Category Archives: ESPN Biases

Bryce Harper: This is SportCenter Commercial

ESPN is continuing to do what they can to make Bryce Harper a perceived superstar. He’s not holding up his end of the bargain, but hopefully that comes along in due time.

We like Harper, we like everything he stands for, we believe the talent is there. But we watch him night in and night out and it just isn’t happening. Something is off, and has been since he ran into that wall in Los Angeles last season.

I Wonder if Christina Kahrl Knows Baseball at all

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It all started a couple years back when ESPN held some stupid post about which outfielder had the best throwing arm. Christina Kahrl – the co-founder of Baseball Prospectus (a site I love) – ran off a list of guys who had decent throwing arms but were nowhere near as good of throwing outfielders as Jay Bruce.

I brought this to her attention on twitter, and instead of admitting that she possibly omitted a guy who should have at least made their little list; she spits back some meaningless, stupid stat I’ve never heard of like ‘his don’t run on me percentage is ninth among NL right-fielders’. I knew right then that we were dealing with someone who:

a) Simply only watches large-market teams and stars – completely alright if you miss Bruce on the list because you simply don’t see him play. Not a good excuse, but it’s at least a reasonable excuse.

b) Someone who watches baseball about like 99% of most women out there.

c) She was ‘statting’ players, not scouting or watching them. I think this was what she did.

No matter how many times I pointed out that despite runners not testing Jay Bruce at all; he still at that point led the NL in assists or appeared on the leaderboard every season. It wasn’t good enough for Christina.

Then today I stumble upon (days late) the hype-fest that is the ‘ESPN Francise Player Draft’. This started out fun a few years back, and it’s continued to get more ignorant with each passing year. It is interesting, nonetheless. Jim Bowden always reaches for the guy I really like.

Not shocking, with all the wonderful players in baseball you could build a franchise around; she reaches for Bryce Harper because; ‘she’s all about upside value’!

The Hell with taking a guy like Puig, who appears to be the best young player in the game left to select (Trout was off the board as he should have been at one), or Giancarlo Stanton, or a guy who could win three more MVP’s before Harper gets through a season without a sprained something. No! Christina wants Bryce Harper because he has upside and he’s going to be good in a couple of years. Fuck taking the guy who is good you know; now.

A clear superstar like Carlos Gomez comes off the board at 21 overall, and continues to rack up the WAR on a nightly basis while Bryce Harper is a twitter spokesperson for Apple Gatorade and some of the finer dining areas in Washington. I have news for our quasi-famous Christina: if you build your franchise around Bryce Harper it will go belly-up and you will be selling meat out of the back of a truck within a matter of years.

This is coming from an admitted Harper fanboy who is tantalized by his talents; but the guy is more of a celebrity than a baseball player and until that changes you leave him on the board for someone else and if you luck into selecting a player two overall in all of baseball to build around, pick someone who actually stays on the field and produces.

The stupidity of these experts – namely Christina Kahrl – is just astounding! I am pretty sure a few years back it was Michael Cuddyer who she tried to argue with me had a better throwing arm than Jay Bruce.

Anonymous MLB Players are polled to the tune of interesting results

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Over the years – it has became a rarer and rarer occurrence for ESPN to have a feature that really reaches out and grabs you. Today, they posted an item that will be featured in the upcoming issue of ESPN The Magazine that is about as ‘must-read’ as it gets for a baseball fan.

Here’s what we learned (actually, we’ll highlight the graphic above since you know exactly what we learned):

  • 24% of polled MLB players feel Bryce Harper is the most overrated player in the game. He’s followed up closely by Yasiel Puig at 21%. I guess that means we have an affinity for overrated guys.
  • 81% of those polled feel baseball is ready for an openly gay player.
  • Best estimate at the percentage of players still taking PED’s is 9.4%.
  • Mike Trout was voted an overwhelming 56% as the best player in the game. Agree wholeheartedly there.
  • It’s about a split on if the polled players want Alex Rodriguez kicked out of the players union.
  • Clayton Kershaw has mad, league-wide respect.

