I’m starting to realize why I’m not a morning person. His name is Skip Bayless.
Tuesday morning, I was eating my breakfast as Sage Steele and Bayless exchanged this conversation:
“Welcome to ‘1st and 10,'” Steele said. “Today we are S-cubed, as Scoop Jackson joins us.”
(Yes, it’s another lame welcoming joke on “First Take.”)
“Actually Sage, there’s three of us today,” Bayless said.
Really, Skip? Cubed means three. Sage, Skip and Scoop. Three Ss. In record time, Skip Bayless set me off with his first sentence of the day. Usually it takes at least 30 seconds.
This got me thinking about how many personalities on ESPN actually bother me. Then there are those I love to watch. Some of these guys are worth listening to, and a lot of them aren’t. But we don’t really have a choice. They are going to be on our televisions no matter what. So let’s look at the best and the worst:
Bottom 3 ESPN personalities
1. Skip Bayless (“1st and 10” on “ESPN First Take”): I’m pretty sure I could write an entire novel about the ******* things this guy says on a daily basis. He’s your typical “I’ll say the most outrageous stuff just to get noticed” guy. Hey, I’ll give you credit Skip. You’ve been noticed–as a moron.
He’s got a vendetta against LeBron James that has turned into the most embarrassing, stubborn argument in the history of sports broadcasting. How can you consistently say that LeBron is overrated? And the sad thing is that it spills over to other arguments, including one made Tuesday morning when he argued that Brendan Haywood’s foul on LeBron in game two of the Wizards-Cavs series was not a flagrant foul. If Haywood had done that to any other player in the league, Bayless would have been calling for his head. The former columnist in Dallas, Chicago and San Jose is simply the most biased personality in sports.
2. Jim Rome (“Rome is Burning”): Un-in-tell-i-gent. A-nnoy-ing. Please-shut-up. If you’ve seen the show, you understand.
3. Jay Mariotti (“Around the Horn”): Any reporter that can rip a guy apart and not face the players in the locker room the next day is a coward. This is Mariotti’s reputation in Chicago and it makes it hard to take the guy seriously.
Honorable mentions: Doug Gottlieb (“The Pulse”) and Woody Paige (“Around the Horn”).
Top 3 ESPN personalities
1. Mike Greenberg/Mike Golic (“Mike and Mike in the Morning”): I group these two together because they are truly one being on their hit morning radio show that also airs live on ESPN2. Their chemistry is unmatched across sports radio. It’s so fluid and entertaining I almost take it for granted.
It’s like the MVP argument–take one of them off the show and you realize how valuable they both are. The only times that the show succeeds without one of them is when Erik Kuselias fills in, which brings me to No. 2 …
2. Erik Kuselias (“The Erik Kuselias Show”): Not many people know Kuselias, who is starting to get more recognition, filling in frequently on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” and “ESPN First Take.” He hosts a weekend show on ESPN Radio, but he’s got to be a candidate to move up soon. Kuselias is an extremely smart guy, having attended Brown, Michigan Law School and Columbia. It shows when he constantly makes Bayless look like the idiot he is on “1st and 10.”
3. Scott Van Pelt (“The Mike Tirico Show”): Like Mike Greenberg, Van Pelt is a “SportsCenter” guy that also does radio. Unlike Greenberg, Van Pelt doesn’t have his own show yet. I thought there was a good chance he would take over in the spot vacated when Dan Patrick left ESPN Radio, but instead the time slot went to Mike Tirico, and Van Pelt went on as his sidekick. It’s too bad, because I personally think Van Pelt is better on that show than Tirico is.
Honorable mentions: Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser (“Pardon the Interruption”).