East coast bias alive and well

Nearly every major media outlet in the United States is located in or very close to New York City. Because of that fact, sports fans from all over the country are forced to put up with the dreaded east coast bias almost on a daily basis. If I never hear another thing about another New York sports team, it will still be too soon. Oh, and by the way Sports Illustrated, I'm not renewing.

It's a term that has been said so much that it's almost getting ridiculous, but, I'll say it again: "East coast bias".

Yes, it exists and yes, it's really pathetic. One major media market basically controls the national conscience of sports. How else can you explain the fact that I know more about Ted Lilly, the New York Yankees' fifth starter, than I do the entire World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks team from 100 miles up the road?

I actually found myself worrying the other night about whether or not the Knicks would wind up with the first or second pick in this June's NBA draft. And I HATE the Knicks! But what bothers me even more is the fact that I know that the Knicks are actually going to get one of the top two picks when teams that really need them won't.

The Warriors, Bulls, Grizzlies and Nuggets are pretty much out of luck when it comes to the Yao Ming/Jay Williams sweepstakes. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Knicks conveniently found themselves a loophole and wound up with both of the draft's top two prospects.

The nation's largest newspaper is the New York Times, which would be okay if it weren't for the fact that Sports Illustrated, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, CBS, NBC and ABC were all located in the Big Apple also. ESPN, which has four channels, a website, a radio station and its own major magazine, is headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut, less than an hour from Manhattan. You can't beat the coverage if your favorite team is on or near Long Island.

But if you pull for anyone West of, say, Philadelphia, it's enough to drive you mad and make you quite bitter at the blatant bias.

Here are some more reasons to boycott the eastern media.

*The Knicks had their worst season in more than a decade this season and ESPN still decided to run their horrific "highlights" within the first ten minutes of SportsCenter every night.

*Other than the Yankees, no other New York area team has won anything in nearly a decade. But that doesn't mean that the media can't write 300 articles per week about the possibility of the Mets, Jets, Knicks, Yankees, Rangers, Islanders, Syracuse, St. John's or Giants winning a title, and soon!

But somewhere in between all the madness of "Yesteryear" and "One Day", the Los Angeles Lakers won two straight NBA titles, the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the unbeatable Yankees to win the World Series and the Colorado Avalanche won yet another Stanley Cup. ESPN.com has a special section for that kind of news: it's called "Page 2".

*John Chaney, owner of exactly ZERO Final Four appearances, much less a national title, is in the basketball Hall of Fame while Lute Olson isn't. Hmm, let's see, Olson has more wins, a better winning percentage, more conference championships, FIVE Final Fours and a National Championship. Chaney has…uh, character. Or maybe it's that he's colorful with the media, eccentric even. Leave it to the east coast media to vote him in over Olson and then not have to explain the reasoning.

*ESPN actually allows Dick Vitale to continue as a college basketball analyst even when well known coaches from all over the country refer to him as "Dukie V." because of his bias towards the Blue Devils. Granted, Duke is very, very good, but do we need to listen to someone continuously sing the praises of the program over and over and over again, even when the game he's doing involves Minnesota and Texas Tech? Furthermore, think that would happen if Tom Tolbert started hyping Stanford or UCLA every chance he got?

*I know all about every New York, Boston and Washington D.C. team except for one. The New Jersey Nets. For a team that is perhaps the best of them all in NYC, I find it strange that the Nets don't get the run to match that of even the hapless Knicks. But then I realized why that is. Too many players on their roster are from the Pac-10 and West coast area. Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, Todd MacCulloch, Brian Scalabrine and Jason Collins all represent the Pac-10, while Brandon Armstrong is from Pepperdine and Keith Van Horn is from Utah.

*New York-based CBS was probably the deciding factor in choosing Nebraska to play Miami in the national championship game this past January instead of Oregon. The Ducks were 10-1, champions of a loaded Pac-10 conference and ranked No. 5 in the polls. Nebraska, on the other hand, not only didn't win the Big XII conference title, it didn't even win its own division. Shortly before the BCS committee decided on Miami's opponent, Nebraska lost to rival Colorado by close to 40 points to end its regular season. The BCS (which, conveniently converts to CBS with just a switch of the first two letters) still picked the Cornhuskers.

A month later, Oregon beat the same Colorado team by nearly six touchdowns in the Fiesta Bowl while Miami smashed Nebraska by roughly the same margin for the national title. The consensus around the nation (led by the eastern media, of course) was pretty much: "Hmm, guess Oregon should have been in that game instead of Nebraska…anyway, did you see Sprewell last night?"

*Two years ago, ESPN, USA Today, CBS Sportsline and Sports Illustrated all made a huge fuss over the greatness of New York City high school point guards Omar Cook, Taliek Brown and Andre Barrett going into the college basketball season. That year, only Cook's St. John's team (all three played in the Big Least Conference) made it to the NCAA Tournament. And, as it turns out, exactly none of them are anywhere near NBA-level talents.

Funny, but I don't recall any stories in those publications or on those channels about the legacy of outstanding Pac-10 point guards like Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Damon Stoudamire, Brevin Knight, Mike Bibby, Baron Davis, Jason Terry, Jason Gardner or Luke Ridnour.

Like I said, it's enough to drive you mad.

Wouldn't it be great to see the Kings/Lakers, D'Backs/Giants/Mariners and the Arizona basketball program all win World or National Championships this coming year?

Sure, it might be back page news in New York, but at least it will be enough to shut them up for a minute or two. Except for Vitale, that is. Shutting him up is impossible.

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