the first Gulf War in 1991 live as it happened, that gave us Bernie Shaw and Judy Woodruff and all kinds of great broadcasting talent.
**Finally, it’s been awfully long and painful winter for the citizens of Newtown, Connecticut.
But Monday night there was actually some good news to report, as a devastated community tries to move on after the December massacre of children.
The Newtown High School boys basketball team, seeded 29th in the Connecticut state playoffs, upset No. 4 seed Crosby, 61-58 on Monday night.
It’d be too much to ask for the boys from Newtown to channel their inner Hickory High, wouldn’t it?
But at least for one night, there was some joy in a town that desperately needs it.
I hope it brought a smile to your face, as it did mine.