So, I’ve never watched the ESPYs. I’ve actually never even thought about watching the ESPYs. I doubt I know anyone who has watched the ESPYs. They’re a non-event, kind of like the Daytime Emmys, except they seem even more artificial and tacky. (Note: I spent about five minutes trying to think of a joke about an imaginary Daytime ESPYs and came up empty. This is how I spend my time.)
That said, Johanna and I must soldier on in our 2010 award show winner-picking competition, so we’re going to slog through it. Luckily, Seth Meyers is hosting. Also, there will undoubtedly be ridiculously dressed athletes. And, as Bill Simmons always points out, women in high heels who are not used to wearing high heels. So that’s fun.
Let’s get this started. In the sporting, masculine spirit of the evening, Johanna and I will be sharing a bottle of 2009 D’Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé. As always, categories and winners in bold.
9:00 – Picking winners in these categories was really hard; this has been a crazy exciting and dramatic sports year. Great Super Bowl, amazing March Madness, Phil Mickelson defeating his wife’s cancer at the Masters, a super-long tennis match, perfect games and no hitters, Celtics vs. Lakers, the World Cup. The Olympics were sort of meh, but hey, it’s still the Olympics.
9:04 – Montage of sports stuff. This is much better than the Daytime Emmys. Although now they’re showing dead people, so this is kind of a bummer. Johanna comments, and I agree, that this seems a bit early for the death montage.
9:05 – I would happily watch this montage for two hours. This has got to have been one of the best years in sports ever. Also, I am still mad that the Gordon Hayward shot didn’t go in. That would have been great.
9:07 – Here’s the first of what will probably be many audience shots that illustrate that this is a weird event.
9:11 – Seth Meyers is making jokes about LeBron James. “Literally every team that has won a championship has done it without LeBron James” gets a nice laugh. LeBron does not appear to be in attendance. Likely in shock about the backlash.
9:13 – If you were January Jones, would you go to the ESPYs? Is she dating an athlete or something? Even she looks confused about her presence.
9:17 – Meyers is killing it. I guess I should have known he would do well. This is basically just him doing Weekend Update while standing up.
9:19 – Here’s Marisa Miller and the luckiest man alive, Chris Bosh, to present Best Breakthrough Athlete.
“I’ve never heard of any of these people,” says Johanna. She went with Stephen Strasburg and I remind her that she does, in fact, know whom he is, and that we have discussed him several times. I wanted to go with Strasburg, but went with John Wall instead. “The fans have decided the ESPY goes to…Chris Johnson.” Are these all decided by fan voting? I should have taken that into account. “I like his look,” says Johanna of Johnson. I’m not sure if she’s being serious
9:22 – Paul Rudd and Steve Carell parodying “The Decision.” This is pretty funny. Also, it includes a joke about Chili’s, and Johanna and I had lunch at Chili’s today, so it really resonates with me.
9:30 – I’m really enjoying this Pinot Noir Rosé. Also, this afternoon I bought a pair of skinny jeans, and a couple of hours ago I set up about twenty episodes of House Hunters on the DVR. I don’t know who I am anymore.
9:31 – SNL has really taken this over. Johanna’s celebrity crush Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte out to get us to vote for Best Play.
9:32 – Janelle Monae is singing while we watch the nominees. I have read like 1000 articles and blurbs about how great Janelle Monae is, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever heard one of her songs.
9:35 – Lindsay Vonn is a lot taller than Shaun White.
“What is going on with her dress?” says Johanna. “It looks like a mother of the bride dress.” I remind her that these athletic ladies don’t have much experience with ballgowns.
They’re here to present Best Record Breaking Performance. I went with Usain Bolt, Johanna chose the Isner vs. Mahut Wimbledon match. I probably would have picked the Wimbledon, but I don’t think I even read all of the nominees. Isner and Mahut win. She takes an early lead, 1-0. It will be embarrassing if I lose this to her.
9:44 – Andy Samberg comes out dressed as Pulpo Paul, the World Cup octopus.
9:47 – Chris Berman is here. I was about to call him a “bloated gasbag,” but I decided that was unnecessarily mean.
He brings on Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga and umpire Jim Joyce, who blew the call on the last out of what should have been a perfect game. Armando’s tie is so skinny that it’s dwarfed by Jim’s mustache.
They’re presenting Best Moment. Johanna and I both went with Landon Donovan’s goal. That was by far my favorite. I think my dog is still recovering from the scare I gave him by screaming when it happened.
Landon wins. We’re at 2-1 Johanna. Jozy Altidore tweeted earlier that the U.S. Men’s National Team was the best dressed group of guys there, and Johanna agrees: “They look good in their suits. Soccer players have nice bodies. Basketball players are too tall and football players are too fat. Get a shot of all of them. I want to see them all in their suits.”
She continues: “Tim Howard isn’t there. Neither is Clint Dempsey, the one I actually have a crush on. He couldn’t be bothered to come. Also, where’s the defensive guy I liked…what was his name? Penalty? Foul? Oh, Demerit.” She actually said this. Unintentionally hilarious.
