Heath Bell Does Not Care For Your Coverage, ESPN

April 14, 2009 – 12:55 am by Ryan Phillips

While you might think I’d use this space to inform you that Jody Gerut’s leadoff homerun at Citi Field last night was the first time a ballpark has been greeted with a homerun in the opening at bat, or to blab along about the San Diego Padres being 6-2 right now, I’ll spare you that. Instead I’m going to let you know just how great it is to have a microphone on when Heath Bell is in the room. Remember, this is the same guy who told a reporter his kids’ Wii Fit told him he was obese, so he lost 25 pounds using it.

Yesterday, Bell was in rare form, going off about ESPN’s bias towards teams in certain media markets, while ignoring others (specifically the Padres).

“I saw John Kruk on “Baseball Tonight” and he said, ‘They’re playing really well, but I don’t believe in them,'” Bell said before Monday’s game. “And I saw ESPN’s promo for tonight’s game. They mention the Mets are opening Citi Field, they mentioned the starting time, but nowhere did they mention the Padres. That gave me the (expletive).”

Bell was just getting warmed up in his pregame commentary.

“I truly believe ESPN only cares about promoting the Red Sox and Yankees and Mets – and nobody else,” said the closer, a former Met. “That’s why I like the MLB Network, because they promote everybody. I’m really turned off by ESPN and ‘Baseball Tonight.’ When Jake Peavy threw 8 1/3 innings on Saturday, they showed one pitch in the third inning and that was it. It’s all about the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.”

Can I just come right out and say that I now officially love Heath Bell. I liked the guy before, he’s pretty funny and has always been a great set-up guy, but this just seals the deal.

He’s not saying anything crazy, just exactly what we’ve all been thinking for a long time. The fact that a player finally said it, is awesome. He’s basically saying that ‘Baseball Tonight’ sucks (which is does) because they show tons of Yankees/Mets/Red Sox highlights and spend very little time on the rest of the league. Though he doesn’t mention it, I’m sure the fact that they have 10 analysts cover the exact same topic over and over again gets on his nerves as well.

So bravo Heath Bell, you keep being ESPN’s Unwanted Ombudsman. And keep enjoying the MLB Network, since you’re the only one and all.

*Photo from Getty Images

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  1. 75 Responses to “Heath Bell Does Not Care For Your Coverage, ESPN”

  2. I’m trying to fill in the expletive, but I am having the damndest time.

    By Hick Flick on Apr 14, 2009

  3. First there was the Ewing Theory possibilities w/out Hoffman. Now there’s the “no one believes in us” from Bell? This Padres team could turn into a karmic juggernaut…until May 1.

    By McD on Apr 14, 2009

  4. could the expletive be shaft? I don’t think that would be bleeped out, but it makes the most sense in there.

    By Pablo on Apr 14, 2009

  5. Don’t forget to put the Cubs with the Mets/Yankees/Red Sox.

    By PDiddy on Apr 14, 2009

  6. I think it gave him the “sniffles”. Poor guy.

    By Dr. JwB on Apr 14, 2009

  7. I caught the last inning of the game and the “post game analysis” by the Sideline Princess. Instead of asking David Wrignt and David Eckstein about things like, THE FUCKING GAME, she kept asking inane questions about what they thought of the stadium. Both interviews had a “boo hoo for the Mets” quality. That being said, she is still nice to look at. Oh yeah, fuck ESPN.

    By Booter on Apr 14, 2009

  8. I don’t really care about the Padres one way or the other, but I’m now a Heath Bell fan.

    By MushroomCloudMoFo on Apr 14, 2009

  9. Maybe it gave him the shits.

    By Hillcow on Apr 14, 2009

  10. i am a red sox fan, but could not agree more. he is right on the money.

    By Mike Wichter on Apr 14, 2009

  11. This is coming from an unabashed Mets fan…this post is right on…except for that “always been a great set-up guy” part. granted, he’s a whole new man on the Pads, but I’d hesitate to use “great” and Heath Bell in the same sentence.

