Thursday, September 9, 2010
From the Wait 'til this Year Humor Vault
BRISTOL, Conn.--With tears in his eyes and a somber look on his face, SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt looked directly into the camera Wednesday night and apologized to baseball fans around the world for his network's inexplicable decision not to air a game featuring the New York Yankees versus the Boston Red Sox. Given that ESPN had broadcast the last 212 games between the two rivals, it was quite the unexpected blow to fans who tuned in excitedly at 7:00 EST only to see the Minnesota Twins playing the Detroit Tigers.
"Sports fans, we at ESPN ask for your forgiveness on this day," began Van Pelt. "There is no dancing around this--a tragedy has occurred. The Boston Red Sox played a baseball game against the New York Yankees tonight, and you ... [Van Pelt paused here and lowered his head, his jaw quivering. After a few moments, he continued] ... you weren't able to see it. The greatest rivalry in the history of sports, nay, in the history of games and competition of any kind, in the history of human civilization, was broadcast only in the teams' local areas. Today, I am ashamed to be an employee of ESPN."
Gary Miller, a fan who went to Buffalo Wild Wings to catch Wednesday Night Baseball, had this to say at 7:25, when it became clear to everyone at the bar that ESPN was actually going to show the entire Twins/Tigers game: "I felt sick to my stomach. I mean yes, I shouldn't have chugged that 23 ounce Leinie's Summer Shandy, and I'm pretty sure they don't clean their beer tap lines here, but it wasn't the beer. Twins/Tigers? I mean, who are these people? Joe Mauer? Justin Ver ... Verla ... Verlanker? Are these teams even in the major leagues?"
The bar was booming just before seven o'clock, but was nearly empty by eight. It was the same story at bars across the country as fans fled home and flooded ESPN with emails and calls.
"We can't change what happened tonight," said Van Pelt, "but we can promise never to let it happen again. People jokingly refer to us as 'Eastern Seaboard Programming Network' for a reason. They expect certain biases and a consistent if sometimes irrational commitment to East Coast teams, especially the Sox and Yankees. On top of our ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNClassic channels, we are looking into the possibility of adding ESPNRed Sox and ESPNYankees. We apologize again, and we assure you that this boneheaded decision will be #1 in this week's 'Not Top Ten.'"