The ESPYs are just a chance for ESPN to give (insert sexual activity here) to the athletes they try to cover. ESPN tries to wrap every athlete in a warm blanket and keep away from the prying eyes of objective journalists. For every "Outside The Lines" segment, there is an embarrassing attempt to cozy up to an athlete ("Kobe Doin' Work"). Despite being The Worldwide Leader, ESPN has to do this, lest they suffer the same fate as CNN when Fox News became the GOP propaganda arm and MSNBC ran to the left. ESPN is always looking over their shoulder for the next competitor. If they keep close with athletes and teams, it is impossible for a rival to gain a foothold against them. (Look at the struggles of Versus.) There are no Democrats and Republicans in sports. But there are Players and Owners, and ESPN is always trying to make both happy.
Which brings us back to the ESPYs. Let's go through this one-by-one;
1. The Best Male Athlete includes Kobe, LeBron, Michael Phelps and Jimmie Johnson. What? I like NASCAR as much as the next guy (because I bump draft on I-75 like Tony Stewart), but Johnson ahead of Tim Tebow, Usain Bolt, or any NFL player? Really? This is clearly an attempt by ESPN to appease their partners in NASCAR.
2. Bolt is also left out of the Best Championship Performance, which includes Kobe, Cole Hamels (which is a good pick), Phelps, and the two volleyball chicks everyone knows. Way to pick outside the norm, ESPN.
3. The Biggest Upset includes US Soccer over Spain, which happened yesterday. The US win was huge, but who does the nominations? If you can nominate anything, where's the kid who did the cartwheel shot? This is a play for soccer fans and a chance to promote THE WORLD'S LARGEST SPORTING EVENT THE WORLD CUP IS ON ESPN NEXT YEAR. Also, the only acceptable choice here is Rays over Red Sox. Mine That Bird at the Kentucky Derby and Oregon State over USC are also nominees.
4. There are only three games in the Best Games; 2008 Wimbledon Final (Federer-Nadal), the Super Bowl, and Syracuse-UConn Big East Quarterfinal six overtime game. Here's what they missed, just off the top of my head; Red Sox-Rays Game 7, Nova-Pitt East Regional (winning layup for Nova with 0.5 left), Magic-Cavs Game 2 (LeBron's shot), the entire Bulls-Celtics series, Texas-Boston College 25 inning game, Miami U-Boston U NCAA Hockey Final (BU scores twice in final minute to tie, wins in OT). Again, picking the most famous, not the best.
5. We finally get to Tebow in the Best Moment category for his Ole Miss speech. Tebow is with Helio Castroneves winning Indy after being acquitted on tax evasion and US Swim Team's win in the 4x100 relay (the one where the US beat the French by .08). Not even Tebow can beat the US destroying the Frenchies.
6. We know ESPN loves to shove women's basketball down our throats. But that doesn't mean UConn women's basketball should be nominated for Best Team. I don't care they went undefeated. That's happened five times already. Women's basketball is about as competitive as the the US Senate right now. (Only nine teams have won the past 20 women's titles.) They also nominate the Penguins, Steelers, Phillies, Tar Heels and Lakers. That's right, the Florida Gators get the snub. Because going 13-1, defeating the No. 1 team in the nation in consecutive games, and holding the most prolific offense in college football history to 14 points, is no big deal.
7. They don't include Urban Meyer in the Best Coach category, but if UConn's Geno Auriemma wins for his ability to yell at girls, this is a farce. Joe Maddon (even if I think he is a terrible strategist) or the Pens' Dan Bylsma are much more worthy candidates.
Tebow is nominated for Best College Athlete, but with Sam Bradford, Blake Griffin, and future Washington Nationals bust Stephen Strasburg, he will have a tough time winning.
In all, the ESPYs are just a ploy to make athletes happy (ooh, a trip to LA!) and appeal to the type of sports fans who only watch the Super Bowl and famous people. Very little baseball, college sports, or hockey. Tiger Woods was nominated for Best Golfer when he has won only two events since the 2008 US Open. Padraig Harrington has won two majors since then. But I guarantee Woods wins anyway. Yet, Hardcore Fans like us will watch, because it's the day after the MLB All-Star Game, and we're just junkies who need a fix on the only day without major pro sports.