    /recalling with mild disgust the seasons tagged 2005 and 2006

    By Cecilio's Scribe on Apr 14, 2009

  12. As a Cubs fan I have to disagree with your comment Diddy…the only reason the Cubs might get more attention is because they have a built-in backstory that the lazy media types can easily plug into their story along with a few current facts. 101 years, lovable losers, Billy Goat, ’69, ’84, Bartman. Add in a few newer player names or recent season records/outcomes and you’ve got a really easy story for lazy journalists to write or present on Sportscenter. WHen it comes to actual game highlights I don’t think the Cubs get much better than anyone else, except for New York and Boston

    By Mike on Apr 14, 2009

  13. Kudos to Taco! These talking heads deem themselves experts while continuing to talk out their a**es. Steve Philips ran his piehole non stop about the Mets while the Padres were kicking their butts, idiot. At least the Bulldog threw some compliments out. One glaring omision of insight…the Padres might have felt more comfortable in Citi Park than the Mets from playing at Petco

    By Bill on Apr 14, 2009

  14. Yeah…I want more coverage of crappy teams that have no chance of making it!!

    By Joe Blow on Apr 14, 2009

  15. why would anyone want to see highlights of the padres anyway? the ‘E’ in ESPN stands for entertainment and last time i checked the there were about 29 other teams more entertaining then the padres

    By Loser padre fan on Apr 14, 2009

  16. I’m pretty sure he used to rollerblade to spring training when he was with the Mets to lose weight. He’s pretty awesome.

    By D on Apr 14, 2009

  17. I have had more fun hearing about Heath Bell’s soundbites in the last week than I can. This one, however, is the best. Thanks, Heath, for saying what we’ve all been saying for years.

    Oh, and GO HEATH!

    By ecpglp on Apr 14, 2009

  18. yea since look at the sox and the yankees records right now they do not deserve to be covered when they are overpaid and still sucking

    By Joe blow your mom on Apr 14, 2009

  19. i’m a Mets fan, and I agree with him.

    By mikemc on Apr 14, 2009

  20. I’ve loved Heath Bell since I first saw him pitch for the Padres. I’m an effing Maven.

    And I like the MLB Network. So there’s 2.

    By Red on Apr 14, 2009

  21. He forgot to tell you how much ESPN hates the New Engand Patriots

    By Robet J. on Apr 14, 2009

  22. I am a red Sox fan I agree 1000%, I haven’t watched ESPN for 3 years, they are horrid, when I am forced to watch the Sunday Night game I do it with the sound off so I don’t have to listen to Morgan’s insane commentary same with Fox for that matter.

    ESPN jumped the shark about 6 years ago……

    By steve on Apr 14, 2009

  23. To the Cubs fan, why don’t the Cardinals get more attention. The only time the national media gives them alot of attention is against the Cubs. I agree that the Cubs have a good history, but I am pretty sure that the Cards have a good history. Being around since the late 1800s, playing in the same city since their founding, 10 World Series titles, I guess that isn’t a lot of history compared to the Mets who’ve been around for about 50 years now according to ESPN’s coverage.

    By Patrick on Apr 14, 2009

  24. I am a Dodger fan and I can’t stand the Padres but I agree, ESPN in the last 5-6 years has been sucking. Thank goodness for the NFL Network and MLB Network.

    According to ESPN, only three teams play in the NFL: Cowboys, Giants, and Patriots. Only five guys play in the NFL: the Manning brothers, Tony Romo, Tom Brady, and Brett Favre. If anyone else gets any coverage, it’s because they shot themselves or committed another crime.

    In MLB, I agree, ESPN must think only four teams play baseball: Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Mets. If it wasn’t for Manny, I would never hear about the Dodgers at all. I don’t even bother watching SportsCenter like I used to. Why bother? Baseball Tonight is getting on the stupid level now, I agree. I never thought a show with Peter Gammons would suck but I was wrong.

    By Chris on Apr 14, 2009

  25. no one outside of san diego cares about the padres. the yankees, red sox, mets, and cubs are always interesting and people either love or hate them. television companies want ratings, they don’t care about being fair.

    By jake on Apr 14, 2009

  26. Yeah, but baseball fans care about baseball, no matter the market. Of course ESPN is after a broader market…they need the casual sports fan not the die-hard baseball fan. But to me, it doesn’t matter if a good team is in San Diego, NY, Detroit, or Houston.

    Chris, you left off TO.

