Thursday evening ESPN aired one of the most enjoyable specials in the network's 30+ year history – a countdown of the 50 best This is SportsCenter commercials ever. Those ads are legendary, one of the pillars of ESPN. They are the perfect example of everything hopeful and charming about the little cable sports network that could in Bristol.
Watching the Top 50 countdown was terrific, reliving plenty of laughs and fond memories. Reminiscing about the days of Rich Eisen and Jack Edwards and Dan Patrick and holy crap Kenny Mayne is still at ESPN!?! It was 59 minutes of great television and then a letdown that felt like the sports equivalent of Geraldo Rivera opening Al Capone's vault.
Some random spot with Robinson Cano doing handshakes was given the illustrious title of greatest SportsCenter of all-time.
What is that?!?! Ahead of John Clayton and Slayer? Ahead of the kid? Kenny Maynski? Ahead of several brilliant ads involving former anchor Charley Steiner. Heck, you could do a Top 10 of Steiner commercials and they're all better than whatever this handshake thing was. Many of you have never even seen the commercial before or knew it existed.
The problem in all of this is obvious. ESPN turned the vote over to a Facebook campaign with Burger King. That's why some random Robinson Cano ad was first and the Top 10 was littered with the Red Sox, Yankees, and Tiger Woods. This is also why all the All Star Games are broken.
This is how we have a perfectly good hour of television completely ruined by the biggest anticlimax in the history of western civilization.
Once again, it's just another example that democracy just doesn't work.