For athletes and fans and the masses of the sports media that mediate between the two parties, the day after the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is supposed to be one of rest. (Of course, you won't sell that to anyone covering NBA Free Agency.) With all apologies to the six MLS teams in action, tonight is widely considered the absolute slowest day on the domestic sports calendar. To fill the programming void, ESPN invites superpstars from the worlds of sports and entertaiment to participate in its annual awards show.
The 2012 ESPY Awards Show is the 20th iteration of the annual event that mixes Bristol backslapping, on-field high-fiving and the occasional SNL cast member. Not surprisingly, the gift bag is stupendous. While it conveniently emulates the name of the sports media company that dreamed up the award, "ESPY" actually stands for "Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award."
Between the red carpet walk and the afterparties, the word "best" will be thrown around quite a bit. Novak Djokovic and LeBron James are both competing for the "Best Male Athlete" Award while Tim Tebow and Derek Jeter among those being considered in the "Best Moment" category.
With ESPN thoroughly covering these superlative events and performances, we thought that someone should take a look at what's left over before we reset the sporting calendar with the start of the college and professional football preseasons. What were the biggest disappointments, recurrent annoyances and cringe-worthy trends that defined the past year in sports. What would we like to see less of in the coming year?
Without further ado, welcome to the inaugural LESSPY Awards. To poorly paraphrase Robert Browning, LESSPY is more.
So, let us know which of these LESSPY nominees that you'd most like to leave behind as we get set for another year in sports. Do you never need to see someone Tebowing again? Or was the hipster takeover of the NBA playoff pressers just a fuchsia bridge too far? For the purists out there, do you save your bile for things like pitch counts and flopping?
Most importantly, what did we forget to mention that really grinds your gears? What has been annoying you most in the wide world of sports over the last 12 months?
Move over soccer. The NBA is the new king of flopping. Perhaps no player was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/chris-webber-blake-griffin-flopping-warning_n_1499239.html" target="_hplink">called out for faking</a> out the referees this season as Blake Griffin. It got so bad that even NBA Commissioner David Stern had to acknowledge it.. for #basketball reasons (but more about that later).
When Detroit Lions linebacker <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/30/stephen-tulloch-tebows-sack-tim-tebow-video_n_1066330.html" target="_hplink">Stephen Tulloch went Tebowing</a> after sacking the Broncos' polarizing quarterback it was a pretty great moment. But next thing you know there was Tebowing on tops of mountains and on red carpets. When did Fonzie "Tebow" over that shark? Was it Paul Pierce that finally ruined Tebowing? Or was it long expired before he got to it?
The NBA championship certainly validates the "super team" strategy in Miami. But every free agent is now rumored to going to be one of a few major cities. Well, except in the NHL where the super team is in Minnesota. Of course it is.
How many <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/27/dewayne-wise-catch-umpire-blows-call_n_1630815.html" target="_hplink">umpires have to be embarrassed</a> before we get expanded instant replay in MLB?
The BCS System
Things broke just right this year for the four-team playoff that is on the way. While it'll take a few more years to rid us of the BCS, it is certainly nice knowing that it's now about WHEN and not IF.
Absolute power.. sends Chris Paul to the Clippers.
Chris Berman's Play-By-Play Calls
According to <em>Awful Announcing</em>, <a href="http://awfulannouncing.com/2012-articles/july/chris-berman-said-back-66-times-for-the-home-run-derby-and-only-used-1-nickname.html" target="_hplink">Chris Berman dropped "back"</a> a whopping 66 times during the 2012 Home Run Derby. As far as most people with Twitter accounts are concerned, that was 66 times more than ESPN should allow.
Always Trying To Take A Charge
It's one thing to have this infraction in the rule book and another thing entirely for it to be a strategy as it was for defenses throughout the recent NBA playoffs. Also, see: Flopping.
Certainly there are arms attached to guys like Stephen Strasburg that are worth a lot of money to a lot of men in and out of uniform. But shouldn't we be talking about their pitching talents instead of their pitch counts?
With Steve Nash taking the ball from Kobe Bryant next season and Jason Kidd attempting to do the same with Melo in New York, it's possible that we'll actually see some more team play in the NBA. Of course, LeBron's singular dominance in the Finals could also have reaffirmed the old way of thinking.
Racism In Soccer
Italian soccer player Mario Balotelli said he will walk off the pitch if he is racially abused at Euro 2012. Fearing racial slurs while playing is no
Even Strength Blocked Shots
C'mon guys. Let's give the goalies a chance to play. The increase in blocked shots around hockey does not equate to an increase in commitment toward winning the Stanley Cup. It's just the latest strategy devised to negate talent, like the trap before the lockout that everyone hated with a passion.
Root, root, rooting for the home team doesn't mean that you need to headbutt (or worse) the guy supporting the visitors. Note to security guards: Let's confiscate <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/12/jets-cowboys-fans-fight-video_n_958121.html" target="_hplink">those stun guns</a> at the gates.
Russell Westbrook's Glasses
LeBron James would prefer this slide to be titled "LeBron James' Glasses." Either way, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/13/russell-westbrook-shirt-glasses-nba-fashion-style_n_1595047.html" target="_hplink">no lens</a> should mean no glasses.
Call Me Maybe Parodies
NFL Black Out Rules
Racism Among Players
At least the hi jinx of Ochocinco occasionally revolve around him helping out widows and fans. Owens can't seem to help anyone, least of all himself.