    Maybe the “expletive” is “asshole.” “That gave me the asshole.” Reminds me of Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels when Hatchet Harry is complaining that some behavior is “giving me the asshole. And I can’t have someone giving me the asshole, can I?”

    By alan on Apr 14, 2009

  27. The expletive is “redass” It gave him the redass.

    By scott on Apr 14, 2009

  28. Heath Bell is my new hero!!!!! At the Cubs to the list of the only teams that Fox/Espn care about and we’re perfect. How many meaningful games other than the Bucky Dent game did the R-Sox and Yankees play before the wildcard era? It’s REALLY a historic rivaly when one team has won 25 WS and the other zero.

    By Dave on Apr 14, 2009

  29. yeah i totally agree with how ESPN has gone downhill. I’m a Phillies fan and even last season when we won the series the entire focus for most of the season and even in the playoffs was focused on the Mets in our division and then in Boston in the Playoffs. The only wime we had decent media coverage was when we played the Dodgers but that was only because of Manny and when we were finally in the Series.

    By Matt on Apr 14, 2009

  30. As a Cubs fan, I’m worried about them entering Red Sox/Yankees/Mets overexposure territory. They’re getting their 2nd ESPN game on Sunday, I know I’d be sick of them if I didn’t live in Chi.

    MLB Network all day!!!

    By Joe on Apr 14, 2009

  31. espn & baseball tonight suck everytime gammons or kurjin are on they always mention something about the yanks-redsox-mets-cubs or one of their players or former players. gammons is the worst homer around he always has something to say about boston.

    By manny on Apr 14, 2009

  32. Count me as the 3rd person who likes MLB Network, although I think that number is higher. With the creation of MLB Network I have no need to get my highlights from ESPN. ESPN Sucks!!!

    By Steve on Apr 14, 2009

  33. Heath Bell ended up on my roto team, and I was a bit leary. Now he’s my hero, and it has nothing to do with his stats. I’ve been saying the same thing about ESPN for years. Ever since Disney bought the ABC family of networks, it’s been all about hype and arrogance instead of good coverage of sports. And if you saw the Rays/Red Sox game last Wednesday, I was sick at how Rick Sutcliffe kept going on and on and on about one pitch that was called incorrectly. He made it sound like that bad call brought the downfall of Western civilization (or at least the downfall of the Sox). Message to Rick: If you have to begin your sentence with, “I’m not pulling for either side, but …”, you probably are pulling for one of the sides.

    As a Rays fan since Day 1 (no .. really), I know they didn’t deserve the time of day from ESPN for those first 10 years. But I’m 100 percent down with what Bell said. I was really excited about SI’s commentary about MLB Network’s opening (they covered the breaking steriods news on their launch day with great balance and accuracy instead of just being shills for MLB — well done!) and this just cements it for me. I get mlb.tv so I can watch my Rays games, but next year I might get digital cable so I can watch the MLB Network. Woot!

    By Amanda on Apr 14, 2009

  34. John Kruk gives us all the shits, pal.

    By Sooze on Apr 14, 2009

  35. E verything
    S ox &
    P instripes
    N etwork

    and yes i’m a sox fan and couldnt agree more

    By dave on Apr 14, 2009

  36. I think it gave him the RUNS. I’m a Padres fan and didnt expect us to do so well after our first week, especially after pre-season and our band of no-names. They are scrappy though. But I’m guardedly excited as we started like this last year too. ESPN does blow. They think they’re a sitcom or a springboard to their own shows for the anchors. They think they’re the MTV of sports. They have enough sh*t instead of sports on it now anyway.

    By S.D. Native on Apr 14, 2009

  37. +1 to Alan for the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels reference.

    By McD on Apr 14, 2009

  38. It’s because the rest of the teams are boring and really don’t matter. And don’t blame it on the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets…they also cover the other teams that are good. Look at all the Rays coverage over the last year. Nobody cares about the Padres because they are trying to water down the team. Nobody cares about the Nationals or the Reds or the Mariners…so why should ESPN waste time covering them.

    By steve on Apr 14, 2009

  39. Even though it is the off-season, ESPN will also break away from any non-yankees/sox/mets game to give you life twitter updates of Tim Tebow.

