On my lunch break yesterday I sat at a local sandwich shop, chomped on a turkey/bacon sandwich and watched a muted flat screen that hung on the wall above the napkins and straws. ESPN was on. A bloated Ken Griffey Jr. popped on screen sporting a visor and Upper Deck logos flanking him. Ugh. The nauseating whore that is ESPN is at it again.Â
I hate it. I can’t watch it anymore. As a kid, I couldn’t wait to watch SportsCenter after school and before bed. Living on the west coast is a decided advantage for sports viewing. The late show aired at 8 p.m. I knew every anchor, I soaked in every news and feature for every sport (minus hockey and NASCAR) and I couldn’t miss a show. Now, I can’t watch a show. ESPN is plastic. It’s not news and information anymore. It’s celebrities, uber branding and self-created headlines.
And it’s the only reason Ken Griffey Jr. was on that TV yesterday in the sandwich shop. Veteran SportsCenter anchor Linda Cohn was blessed with the task of interviewing Griffey to promote whatever shill job he was doing for Upper Deck. She asked five questions. He gave five words. WORDS, PEOPLE. He looked uninterested, bored, and too cool for school. With the sound muted, I couldn’t hear the interview. And I felt awkward just watching the body language. Cohn tried her best to save the segment, keeping a jovial attitude, laughing and trying to engage Griffey. But Junior’s blood sugar must’ve been low. Upper Deck’s catering table wasn’t going to eat itself.
Griffey earned $151 million playing Major League Baseball and earned even more in endorsements. Whatever Upper Deck paid him obviously isn’t worth his time to promote the product. SO DON’T DO IT THEN, YA BIG JERK.
Cohn ended the “interview” asking what she thought Griffey would be most remembered for on the baseball field. He said his smile. Which he didn’t flash once in the interview.
I think he ate it.