In all, 143 players were polled. Any time we can get a look inside the mind of what those inside the game feel and believe, it’s worth reading. This would include takes from professional scouts, and it would certainly include players themselves like this poll did.

And as for the most important takeaway take from the whole bit – Bryce Harper has been a bit overrated so far – even if he’s been pretty good. If his career has one feel to it, that’s the word you might use to describe it. It’s not a bad thing because the best is yet to come.

It’s a good night to watch Buccos late-night baseball from Pittsburgh

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As of this very minute, the Pittsburgh Pirates are a .600 baseball club. It’s a great story. They’ve slipped a little bit lately, and they’re mostly blacked out in my city of residence; so I am not getting the opportunity to enjoy their ride each night watching on MLB.tv.

However, tonight the Pirates take on the Oakland Athletics from Pittsburgh. Their de facto ace Francisco Liriano is going. You get the feel that Liriano has his badge of justice on, and the losing streak stops tonight.

In any event, they’re a fun bunch. McCutchen, Marte, Cole, Grilli, Melancon, Cole, Liriano and even shitty old Pedro Alvarez are a scrappy, fun bunch to pull for a little bit. That city deserves a baseball winner. I can’t wait to watch them tonight in their rare ESPN appearance.

Image via Pirates official twitter

The Bryce Harper ESPN Documentary “Bryce Begins” Debuts Tonight

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When you’re one calendar year into your big league career, and you have a made for ESPN documentary film about you; it’s safe to say you’ve arrived at the big time.

Tonight at 9:00 ET on ESPN, “Bryce Begins” will air. The film features combed over clips of hundreds of hours of behind-the-scenes footage of Harper’s time with the Washington Nationals. Luckily for us, filmmaker Jess Atkinson spent time with Harper and his family in different cities around the United States. The documentary features interviews with Harper’s teammates, Cal Ripken, Mike Trout, and Harper’s father Ron.

This isn’t an official 30 for 30 film, but the ‘Worldwide Leader’ is trying to tell the masses that this is the closest look you’ve had so far of the generational player of your era (especially if you’re under 35 years of age).

This presentation will overlap with the last hour of the 7:00 games tonight, so make sure you have your DVR’s set to record. The nation is about to become a lot more interested in Bryce Harper than it was before, if you can believe that.

ESPN Releases it’s Sunday Night Baseball Schedule: Honestly, it’s not worth a full post. ESPN turned around and loaded the schedule for the first-half of the season with a bunch of large market teams. The Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds, two teams who are talented and will be very competitive did not crack it one time. Yes, there are a lot of ways to watch your team if you want to see them. But it’s still nice to close out a weekend with someone other than the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox, Braves, White Sox or Cardinals involved. [Hardball Talk]

New ESPN Radio App is a Rip Job

Just when you think you can start to like ESPN; wait, no. I’ll start over.

Just when you think you can tolerate ESPN, they get money hungry and kick you between your legs again. I’ll let Deadspin speak my feelings on the new $4.99 radio app, because they tear into ESPN more eloquently then I ever could.

Way to once again show the world that you are an evil empire of sorts, Bristol.

ESPN Releases Sunday Night Baseball Schedule

Yesterday ESPN released their Sunday Night Baseball telecast schedule for the first half of the season. The Cincinnati Reds will host a mid-July contest at Great American Ballpark to give fans that rare Sunday game under the lights.

It seems as a whole ESPN tried to buck the typical ways of throwing the Yankees, Red Sox, or Cubs on every Sunday Night. This schedule features good variability between teams which is partly in response to the playoff field containing teams like the Rangers and Rays last season.

