Florida gets it right, ESPN gets it wrong… again

Upon hearing the news that the University of Florida had won its first ever College World Series, an old college roommate suggested that I jot down a little something to celebrate the team’s rather unlikely victory.

So I am.

But this post isn’t about the Gators adding yet another national title to their already impressive resume of athletic accomplishments.  This is about how the Worldwide Leader in Sports continues to lose its way.

Earlier in the afternoon, as I was getting ready for work, I turned on ESPN… as I’m prone to do basically every afternoon I get ready for work.  The particular broadcast at the time was previewing the upcoming College World Series game between Florida and LSU to be aired on their network later that evening.  At the bottom of the screen, ESPN reported that, with a victory, Florida sought to become only the fifth school in NCAA history to win national championships in football, basketball and baseball.  The other schools ESPN listed who had accomplished such a feat included Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma and UCLA.  I sure do wish I would have snapshotted that screen.  At that point, I had no reason to doubt the accuracy of their statement.

Once at work, I brought up that factoid with some of my clientele, even engaging them in a little trivia, asking them to name the four other schools who had done so.

Ironically, after winning Tuesday night’s baseball game and jumping up and down on each other as all World Series champions in Omaha do, Florida did not become the fifth team ever to win national championships in the three major sports.  They only became the fourth… because ESPN got it wrong.

Shocker.

Serious sports fans such as myself have long ago stopped looking to ESPN for quality reporting, yet every once in a while, we still make the mistake of thinking that what they’re telling us is accurate.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I run a sports blog.  If I mistakenly state a fact, it’s no big deal.  I just fire my fact checker and thank the person who caught my mistake by giving them a pat on the back and a copy of the home game.  But for ESPN to make a mistake, well, one would think that’s a little bit more of a faux pas.  After all, their sole purpose is to REPORT SPORTS NEWS.  Again, we’re not talking matters of national security here but I would like to think that the news I’m getting from the most watched news source for sports is as accurate as can be.

I mean, how many statisticians do they employ up in Bristol?  Can’t one of them get it right?  I understand that mistakes will be made but this is not the first time I’ve seen an errant factoid scramble across their ticker.  At this rate, it clearly won’t be the last.  Do they think we’re not paying attention?  I get that keeping up with endless statistics is a difficult job… but this is all they have to do.  That is literally their only responsibility.

Hey, fact checker department.  We’re going on air with this soon.  How many universities other than Florida have won a title in the three major sports?  Get me that information please.  Oh, and one more thing.  CAN YOU MAKE IT CORRECT?  That’s kind of important.

Insert buzzer sound here.

And who the hell includes Oklahoma on that list?  Didn’t someone have the common sense to question that before it hit the airwaves?  Note: Oklahoma has won two national titles in baseball (1951, 1994) and obviously ran off a few national titles in football but has never done so in basketball.  They were national runners-up in 1947 and 1988.  That ’88 team boasted Mookie Blaylock, Harvey Grant and Stacey King but lost to Kansas and a guy named Danny Manning.

Thank you, internet, but I digress.  After all, I wouldn’t want a little thing called FACTS getting in the way of a good story.

Growing up in a journalist’s household, I remember watching the greats.  Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel.  Edward R. Murrow’s name was revered.  What ESPN is doing is not journalism.  They used to but not anymore.  In fact, I’m not exactly sure what it is… other than quite often factually incorrect.

My embittered blogger friend (See: J-Dub) and I routinely rail ESPN for its coverage.  Remember when I wrote this?  “Any sports fan that tunes into ESPN for hard-breaking news is the same one who goes to McDonald’s to eat healthy.”  I like that line so much, I thought it bears repeating.

I’m not sure why I keep falling into the trap of expecting them to get the job done right.  I guess these days that’s just a little too much to ask.

That being said, congratulations to my alma mater, the University of Florida’s baseball team for its first ever College World Series title.  It’ll only be a few more years until ESPN misremembers how it happened.

14 thoughts on “Florida gets it right, ESPN gets it wrong… again

  1. Fun fact: during the first game between LSU & Oregon State during the CWS, they were discussing OSU star Nick Madrigal & threw up the OKLAHOMA STATE logo instead of Oregon State! I was like WTF ESPN. Now, I could see an honest mistake happening IF Ok State AND Oregon St were BOTH in the CWS but Ok State was NOT! I found this an incredibly amateur sloppy mistake!

  2. D…

    That’s a perfect example. As sports fans, they should know we take this shit seriously. Not to mention they have a job to do that’s actually pretty fucking simple. Get… the facts… right.

    I’m not quite sure what’s happened to journalism over the last twenty or so years but ESPN is a shining example of how it’s gone way down hill.

    With sports, they’re supposed to be reporting fact. This company employs 8,000 people (a fact, I learned from the internet). Is it too much to ask that what they report be accurate?

  3. On this topic, we agree completely!!!! Also, as a long-time CWS fan I was completely annoyed by the commentators this year, there was obvious bias in every game they commented on. & I’m not just talking against LSU, it was across the board, no matter who was playing it was very easy to tell whose corner the commentators were in. That’s not journalism to me, that’s editorial & in live commentating, there is no place for that! Save it for Around the Horn!

  4. Congrats to the Gators. Now Bama will have to pony up in baseball like they do in football to keep up on bragging rights. Our softballl team is stout tho.

  5. D…

    I don’t mind a little Around the Horn. In fact, I think it’s one of the network’s better programs, due in large part to them mixing up the biased knuckleheads (so we can decipher between the dozen). I also find Tony Reali underrated as the monitor of the program. (I do believe Max Kellerman was their first: epic fail.)

    Remember when Jay Mariotti, Chicago Sun-Times reporter and a regular on that show, (allegedly) smacked his partner? Anyway, he was gone from the program never to be heard from again. That was back when ESPN had a conscience.

    Regardless, I’m okay with, for baseball games, two or three guys in the booth. One for color, one for play-by-play, and another for whatever the hell they want. I’m even okay with a little bias.

    Just temper that and have it not represent the views of the network.

    Oh… and report the news.

    I can’t even tell you how long I’ve watched sporting events with my television set on MUTE.

  6. ESPN the bastion of ongoing stupidity and mediocre on-air talent . Oh and let’s not forget the continued chauvinism and outright misogyny allowed to permeate within the organization. On a lighter note , J A Adande is still suggesting how exciting the NBA Finals were and how it could have gone either way. No longer worried by the fact his lips are still firmly pressed against LBJ’s ass and that of Adam Silver’s .

    The house (ABC/ESPN) that Disney bought for $19 billion has now become an ongoing joke on so many levels.

    ESPN’s analysts have lacked credibility for years and the fact of the matter is , they’ve become stale and boring. So for that reason, we should no longer take any notice of what they have to say .

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