Saturday, November 29, 2008

ESPN Lets Ed Hinton Discover The Internet


It seems former Orlando Sentinel writer and Wind Tunnel guest Ed Hinton has made a little discovery since he changed teams.

Now playing on the biggest sports field in the world, Hinton has discovered the joy of writing on ESPN.com and having Internet users comment on his topics.

Click here for one of the funniest columns about NASCAR haters in recent memory. It seems that during his time at ESPN, Hinton has discovered that a very large slice of the sports TV pie contains diehard stick-and-ball types who loathe even the mention of the word NASCAR.

The true irony of Hinton's column is that some of the biggest NASCAR haters are employed by ESPN in positions of great power. Here are some suggestions of locations within the ESPN family that Hinton might visit.

Perhaps, he could stroll over to Tony Kornheiser and have a little NASCAR conversation. "Not a real sport!" screamed Kornheiser recently on Pardon The Interruption when talking about ABC dumping NASCAR viewers to ESPN2 during the Phoenix race.

How about stopping by the studios of Around The Horn and asking Tony Reali why NASCAR is completely ignored and often publicly abused on that TV series? After all, ESPN's "NASCAR expert" Tim Colishaw is a frequent guest.

Hinton needs look no further than the ESPN Radio studios to find the Mike and Mike In The Morning show. Both Golic and Greenberg ventured to the Texas Motor Speedway only to completely ignore the sport with the exception of a brief Jimmie Johnson interview at the end of this special "NASCAR show."

Wrapping-up this first NASCAR haters tour of ESPN would be a meeting with the good folks at ESPNEWS. From February to late August, the ESPNEWS team wowed NASCAR fans by carrying the post-race news conferences from each Sprint Cup Series race.

As you might expect, there was a wide range of emotion on display from anger and frustration to complete joy and relief. The top NASCAR drivers, crew chiefs and owners all took their turns facing live questions from a frequently rowdy NASCAR press corps. One of the reporters heard quite often was named Hinton.

But, a funny thing happened on the way to Homestead. In September, once college and pro football got underway there were some changes at ESPNEWS.

Despite the fact that loyal NASCAR fans had been making ESPNEWS a post-race destination for more than six months, the NASCAR coverage was suddenly long gone like Terrell Owens through the Seattle Seahawks backfield.

The post-race press conference coverage during the ten ABC Chase for the Championship races was just dumped like a bad blind date and never heard from again.

Despite a deluge of comments and emails to ESPN asking why, NASCAR fans were ignored by The Worldwide Leader with a deafening silence.

For the moment, Mr. Hinton can leave First Take, ESPN's Hannah Storm and the new morning SportsCenter for his next NASCAR hating excursion.

Before he experiences the brutal NASCAR reality of those three he has to figure out this whole Internet thing. Welcome to ESPN, Ed.

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28 comments:

Phathead said...

I thought this was a completely ironic and well written article by Ed. One has to wonder what the look on his editors face was when that was submitted because it was also clearly a shot to his employer. You have to think that he probably caught some guff from co-workers at ESPN

Dot said...

How is it that ESPN allows their other shows to trash NASCAR? I've wondered about this for a while. It's bad enough the way ESPN (the network) treats the fans. Maybe that's why the other shows can get away with it. I'm curious about what the suits of NASCAR think.

I'm just appalled at the lack of respect we racing fans get. It didn't seem this way before BF got in charge.

I love Ed. He writes/says what he thinks and employer be damned.

Btw, I thought the first comment would be from our dear Sophia.

SallyB said...

That would assume that his editors and co-workers would even give Nascar enough thought to bother with.Thank goodness Mr. Hinton isn't afraid to speak his mind, no matter whose feathers might get ruffled (http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/columns/story?columnist=hinton_ed&id=3716882). If Nascar fans are wondering if anyone out there wonders if anyone ont there really cares about racing and it's fans, you need wonder no more.

theangryengraver said...

LMAO

I've seen Ed Hinton a couple times on ESPN Videos. Man did he hit the nail on the head. I too wonder what his editor said the 1st time he read that article. For the most part, it's all true!!

SquidBuzz said...