    By Klein on Apr 14, 2009

  40. The expletive is “ass,” as in, “The coverage on ESPN gave me a case of the ass.” Just a different way of saying it pissed him off.

    By 619fan on Apr 14, 2009

  41. I think he said it gave him the shits … which is pretty hilarious.

    By Sam on Apr 14, 2009

  42. I think he meant “That gave me the Red Sox.”…. cuz he was bleeding from his ass down to his ankles.

    By Castro on Apr 14, 2009

  43. The reason ESPN loves the Sox, Yanks and Mets is because Bristol is equal distance from Boston and New York…

    By James on Apr 14, 2009

  44. The reason ESPN caters to the aforementioned teams is the same reason the majority of the Fox games. They draw RATINGS!! As a national story, the Yankees/RedSox/Mets will draw far more interest than Padres/Dodgers/or just about any other team. Why do you think Yanks/RedSox/Mets/Cubs draw the most fans….on the road? More national interest. ESPN is fine, MLB Network needs to do faster scroll updates, takes way too long

    By mediaboy on Apr 14, 2009

  45. ESPN also fancies themselves a news network. Baseball news doesn’t only exist in boston and new york. Unfortunately, it basically takes (non-Boston/New York) people dying or hitting for cycles to get on Baseball Tonight.

    Also, the only reason those 4 teams draw bigger crowds on the road is because they overspend to get superstar baseball players. The very concept of superstars is completely against the baseball ethos… it’s just a matter of time before fans realize that these players are only superstars because of all the steroids they take, and the sooner we disregard individualism, the sooner players will have one less reason to take drugs.

    By Castro on Apr 14, 2009

  46. winner winner chicken dinner. It gave him the red-ass.

    By Matt on Apr 14, 2009

  47. Can Mets fans really begrudge anyone that sucked while in their bullpen? Because that would be, like, everyone who was ever in their bullpen.

    By Hick Flick on Apr 14, 2009

  48. The reason the Yankees, Mets, Redsox and Cubs get more national coverage is because the have much larger fan bases across the country. Most other teams fans are localized but with a team like the RedSox they draw more fans because they have more.

    By Leo on Apr 14, 2009

  49. Cecilo,
    I meant that he’d been a great set up guy for the Padres. His pre-Padres career was forgettable at best.

    By Phillips on Apr 14, 2009

  50. ESPN should just reference it as MMLB – Major Market League Baseball – because they don’t cover anyone else.

    By EJButler on Apr 14, 2009

  51. Do you guys even read all the comments, or just regurgitate the first comment you agree with? Even if those teams have a larger fan base (for the sole reason of being in much larger urban areas than most other places in the country), these teams spend ludicrous amounts of money to bring in superstars. This doesn’t make these teams any more newsworthy, mind you. That’s like saying movies with only big-name actors should be seen, even if the movie is crap. Granted, big-name actors usually bring in more money, but that doesn’t make the movie better.

    Baseball fans shouldn’t care about names, they should care about quality. Unfortunately for the boston/new yorks/cubs, their fans do not care about quality. Blame it on the yankees for starting this trend, if you want. Just don’t go acting like your team is better just because you have more starry-eyed fans. Don’t you see how this is a downward spiral of baseball? If the sports channels mostly cover only those four teams, then most of america will only be familiar with players from those teams. In which case, why even have all the other teams? Just have 4. Yeah… that sounds like a great idea.

    By Castro on Apr 14, 2009

  52. Sorry felleas but you cannot include the Cubs in the ESPN ass-kissing Club. Perhaps very junior members of the last 2-3 years but I have lived outside the market for 15 years and every year my wife has to hear me bitch and moan about how there is next to no highlights or national games to watch.. Last year and this year will be a bit better, but it still pales in comparison to the sawks and yanks.

    That being said, most companies exist to cater to the larger markets. If they didn’t they would go under. Sorry gang nobody is watching a Padres Pirates game in April, May June July August or September for that matter. No need to even mention October.

    By outsidechicagocubbie on Apr 14, 2009

  53. EJButler…it doesn’t matter, don’t you get it? You say yourself a crappy movie with big names makes more money. Did you think ESPN was in it for the quality of play? You have tyo understand they cater to those that pay the bills. not the best baseball. unfair, agreed but stop lying to yourself thinking that ESPN is some sort of innocent presence on the national scene. They exist to make money. i exist to make love, but that is beside the point.

