Pundit Tree: You Have to Get On "Get Up" and Is Barstool Really That Interesting?


Get Up survived early growing pains and has emerged as one of ESPN‘s most important shows. Everyone involved is owed a hat tip. There’s many reasons for this: A restructure of the co-hosts. Bringing in Pete McConville as coordinating producer under vice president of network content Dave Roberts. Other reasons include: Mike Greenberg‘s unique ability to facilitate, an environment that doesn’t feel suffocating or contrived so early in the morning, and perhaps most importantly, a willingness to play a deep bench of talent, then stick with the hot hand when it’s producing.

Get Up is currently the best wagon on which to hitch one’s wagon for better things at the network. Laura Rutledge and Maria Taylor rode the wave. Perhaps more interesting, from the outside, is that the show is the best indicator we have for who the suits like and are grooming for bigger things.

An example of this is Jay Williams, who has been a key part of college basketball coverage but has used his morning spots to become more of an NBA whisperer, giving player perspective on the ubiquitous rumors and rumblings. Dan Orlovsky and Richard Jefferson have also been given plenty of run and are attractive stocks for the future.

A name to keep an eye on using this unscientific method? Bobby Carpenter, who seemingly emerged from out of nowhere to be a repeat featured player.

Get Up has become the storefront window for ESPN, showcasing the best elements of the other shows: debate, outsized personalities, expert opinion, and news-breaking. It’s also become the storefront window for talent on the rise.

Owning the Conversation

No one is benefitting more from the rather innocuous discussion the NBA is having over the term “owners” than Clay Travis, who has repeatedly mined it for content. The other day he pointed out that Draymond Green, who has called upon the league to do away with the “offensive” term, has “owner” in his Twitter bio.

It was, admittedly, a good find. But there’s also a difference between a business where the product is product and a business where the product is people.

Say what you want about Travis. He understands how to produce talking points that will resonate with his audience. This is a skill.  I find myself in his camp in believing that replacing owners with “governors” seems like an unnecessary step and an example of political correctness run amok.

Yet, there’s a key consideration to take into account.

Me, the white guy, is not the one offended. My job, upon forming my own opinion, is to listen to those who feel directly offended and uncomfortable by the situation, then consider what would be lost if the term “owner” went by the wayside in the NBA’s internal governance.

To that end, I cannot understand being so passionate about the topic. How would the league changing the term have a negative impact on me? It wouldn’t.

I suppose it’s possible to feel so strongly about this issue while on Travis’ side. It just seems more likely if having that opinion is better for business and there’s an incentive, it’s an end to the means.

HBO Sports‘ story on Barstool Sports didn’t offer a ton of new information, yet did succeed in making the company feel like it went too far and anti-Stoolies complain that it didn’t go far enough.

It’s the latest in a long line of thinkpieces exploring Barstool and trying to understand what it is, what it does, and what it all means. Recent success has made them a major player in the space and they don’t play by the same rules; in fact, they take great relish in eschewing them.

I’ll be honest. It’s tough to know if it’s worth covering them like The Big Lead would cover ESPN or Fox Sports. The major reason to do so would be the ensuing traffic. The ancillary reason, ostensibly would be to shine light on actions the public doesn’t know about — or, more accurately, largely doesn’t mind.

The other, more cynical reason to do so would be the hope that it would lead to a kayfabe or real beef which could be turned into more content and visibility. It feels as though that cycle is playing out every day and we’re not really getting anywhere.

If ever there was a topic where position is baked in, it’s Barstool. One wonders how much these exposés are moving the needle, if at all.

Don’t expect them to stop, of course, but perhaps it’s worth remembering that El Presidente isn’t the actual president and this company doesn’t have as much power as so many assign to it.

Barstool is more interesting day to day than any of the other major players, in no small part due to their missteps. It’s just that the existential ethos and origin story are old hat for those who live online. As long as there are new mediums and segments to pierce, though, the tale will be retold.

Like them, loathe them, or find yourself in the squishy in-between, they aren’t going away any time soon.

And Finally …

The NRA shut down production of NRA TV amid an organizational crisis and the New York Times revealed the website received 49,000 unique visitors in January. That number is not a typo. It appears the only people clicking on these videos were the ones watching them so they could dunk on them online later.

NOTEBOOK: Taylor Rooks’ show expected to be renewed by Bleacher Report for a second season … Brad in Corona won his fifth Smackoff crown on the Jim Rome Show … MSNBC had technical issues during the Democratic debate … Bob Ley retired from ESPN after 40 years.