I wonder why he hasn't been back on Wind Tunnel? Did he get upset when they did a good vs bad thing with him and Robin Miller? I like him, but I thought he was a little bitchy when Despain did that to him or is it just me?

red said...

gack! you made me break my "all things espn" boycott! but it was well worth it.

i have not understood the business philosophy that says "spend a ton of $$ to get a long-term contract with nascar and then either be dismissive or downright obnoxious about it across the various platforms owned by the company." seems like a REALLY bad move from a strictly business/ROI perspective.

so, now i have been pondering a procedural question that might add light to the discussion: does hinton, in fact, have to show his column to some editor before it gets posted? how much oversight is there of online column writers by the larger corporate entity?

to dot's point about "It didn't seem this way before BF got in charge." as far as the internet goes, it seems to me that both the internet and brian france's "coming of age" at the head of nascar happened about the same time. for better or worse, the earlier france family scions didn't have to deal with the internet phenomenon and its impact on the fans and sport. i often wonder how big bill would handle it.

i am certainly not apologizing for the younger france b/c he's done nothing to advance our sport and everything to damage it. but his dad and grandfather never had to deal with the immediacy of the internet, the 24/7 nature of cable sports and the fans having a multitude of platforms for raising their opinions to discussion. face it: they had either just newspapers and racing publications (which were few and far between) or newspapers and tv (which was pretty much a Wide World of Sports moment until the late 70s.)

in fact, that's one of the bigger complaints about nascar right now: no way to provide feedback via an "official" website that accepts email. i mean, c'mon, nascar! i can communicate with and get repsonse from the transition team of president-elect obama more easily than i can with nascar! that just ain't right!

majorshouse said...

Ed Hinton is a breath of fresh air and I am sure that the suits at ESPN are still trying to figure him out and I don't think that will happen because he is one of those great people that will speak first and not back down and I love that and we need more like him.

TexasRaceLady said...

*wiping off keyboard, monitor, desk, etc.* Pardon the mess. LOL

I loved Ed's article. He hit it dead on and wide open.

Thanks for bringing attention to it, JD. I'm going to spread it around. hehehe

You know, maybe the vitriol from non-race people is a result of the fear that, just maybe, there is another sport just as important as their chosen one. :-)

Newracefan said...

When I travel to ESPN.com there are only a few "writers" I read. Marty Smith and Ryan McGee; when Ed Hinton joined he became the third. I had already read his post and did not immediately think of it as a slam of ESPN, I just was looking at it from a personal level. Most of my family think I'm nuts but they are OK with my sister being a football fanatic and my brother taking off work to go to the Phillies parade. Nascar never makes it to the local news unless they are at Dover or Pocono. But... now that you brought it up JD, slam away Ed, don't think the boys upstairs will even care if this past season is any indication, they probably didn't even read it. But we did so thanks Ed.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that Ed would include "Mike and Mike" as haters. They have a lot of passion for the sports they usually discuss, football, fotball, football.

They don't know a lot about NASCAR and they don't pretend they do. Right after Jimmie won, they intervied him by phone the very next Monday. They even compared him to a dynasty in other sports.

I'm a big Mike and Mike fan, and they know their fan base. People don't tune in to hear them talk about NASCAR for 1-3 hours, even if they are on location.

Whenever they discuss a subject, they will have 500 emails on that topic within 5 minutes. I'll bet that if they say NASCAR and only get 10 emails, they know it's time to move on.

I agree that there are many NASCAR bashers, but some of the worst NASCAR haters are old NASCAR fans. They bash Jeff Gordon, JJ, Toyota, the new fans that don't know or care about the Petty's legacy, tracks outside the south, lack of country music, etc. These folks are not much of a welcoming committee or ambassadors to those potential new fans to the sport.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:30AM,

I enjoy "Mike and Mike" on a regular basis. The NASCAR season runs from February to November.

The fact that they personally do not know the sport is exactly what should NOT come in the way of them covering it.

My comment was on the multi-hour TMS show which fundamentally ignored the entire reason they were at the track to focus on stick-and-ball issues.

NASCAR should be included in rundowns, scoring reviews and highlights just like Sunday's NFL games and Saturday's college football tilts.

It is the balance that is wrong and so far in two years ESPN has not been able to make a dent in these types of programs as far as even representing the sport throughout the ten month season.

Thanks for the comment.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Amy, please re-phrase your comment without the political references when you have a chance and re-post.

Thanks,

JD

Anonymous said...

I like Ed Hinton too and I'm glad to see him back. That was a very funny (and true) take on the situation. Ed was dumped by his newspaper awhile ago. I also noticed that he was treated badly on WindTunnel and has not returned. Wind Tunnel's loss, IMO.

