Good little quote stashed in the middle of a Padres' notebook in this morning's San Diego Union-Tribune. Apparently, Padres' closer Heath Bell isn't especially fond of ESPN's news judgment.
"I truly believe ESPN only cares about promoting the Red Sox and Yankees and Mets – and nobody else. That's why I like the MLB Network, because they promote everybody. I'm really turned off by ESPN and Baseball Tonight. When Jake Peavy threw 8 1/3 innings on Saturday, they showed one pitch in the third inning and that was it. It's all about the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.”
Oh, but there's more:
Oddly, I can't figure out what that expletive stands for in that context.
Bell is saying what many fans have been screaming for years, so he's not really breaking new ground here. And even though I'm usually a voice in that chorus, I do recognize there's no easy solution here. You're not going to start every broadcast with highlights from the Houston Astros' game. When it comes to news judgment, you generally want to cast a wide net and appeal to as many people as people.
Something I'll be curious to see: Will we see a shift in thinking now that ESPN has opened a studio in Los Angeles? There will only be 80 employees there and most decisions will still come out of Bristol. But it will be interesting to see whether their coverage reflects their physical expansion.
If they have an executive producer opening, I hope someone urges Heath Bell to apply.