As Kentucky turned on the jets to take commanding first half lead over Monmouth, ESPN’s commentators were hardly paying attention. Instead of calling the game, they were talking to the New York Yankees’ new manager, Aaron Boone.
And that was just two minutes of their talk with Boone. This went on for an entire segment between the eight and four-minute TV timeouts.
It became excruciatingly painful down the stretch. While they waited for a dead ball, Boone was asked about every question imaginable until they reached, “How are you spending the holidays?” The segment concluded with the former ESPN color analyst giving an uncomfortable, albeit emphatic description of a deep Quade Green three.
The gimmicks didn’t end there.
When the game really got out of hand, ESPN producers sent the sideline reporter outside to report in the snow. With thousands of Santas walking the snowy Manhattan streets for Santa-Con, it’s not a bad idea to get a look of the surreal scene. We got a look, but that’s it. She didn’t even talk to the Santas. Instead, the guys at the tables busted her chops.
The ESPN producer had the right idea, but not the talent to properly execute it. If Aaron Boone is in the audience and the Yankees just made a blockbuster trade, you gotta ask him about it. It all fell apart when Kentucky went on an 11-0 run and they remained focused on Boone. They didn’t interrupt Boone during big plays, they just mentioned the game-defining run after the fact.
It was a blowout, but the Kentucky audience doesn’t care about the Yankees. All we care about is basketball and the four-letter network failed to deliver.