I agree also that Mike & Mike aren't haters. They don't know a ton about it but aren't negative either. They're in the minority in that they aren't out to bash people without reason. I like them.

It's rather typical of the way things are now in NASCAR that they're stuck with a network that they took the money and ran from...away from any good coverage. Mystifying to me why ESPN wanted it in the first place.

Vince said...

There is a supposedly a quote by Ernest Hemmingway, that goes like this:

"There are only three true sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games."

Football, baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, bowling, etc are all GAMES, not sports.

HarpAmy/Amy in FL said...

Thanks, Mr. Ed Hinton, for your column.

I think that the problem with Nascar coverage is that in my opinion in the media there is a problem with covering what the real world wants. The media only covers what they perceive to be the real world. Having said that, the media thinks that the real world does not like Nascar and only likes football, basketball, baseball and other stick and ball sports. It is a difference between the haves and the have nots. ESPN thinks that they are in the haves side and only are concerned with the city folks and not the country folks.

I hope that I have voiced this clearly and not clear as mud.

Thanks, John, for allowing us this opportunity to voice our opinions.

BTW, how many of you are going through Nascar withdrawal right about now? I know that I am. I know that they need time off as they truly deserve it but I miss Nascar. I did have an opportunity to go to David Reutimann's cookout and auction last night in Zephyrhills (David's hometown) and really had a great time. It was all for charity. Today they are having a golf tournament. Tonight, David and Buzzie and a few other Reutimanns are racing at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa if you are interested. The public is welcome.

Sorry for the Nascar withdrawal essay.

GinaV24 said...

I just read Ed's column and before I even came over here and read your blog, I had sent him an e-mail back saying just the same thing. The biggest group of bashers in the media is located on ESPN! LOL, gotta love it.

Dot said...

@ Red,

You are correct about the coverage of NASCAR reaching us faster and more often due to the internet. However, I think if the Bill's were still in charge, they would be taking ESPN to task. They would not like their beloved sport (per Ernest, thank you Vince) to be trashed like it is. BF is in it just for the money.

@ Amy in FL,

I'm also going through withdrawls. How many days until Daytona?

David said...

I've mentioned before, and will mention again, I have no issue with NASCAR being ignored by the "feeder" ESPN shows. I'd much rather hear someone who knows racing talk about racing, then someone talk about it because they have to. Sorry, maybe I am a purist in that regard. As long as the sport gets a decent and respectful mention on Sportscenter since The World Series of Poker does, then I can live with that. ESPN's absence from NASCAR has led me to consider SPEED my "NASCAR Channel" I don't go to ESPN for my NASCAR just like I don't go to Speed for my NFL and other sports news.

I wanted this resurrection of NASCAR on ESPN to be like the good ole days, but alas the good ole days are no more and what we have now is a pathetic attempt at grasping ratings with sensational stories written by people who have absolutely zero understanding of the sport aside from the fact that the drivers turn left and race 500 miles.

Its no different then it was 8 years ago JD...at least not to me. We had RPM2Night, and got blurbs on Sportscenter and that was it. As long as the reporting is responsible, I can handle ESPN not making NASCAR their focus. They have their hands in too many pots as it is to really even make NASCAR worthwhile on their network.

Others suggested before, and I am beginning to agree, lets rework the contract. Id rather see TNT and Fox split the load then deal with ESPN always having NASCAR on the backburner. Unless they get a reasonable 3rd cable network this issue will continue and continue.

As for Ed Hinton on ESPN, fitting don't ya think?

Sophia said...

Dot

Thanks for the kind thoughts of me! :-) I would've been the first poster but when I saw this first posted here was it last night?' was up to my elbows in trying to edit some basic videos.

I LOVE ED HINTON!! A breath of fresh air and great article.

For those wondering, the only reason I have that he is no longer on WT is he went to 'the other side'...ESPN.

How sad....maybe if ESPN gives him grief, SPEED will hire him and give Ed and Robin a show...nah, SPEED would never do that...might interfere with Unique Whips or Pink (insert sarcasm)

Yes, I am also clueless to the treatment of things NASCAR by ESPN..but watch NOTHING on that station unless I have to. Only reason I read this BRILLIANT ASTUTE article by Mr. Hinton is it was here, posted by JD.

I have to say in this off season, I am not having NASCAR withdrawal and hardly keeping up with any news except what I read here.

Just got burned out with the lousy ESPN coverage...but look forward to the weeks at Daytona...but for now, not missing the rotten coverage.

