Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Harold Reynolds Out for (Allegedly) Not Corking His Bat

First David Aldridge, now Harold Reynolds.

In case you haven't heard, ESPN has reportedly fired the baseball analyst and celebrity softball manager extraordinaire.

The folks at Deadspin say it's because HR has a knack for hitting on the ladies. Sexual harassment is a touchy subject (pardon the pun), so it's too soon to condemn or commend Harold for his alleged offense at this point. More salacious details are required.

But regardless of innocence or guilt, isn't this a newsworthy story? After all, Harold Reynolds is the 2nd-most well-known and well-liked analyst on Baseball Tonight -- after PG of course (get well soon Pete). And BBTN is one of the flagship programs for ESPN. And ESPN is the undisputed dictator-for-life of the sports world (R.I.P. CNNSI). The HR story is being reported by Deadspin, FOX Sports and SI.com, yet ESPNEWS Headlines believes something like Fiorentina, Lazio in Serie A; Juventus penalty cut is more important.

Obviously ESPN wants to save face and push this under the rug, but doesn't a sports news network have an obligation to... I don't know, report the news? Doesn't trying to deny the fact and say lame-ass lines like "All I can say is he is no longer working here" (via an ESPN drone) only make the network seem smug? And it's not like ESPN's image is in tip-top shape. After all, everyone bought ESPN Mobile, watched the ESPYs and enjoy watching Stephen A. Smith and Woody Paige. Hell, those two have more schtick than I do! One of these days Bill Simmons has to become the consciousness of ESPN and rant on all the things wrong about ESPN, on ESPN. Flood his fuckin' mailbag people.

Man, Harold Reynolds is already a former personality of Baseball Tonight. That's some sad shit.

I'm going to miss Harold like I miss Aldridge (another casuality of the ESPN machine). DA's gone to a better place in TNT, where sports and entertainment make beautiful music. Unlike ESPN, where sports and entertainment tend to make trance. Maybe Harold will find work with FOX or TBS. An under-utilized Harold is better than no Harold at all.

The biggest loser in this is people who watch BBTN. Off the top of my head, this is the remaining Baseball Tonight crew:

Karl Ravech - The fucking anchor of Baseball Tonight. T.F.A.
Orestes Destrade - I have no idea how he got this job. I imagine he was promoted from Desportes. Don't care much for him, mostly because I don't know him. Ignorance is bliss.
John Kruk - He's improved a lot from his rookie year in '04. Doesn't bring much to the table (...resist... food joke...)
Tim Kurkjian - My new favorite BBTN guy. He's short, he's witty, he's a total baseball nerd.
Steve Philips - Kinda cool to see a former GM talk about trades and stuff. Kinda.
Orel Hershier - Ehhh. Maybe he should go back to being a pitching coach.
Buster Olney - I like him. He's a real journalist and his blog is fun to read, kinda like Hoopshype.com Rumors, except for baseball. Of course, I can't read Buster's blog now that it's a part of the ESPN Insider vortex. Assholes.

...and there's some other guys. The bottom line is, it's basically Karl and Tim on the A-team. And since BBTN is a three-person team (sometimes bloated to four), it's gonna suffer because there's no mathematical way (I'm Asian!) for BBTN to bring out an A-team. Back in the day, BBTN used to drop some serious baseball goodness with Ravy, HR, Gammons and Kurkjian. Freakin' Murderer's Row. Even Dave "Soup" Campbell was mmm-mmm good.

I'm not even sure I'll watch BBTN again. Oh who am I kidding? ESPN owns my life. I'd watch BBTN even if the analysts were Anna Nicole Smith, Paul Silas and Cerberus. So I'll tune into BBTN like every other night, but without Harold it won't be the same, and that's a shame.

EDIT: HOLY CRAP! Right as I'm typing this, SportsCenter reports that HR is gone. Now it's even on ESPN.com. Hey, that's progress I suppose. All that needs to happen is for all 37 people with ESPN Mobile to get a Web Alert that reads, "Black athlete gropes females ... and it wasn't even Chris Henry."

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