Theory: The folks who keep statistics at ESPN… have got to be enslaved little gnomes.

Ok, so this next post is pretty close with the last one but after watching an episode of ESPNews, I wanted to write. So here I am.

Even if you’re not an avid watcher of ESPN, you have to at least be aware of the commentary that takes place on the show. From Chris Berman’s trademark nicknames like Jeff “Brown Paper” Bagwell (get it?) to Kenny Mayne’s witty banter like “bring me the finest meats and cheeses in all the land!” (immediately following something good), ESPN’s flagship show Sportscenter is undeniably popular. Sports have always been interesting and fun to watch, but now we’re spoiled with news reporters giving input 24/7 and are funny to watch too. What’s not to love if you were a sports nut? Highly entertaining, but still professional none the less.

However, I’m not always watching the show just for those lighthearted exchanges and player interviews. No, I’m looking for the “SAAS” (pronounced Sass if you like). What is the SAAS you ask? Well, it’s the “Stat Above All Stats”. Once again, if you watch Sportscenter, you know what I’m talking about. If you ever wanted to know how a pitcher performed on the second day of April since 1995, after 5 o’clock, and with only six hours of sleep then by golly, ESPN could tell ya. If you were curious how many number 1 draft picks had the initials ABC since 1960, then ESPN could probably tell you that too. And if you ever (and I mean EVER) wanted to inquire about the number of cleats that lost shoelaces at Soldier Field in Chicago since 1984 which were eventually discovered later by a man named Rick Sanchez, then well,…you’re probably out of luck on that one, BUT out friends at ESPN may still be reseraching that as we speak….

The point is, Sportscenter is a powerhouse when it comes to obscure and frankly, amazing stats. I’ll admit that sometimes when I’m watching a game at home, I’ll sit back and wonder just how many times Kevin Durant made a jumpshot with time expiring in the 4th quarter. Then, as if ESPN were reading my mind through the television screen, a stat similar to my question pops up just below the game’s score.

My inital reaction is “huh, well that’s cool. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that one.” But once the information starts to sink in, my head spins at the thought of what poor soul drew the short straw to figure that one out. And if there are drawings for such a thing, then there has to be brainstorming sessions too. ESPN’s faithful little analyst team (the gnomes I’m referring to above in the title) must sit around and debate as to what fans like myself may want to know during the game (even if we didn’t think we needed to know it yet). So when the time arrives that I do ask that pivotal question, the answer can pop up on my screen to silence me and my silly question. .

But let’s face it, the things that I may think I need to know aren’t the most rivoting nor the most demanding as everybody else. So come on, ESPN, I challenge you to tell me something that I never once in a million years would have thought to ask when it comes to professional sports. And if you can, it will only add to your already legendary stat-keeping legacy.

So while you’re doing that, my journey continues on. My search for the SAAS.

I’ve heard my fair share in 20some years. Some real ringers let me tell you. But I’m still waiting for thatone. The one that trumps all others. The one that really makes me stop and go “O-K. Wow….” Until that day gets here though, I’ll do my best to keep my eyes open and my ears at the ready because when it strikes, it’ll be big.

And I’ll likely have to write about it. But mostly as part of an outcry to free those poor analyst gnomes. They deserve more than reporting on Derek Jeter’s Twitter updates. After all, that’s a job for the worker elves over at the E! news network and Lord knows those poor guys will never be set free from that place.

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