Lost in all of ESPN’s hyping of the NBA and replaying the Jim Joyce call this past week was the deserved coverage of Ken Griffey Jr. retiring. ESPN wanted to constantly talk about Bird v. Magic and Havlicek v. West. Or, it wanted to comment on whether Bud Selig should step in and give a perfect game to a guy that didn’t get the credit for one because of an error.
Yes, those are big stories. But tell me how Griffey retiring didn’t warrant major coverage until two days after the fact. As Jimmy from South Park would say, “Come on!”
When I was in college, our Mass Communications Theory class spoke about agenda setting. The theory says the media (mainly the news media) aren’t always successful at telling us what to think, but they are quite successful at telling us what to think about. So, if ESPN is giving us a steady diet of Jim Joyce, we’ll go to work and discuss Jim Joyce.
The NHL hasn’t been on the radar for ESPN over the last half-dozen years. Why? ESPN doesn’t broadcast the games. It’s a chicken-or-the-egg quandary: is hockey up in ratings because ESPN is talking about it or is ESPN talking hockey because the ratings are up?
I give the four-letter network a bit of credit with its increased focus on hockey this playoff season. But, this may be one time that ESPN is NOT setting the agenda for sports fans. Folks, that’s a good thing. Let’s all like what we want to like.
Here’s a note for you: since the Admirals joined the AHL in 2001-02, 16 teams have come and gone. Those teams are: Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, Cleveland Barons, Edmonton Roadrunners, Iowa Chops, Iowa Stars, Lowell Devils, Lowell Lock Monsters, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, Philadelphia Phantoms, Quad City Flames, Quebec Citadelles, Saint John Flames, St. John’s Maple Leafs, Toronto Roadrunners, Utah Grizzlies and Worcester IceCats. About 1/3 of the teams in the AHL have had just one NHL parent club over the past ten seasons, including, of course, the Admirals.
Michael Russo of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis is probably the best beat reporter for a NHL team. He has an interesting note on the Houston Aeros search for a coach to replace Kevin Constantine.
Some of you may have heard that my duties are changing a bit in the office. I’ll focus more on broadcasts and will also help the Admirals increase their presence in Southeastern Wisconsin by actively pursing speaking engagements for local community groups and schools and assisting the team with donation solicitations and follow-ups. For those interested in booking me to speak at your event, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (414) 227-0564. You can also follow me on Twitter @aaronadmirals or be a Facebook friend.
I’m going to try out a new closing line in my blog. Let me know what you think. I sort of adopted this from former big league pitcher Bill Lee. When signing an autograph, Lee would write his name and then write a planet. I have an autograph that says “Bill Lee – Earth”. I’m sure some have Neptune, Saturn, etc. (I wonder if Pluto is worth anything?!?!?). Well, I figured I’d link you to a player that you should know more about. This week, I leave you with a Hockey Hall-of-Famer that played in Milwaukee 60 years ago: Bert Olmstead