David Elfin On Sports: Network Swings And Misses With Opening Day Top 10
ESPN tries to be all sports to all fans, but sometimes the media conglomerate swings and misses like Adam Dunn. In other words, in a big way.
Yesterday, I almost fell off the treadmill at the health club while watching the rundown of ESPN’s Top 10 Opening Day Moments. Not because Jackie Robinson’s landmark debut in 1947 and Frank Robinson’s memorable start as baseball’s first black manager were 1-2 as they should be. Nor was it because Bob Feller’s no-hitter wasn’t No. 3.
No, it was because the Bristol Behemoth included two walkoff homers: one by the Twins’ Shannon Stewart in 2004 and another that day by the Royals’ Carlos Beltran. Or more specifically, ESPN somehow left out Ryan Zimmerman’s walkoff homer that opened Nationals Park on March 30, 2008, a game that I believe it televised, for crying out loud.
I still remember watching that moment in my aunt’s condo in Palm Beach where I was covering the NFL spring meetings for The Washington Times in that heady period when Jim Zorn was the quirky but promising new coach of a Redskins teams coming off two playoff appearances in three seasons. Zim’s blast is the second-greatest moment of the Nats’ first six seasons, topped only by the pitch thrown by Livan Hernandez that officially brought baseball back to the nation’s capital on Opening Day 2005 after a shameful 33-year absence.
It’s not even a contest between Zimmerman’s homer and those of Stewart and Beltran which are probably not even among the top Opening Day moments in the history of their franchises. However, somehow ESPN ignored the Nats, just as Major League Baseball ignored Washington for more than three decades despite the size of our market, our status as the capital and our long history in America’s pastime.
In the photo above: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals gets congratulated by teammates after hitting the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves on opening day March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. The Nationals won 3-2.
David Elfin has covered sports since he was a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1975. He is the Washington representative on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and is the former President of the Pro Football Writers of America. A pre-game regular on 106.7-The Fan during the 2010 Redskins season, he returned to the station as its blogger in March.