April 8 Chicago White Sox at Texas
April 15 L.A. Angels at N.Y. Yankees
April 22 Yankees at Boston
April 29 Tampa Bay at Texas
May 6 Philadelphia at Washington
May 13 Angels at Texas
May 20 St. Louis at L.A. Dodgers
May 27 Washington at Atlanta
June 3-July 1 TBD
July 8 Yankees at Boston
July 15 St. Louis at Cincinnati
July 22-Sept 23 TBD

I like what I’m seeing here. As usual we’ll be doing the Sunday Night Liveblogs here at Diamond Hoggers, so we do hope you’ll make a habit of joining us and commenting on the action or at least having a few new dick jokes we can all add to our repertoire.

Aroldis Chapman graces cover of ESPN the Magazine Baseball Preview Issue

The highlight of the day was seeing this.

The low-light? How about rear-ending another car and totaling my fiance’s car on the way to work. Honestly, is there any worse feeling? I mean the immediate ‘oh shit, now I’ve done it’ when you are climbing out of the wrecked heap is absolutely the worst feeling in the world. Then the aftermath of your girl being mad at you of course.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. So your regularly scheduled Anaheim Angels and Oakland A’s previews might have to wait until tomorrow. Or since we’ll be stuck at home without a car of any type for several days, maybe we’ll write the previews then.

Either way, being a shitshow, FTW.

My apologies to her dear 2002 Toyota Camry. I didn’t picture your life ending this way–just a mile from my work on a chilly Thursday morning. You were good to us. I’m so sorry I did this to you.

ESPN’s new Sunday Night Baseball Crew

ESPN has named it’s Sunday Night Baseball crew for the upcoming 2011 season. Dan Shulman, Bobby Valentine and Orel Hershiser take over where Joe Morgan and Jon Miller (the Madden of MLB, sort of) left off.

Early reviews we hear a lot is that Hershiser is strong. He’s the next big thing in baseball broadcasting. Don’t know much about Shulman, and of course; we have a long-standing love affair with Bobby V. Even if he did hand us his garbage.

Tim Kurkjian; cementing ESPN's stereotypes

I was reading an article written by Timmy Virgin Kurkjian the other day on ESPN. The world according to Tim; is that the Reds not win the division because of how well they’ve played, but because the Cardinals played poorly.

Let’s allow Tim to put his foot in his mouth here, shall we?


National League Central

The Reds have lowered their magic number to three not necessarily because of how well they’ve played, but because the Cardinals’ stunning collapse has continued. The Reds could wrap up the division this weekend in San Diego against the Padres.


Whether it’s two and a half or one of the other, what does it matter? The Reds were bad less often than the Cardinals. Or in another way of talking about success, the Reds were better more often than the Cardinals.

Why can’t ESPN just accept that the Reds are part of this and their mighty Cardinals are not for one year?

Buster Olney on Jay Bruce’s glove last night (ESPN)

Buster Olney was on ESPN last night for a segment of Baseball Tonight and he was talking about Jay Bruce’s defense. They were showing ‘the catch’ (should be the only synonymous catch in Reds-lore for a while, so we can call it that) that won the ballgame the other night.

Olney said that he had talked to Jay Bruce (Buster talked to a Reds player? Refreshing!) and Bruce told him that before the 2009 season he knew he had to improve his defense. They were showing replays of the catch the other night and talking about how Bruce improved his defense by doing a lot of anticipating where the ball was going to be hit. Olney said if you watch the play the other night, Bruce got back to the wall and scaled it (more like sprinted on the warning track) which allowed the Reds to in turn add a win to their total.

They then showed that it was the #1 web gem of the night and gave it 7.0/10 Buehrle’s? (I’m out of the loop).

His UZR is 14.0, 43% better than the 2nd best RF, Ichiro. Ichiro has also won 9-straight Gold Glove awards. Again, if Bruce doesn’t win a Gold Glove Award this season, the award no longer holds any weight in my eyes. I’ve watched him play all year and there is no one better (although I haven’t seen Micheal Bourn play a whole lot and I hear he’s unreal in center field in Houston).

More then anything I had to transcribe that they were talking about our boy on ESPN.