My wife and I walked into a nearby pub tonight and saw all four TVs tuned to ESPN. Not much of a surprise.
Also not much of a surprise: The "Worldwide Leader" was showing Red Sox at Yankees.
I realize that Bristol may be halfway between the two cities - or somewhere close to halfway - but enough already. For a supposed national network to concentrate so heavily on two cities is ludicrous, no matter how intense the rivalry. And it sucks for the other 98 percent of the country that - gasp! - could care freaking less about Boston or New York.
I tried looking up TV schedules for the week, but they've since gone the way of the internet afterlife. So I can't be certain just how many Yanks-Sawx games have been broadcast nationally. I'm positive it was at least two, and don't doubt for a second that all three were.
(Surely a fourth would have, but Wednesday's game was postponed by rain. Surprisingly, ESPN chose not to show us a static shot of the tarp-covered Yankee Stadium infield.)
This rivarly was once a cool deal, one that peaked in the 2004 ALCS, when Boston famously rallied in the final inning of Game 4 while the Sox were down 3-0. They won one, one another and another ... and suddenly they had vanquished the vaunted Yanks. A four-game sweep over St. Louis ended the suffering for Red Sox Nation and began the suffering for the rest of the nation.
Boston is now inescapable, living off of its 2004 World Series title. A disappointing finish to 2005 didn't ease the coverage; it's been a season and a half since the St. Louis sweep, and the Red Sox, deserving or not, are shoved down our throats. It's to the point that two Red Sox fans I know admit that their team is overexposed.
The Yankees are, of course, the Yankees and have been inescapable since the dawn of time. No team elicits more cheers when it fails as much as the Yankees.
ESPN forces many things upon us that we may not like - poorly-done feature films, incessant self-promotion and Stuart Scott among them. But that's how things work in a monopoly.
And I know ESPN could care less what I have to say. Fine. But that's what this thing is for - part exploration, part vent.
By trying to capitalize on the 26 million combined people in the New York and Boston metro areas (not all of which are Yanks or Sawx fans), ESPN and Fox's never-ending coverage has alienated another 75 million or so that populate the remainder of the country's top 15 metro areas (http://geography.about.com/library/weekly/aa010102a.htm).
Consider this graf from Fox's own Web site: "The Yankees and with new center fielder Johnny Damon, make nine MLB on FOX appearances while National League MVP Albert Pujols, Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals are featured eight times this season. The Fox Saturday Baseball Game of the Week schedule also includes eight games each for the Red Sox, Braves, Mets, Cubs, Dodgers, Angels and Giants. Both the World Champion White Sox and National League Champion Houston Astros are scheduled six times."
So let me get this straight: Sox/Yanks combine for 17 appearances, 2005 World Series participants combine for 12 appearances.
Dear God: Please make it stop.
Thankfully it will until mid-September, when Boston and New York hook up for a three-game weekend series. Then it starts all over again.
It's painful to even think about.