Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Harolding a New Age
By Zach

So the sad news came to my attention this morning: Harold Reynolds, former Mariner second baseman and current ESPN broadcaster has, apparently, been fired. At the present moment, no particular reason has been given: he did have a rather heated exchange with resident dugong/ex-Phillie John Kruk a few days ago, but I find it hard to believe that even as incompetant an organization as ESPN would fire him for that.

Growing up, Baseball Tonight was my favorite program, at least after Keith Olberman left the network and SportsCenter turned into the bloated special features-fest it is today. When you had Ravech, Reynolds, and Peter Gammons you knew you were getting the best 30 minutes of baseball talk the WorldWide Leader could put on the air.

Sadly, that combo rarely appeared together, as we were more often subjected to the horrors that were Kruk, Jeff Brantley, Rob Dibble, Steve Phillips, and many others. It's as if ESPN realized they had a good show and decided to make it nearly unwatchable as much as possible.

So the question is, where does ESPN go from here? Granted, they'll probably just toss in another ex-player, or give us more Tino Martinez/Orestes Destrada, but maybe, just maybe, they'll get creative. Considering the increasing influence of sabermetrics, why not hire someone who can counter the inevitable "Josh Beckett is having a great year because he's got 13 wins nonsense" with the counterpoint that, gosh, he's getting a hell of a lot of run support and generally his numbers suck. I'm sure there must be someone at Baseball Prospectus, or the Hardball Times, or something like that who could fit as an on-air personality. ESPN already has the ex-player role filled, and fills the journalist role with the host (and Gammons or Kurkjian whenever they're on). So why not give a voice to the statistician/fan? I know I'd watch it...

4 Comments:

Blogger David Arnott said...

Harold Reynolds produced one of my favorite baseball quotes of the past five years...

"Opening Day isn't just any day. It's... it's... it's the Day of Days."

2:19 PM  
Blogger Ben Valentine said...

Don't see them replacing Reynolds with a stats guy/fan. Why? Because ESPN hates guys like that. My bet on either an ex-player or mananger.

Remember how popular Bobby Valentine was on BBT. Put Lou Pinella in there to get into it with Kruk and Phillips. You could put an ex- GM in there to go against Phillips, but that's less appealing than a player or firey manager.

People like conflict but the vast majority also like "insiders" to tell them information they supposedly can't get anywhere else. Players and managers fit that bill, a statistician or even someone like Rob Neyer don't.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Bryan Koch said...

Baseball Tonight was the final frontier for ESPN Sportstainment(!!!). With Gammons MIA and Reynolds gone, the war has pretty much been won (lost).

12:14 AM  
Blogger David Arnott said...

Bryan: We still have NFL Matchup. Right? RIGHT?

11:34 AM  

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