Little League World Series on ESPN? not for me folks

There are great weeks on the sports calendar, and then there is this week.

No folks, this is not a rant about high school sports starting way too early (August 13 seems a little harsh, no?). I am angry this morning because on Thursday, the annual proliferation of pre-teens known as the Little League World Series unfolds before our eyes on the networks of ESPN.

For those of you paying attention at home, the gross exploitation of children is already well under way, what with the regionals and the softball version and every other junk-TV event that the “total sports network” chooses to unveil these days. ESPN simply has pounced on these kids, invading their space and taking over their lives.

You know, at least the folks who sign up for their own potential humiliation on the World Series of Poker get compensated for their troubles. They are adults. They make money at it.

But these are children, ages 11-13, and they are having their hearts ripped out on national television.

Can you just hear he ESPN producers in the truck?

“Oh, look at little Jimmy. He just let the ball go through his legs to lose a game and get his Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, team eliminated. Make sure we pan in tight and get a good shot of those tears.

“What, the mom is crying too? Crowd shot, crowd shot, crowd shot!”

It’s gross.

Remember when ESPN did work and actually investigated issues in sports, instead of being a co-sponsor/co-conspirator?

Wouldn’t you love the network to go out and actually do a little reporting, maybe on the ugliness in some parent section, instead of noting how all the kids collect and trade pins for fun and enjoyment?

How about looking into past heroes and where they are now? Focus on the major success stories, like a Chris Drury, who won the 1989 title for Trumbull, Conn., and then went on to be successful in hockey at BU and the NHL.

But don’t be afraid to delve into the lives of say New York’s Danny Almonte or Kirkland, Washington’s Cody Webster (yes, ESPN did a Webster documentary in 2010, but those stories are few and far between).

As for the event, I’m all for it. Williamsport is supposed to be a dandy take. And you know, professionally, I have been to the regionals a handful of times in Connecticut, and that is pretty solid, untainted, old-fashion fun.

But when the TV lights turn on, I turn off. There has to be something better, something that doesn’t take advantage of kids for dollars.

Please Jim, no Tiger

There is no truth to rumor that I have opened a “gofundme” page to collect money for a bribe to United States Ryder Cup golf captain Jim Furyk.

But Jim, I’m serious, I will do most anything under my control to keep Tiger Woods off the US team this fall in France. Furyk makes his captain’s picks to fill out the US roster that will meet Europe’s best in September. Please Jim, look elsewhere.

Of course, this is never going to happen. Tiger equals ratings, and that means money for the USGA and TV and everyone else.

I hope you all feel dirty, though, supporting this guy, this alleged philanderer, this pathetic sell-out of a role model.

Character counts, Tiger. I think we’ve seen it as your amazing talents have vaulted you back into contention in the last two majors. He led the British Open in the final nine holes and was just one shot off the lead at the recent PGA, only to have his inner flaws take over. At least that’s how I read it.

Just remember Tiger, second place is the first loser.

Hector Longo can be reached at 594-1253,, or on Twitter @mvcreature