I am missing the SPEED Gang and Wind Tunnel.

Newracefan said...

Yes Nascar withdrawl here too. Told my other half I was bored and made him take me to dinner. Guess I'll have to find another distraction tomorrow, who thought I'd be glad to go back to work on Monday.

darbar said...

One of the biggest Nascar haters on ESPN is Mr Negative of Everything, Skip Bayless. Whenever Nascar is mentioned on First Take, he has some snarky thing to say. At least Mike and Mike are respectful of the sport, despite the fact they know very little about the sport.

What I continue to find amusing is that ESPN, the supposed king of all things stick and ball, continues to see poker, domino tournaments and the National Spelling Bee as sports. Yes, I know that in the beginning, ESPN used to stand for "Entertainment and Sports Programming Network". But I read at one time that they didn't want to be known as an entertainment network, but only sports. So I still wonder, what does poker have to do with a sporting event?

You go, Ed Hinton. We Nascar fans need a voice of reason at ESPN.

Ritchie said...

I too appreciate Mr. Hinton writing his blog about NASCAR haters. I'm sure that he can only go so far with his blogs due to his employer. He probably can't really attack his coworkers behavior, but I think we can all read between the lines.

I would like to comment on the statements made by a few about Mike and Mike stating that they don't know much about NASCAR so they don't comment on it. After many years of NASCAR and of ESPN's NASCAR coverage, that is not an excuse anymore. That phrase is code for "I hate NASCAR and I am not dignifying it with my attention". I admit that it is nicer than proclaiming "NASCAR is not a sport", but in a way it is a nastier comment because they are not being honest.

I have stated on this blog and others that it is ridiculous for the TV personalities who draw a paycheck from ESPN to be allowed to act like Mr. Kornheiser and others. I keep hoping the era of Kornheiser and Mr. Rome among others will soon pass.

This is especially true when ESPN has talent like Ryan Burr. I saw him on ESPNU talking college basketball. If he can follow all of these sports, why can't Mike & Mike? Would someone please explain that to me?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tamafan32 said...

ESPN chooses to cover criminal associated leagues such as MLB, NFL, and NBA who constantly fill the headlines with illegal drug arrests, shootings, dog fighting, gambling, etc. The list goes on and on. Did you know that 71% of nba players have a criminal record?? Please expose your children to motorsports, the role-models are there, and so is a fundamental understanding of what healthy competiveness is all about..... minus the garbage associated w/ their "potential heros"

Anonymous said...

"Mike and Mike" is a talk show. It is not a news show. They are spontanous, funny, irreverant, and topical. They talk about things they want to. That's what is fun about them. I would hate to have the suits at ESPN tell them they have to discuss NASCAR. Mike and Mike are extremely popular so I doubt the suits are going to mess with a winning team.

As much as they love football, they do not discuss all 32 teams. They discus their favorites, the best or the wrost, or if someone has a scandal. Greeney loves the Jets. He does not discuss all 55 guys. He talks about one guy--Brett.

If they started discussing NASCAR, it would seem very phoney, forced, and NASCAR fans would berate them for being so ignorant. In order to do justice and discuss any sport, it takes years and years of following it and knowing its history and tradition.

I know they don't want to discuss something they know nothing about. When they have had a fantasy football reporter give updates, both Mikes have said they don't get "fantasy leagues" and can't even figure out interesting questions to ask about these leagues even though they know that millions and millions of people participate in them.

I'm sure they would say the same thing about NASCAR, they know it's popular, but they just don't know it.

Let's do a reality check. The Mikes do eating contests, milk cows, dress up in costumes, make up poems and songs, and generaly just have fun. They give us what we want, and it's not a novice discussion of NASCAR.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:22AM,

Mike and Mike discuss ESPN programming and interview ESPN announcers in advance and after live events on ESPN and ABC.

A quick update with Dale Jarrett before a race or a Monday phone call with Marty Smith would go a long way toward introducing new fans to NASCAR.

ESPN is heavily invested in the sport for the next six years. The best thing that could happen to Mike and Mike is to get them in a Petty Racing Experience car at Charlotte and open their eyes to the reality of this sport.

Ignorance is no excuse.

JD

Anonymous said...

Did you know that 71% of nba players have a criminal record??
Reference or link, please? Because you just made that up, didn't you?

Anonymous said...

I think Ed would say...Hornish,Stremme,come on Roger,you can do better than that!!