    By outsidechicagocubbie on Apr 14, 2009

  54. I have to guess that the bleeped expletive was “…douche chills”.

    By PS49PS on Apr 14, 2009

  55. Count me as a Heath Bell fan. He nailed it, and I hate ESPN with a passion. Not only are their analysts complete fools, they are misguided enough to suggest changes to sports.

    I’ve watched whole games against one of their pet teams, and if you didn’t already know who the opponent was you sure wouldn’t find out during their coverage. If the Yankees/Red Sox/et al weren’t at bat, they wouldn’t show them. Oh, and let’s not forget the baseball classic last year, when they were so worried about the Red Sox leaving for Japan they forgot to show the game.

    ESPN sucks. If I could drop them from my cable, I would.

    By da shoes on Apr 14, 2009

  56. Maybe Baseball Tonight can hold one of their fake-ass news conferences to address Mr. Bell’s criticisms.

    By Erin Andrews Cult of Personality on Apr 14, 2009

  57. I’m a Heath Bell fan now. I’m a Card fan and I cheer on any team playing the Yanks, Mets, Red Sox and of course the cubbies. I’m now with the Padres and Mr. Bell.

    By TimB on Apr 14, 2009

  58. WAHHHHHH!!! Heath talk to us in September when the Padres are where they belong in there rightful place “CELLAR DWELLARs” enjoy your 2 weeks of 1st place in the NL West…

    By BigMarc67 on Apr 14, 2009

  59. The clap. “That gave me the clap”

    By Brian on Apr 14, 2009

  60. I agree but only to a point. ESPN also televises basketball and Cleveland is on every other game because of LeBron. The Knicks, justifiably, have not been on all year. They make a guess as to who is good and who people want to see and they have decided it is not the San Diego Padres

    By jam on Apr 14, 2009


    By cbizkit on Apr 14, 2009

  62. Hooray for Heath Bell. No offense, but I really like MLB TV so far — and continue to dislike ESPN immensely.

    By phil on Apr 14, 2009

  63. The poll right now on ESPN is which team’s good start is most surprising. The Padres are not included.

    By brett Campfield on Apr 14, 2009

  64. Hmmm…I think there’s more than one person enjoying the MLB Network, especially since they have better talking heads and they do a great job of popping in and out of live games to deliver information.

    And since they do just about everything in HD *cough* NFL Network *cough*, it’s great to watch on my HDTV. :)

    By Matt on Apr 15, 2009

  65. I was a Yankees fan growing up in the 50’s in So. Cal. mainly because of the “Mick”. But, as anyone from the “boomer” generation will tell you, baseball, football, and basketball are no longer sports, only business. Whatever sells to the top markets is what is shown. That usually means N.Y. and Bos. What is even more of a sin is East Coast bias even in college. Classic example is Marshall Faulk losing the Heisman to Gino “Who?” Toretta in ’92. He wasn’t even the best player on his team, but Faulk was from San Diego State. Need I say more? So as long as pro sports is all about the best team you can BUY in the largest market, things will stay as they are.

    By Randy Pogue on Apr 15, 2009

  66. They gave me “The high hard one” or the “Big FU”

    By Jazz on Apr 16, 2009

  67. I’m more annoyed at the sports “fans” who eat this crap up. ESPN is playing to its audience of retarded imbeciles who like to paint themselves as sports fans without actually knowing anything about sports. Sox-Yanks is sexy; Padres-Royals is not. If a Cinderella rises – and stays risen past a minute sample size – they’ll eventually get a maudlin Tim Kurkjian voiceover with a staid, somber string arrangement in the background. Because their audience of retards will look around and say, “Wait, there’s a team in San Diego?” And ESPN have to patiently explain what a “Padre” is, and that “Heath Bell” is not actually a desert.

    By AntBoy on Apr 20, 2009

  68. This is kinda how ESPN has an almost creepy obsession with Tim Tebow. By the way, ESPN has been putting down the Mets a lot lately. I’m a huge Mets fan and I agree. They talk about the Mets in a pessimistic way.

    Also, the expletive is “shit sliders.”

    By Phillyeagles on Apr 28, 2009

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