9:59 – Tim Tebow looks like he is going to a polo match or just got off a yacht or something.
Janelle Monae is back. Is she like the female, solo Danger Mouse? That’s what it sounds like to me.
10:01 – Tracy Morgan is here with some girl I don’t know (Ashley Smith, I think they said.)
They’re doing a bit with him trying out for the Mandela role in Invictus. I was getting ready to make a joke about how I was shocked that he managed to not take off his shirt, and then, lo and behold, he took off his shirt.
They’re presenting Best Upset. Johanna and I both went with Northern Iowa over Kansas. Johanna is still upset that this is the first year that she didn’t pick Kansas to lose early in the tournament. The ESPY goes to Northern Iowa. 3-2 Johanna. You’re a failure, Bill Self.
10:08 – Here comes Wayne Newton in a cowboy hat! No wait, that’s Clint Black. I know nothing about Clint Black, but he looks way older than I would have guessed. He and Seth Meyers sing a song about sad, dressed-up World Cup fans.
10:10 – January Jones and Zac Efron are here to have a tousled hair competition. Zac wins.
I’ve seen a couple of trailers for Zac Efron’s new movie, Charlie St. Cloud, and I can’t figure out if they are marketing it to tweens or if it is actually a real movie for adults. I’m not predicting big things. They’re presenting Best U.S. Male Olympian. I went with what seemed like the obvious pick here, Shaun White. Johanna went with Evan Lysacek, who I think is a badass and the only other possible choice. I love that Lysacek wears all black a lot and looks like a Bond villain. Or at least an asshole in an Eighties movie.
Shaun White wins, and I tie things up 3-3.
10:13 – The pinot noir rosé is finished, so Johanna and I switch to some Target brand boxed Chardonnay. She continues to use the same glass, but I switch to a smaller glass that’s more appropriate for the wine. I have never been more ashamed of myself.
10:19 – Here’s Brett Favre. I’m so over this I’m not even going to try to make a joke.
I’m also going to refrain from saying anything snarky about the recipients of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. Let’s just move on.
10:39 – They’re doing a recap of the winners of the non-televised categories (why on Earth do they have non-televised categories?). Let’s run this down, lightning-round style:
Best U.S. Female Olympic Athlete: We both went with Lindsey Vonn, and she wins. 4-4.
Best Female College Athlete: I went with Maya Moore, Johanna chose Megan Lagenfeld (?). Moore wins and I take the lead, 5-4.
Best Female Action Sport Athlete: I have heard of none of these nominees. I went with Torah Bright, only because she’s a snowboarder. Johanna chose her too, and she wins. 6-5.
Best MLS Player: Obviously, Landon Donovan. We both get it. 7-6, me.
Best Male Action Sports Athlete: Another obvious one. We both went with Shaun White, and he wins. 8-7, me.
10:40 – Here’s Will Ferrell as “Jeff Vuvuzela,” inventor of the vuvuzela. Funny. Perhaps a bit too long. That could describe a lot of the things Will Ferrell does.
10:45 – Here’s Mark Wahlberg and Emmanuelle Chriqui. For a second I thought it was Danica Patrick and I was going to give her credit for being a lot hotter that I previously thought she was. Also, Mark Wahlberg has a bottle of water with him for some reason.
They’re presenting Best Female Athlete. Johanna went with Lindsey Vonn, I chose Serena Williams. Vonn wins! I’m stunned. We’re tied at 8-8.
“Ernie, this is getting competitive!” says Johanna to our dog. Ernie then requests that we pause the show so he can go for a walk.
10:50 – Ernie comes back from his walk and we come back from commercial. Without any pomp and circumstance, the announcer awards the Castrol Edge Performance Under Pressure Award to Landon Donovan. Johanna and I both get this one, so we’re at 9-9.
10:59 – Here’s a couple of very attractive people, Brooklyn Decker and Jon Hamm, to present Best Play.
This category is not on the ballot I printed for some reason. Oh, well. I’m rooting for Mark Buehrle’s opening day play. That or the guy who jumped over the catcher to score a run.
Brett Favre annoyingly wins, and Buehrle looks pissed.
11:04 – Stuart Scott opts for the rarely seen no tie/pocket square combination.
He introduces Samuel L. Jackson, who is wearing a blazer that appears to be made out of an old quilt.
11:12 – Not to rush George Karl off the stage, but this show was supposed to be over twelve minutes ago, and there are a lot of awards still to be given out. I only set this up to record an extra half hour, and I’m starting to worry that we’ll miss the end.
11:17 – Finally back from commercial. We’re definitely going to miss the end of this. You screwed this up worse than “The Decision” with LeBron, ESPN.
11:18 – I would have made a couple of jokes about Luke Wilson’s Commander Riker beard, but I’m too distracted by Danica Patrick’s crazy, all-over-the-place hair.
They’re presenting Best Male Athlete. I went with Drew Brees. Johanna is apparently a big fan of Hurricane Katrina, so she went with Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant. Drew Brees wins, and the city of New Orleans and I applaud. I’m up 10-9. Brees kind of looks like he just stepped out of the Seventies.
11:22 – God, country music. We get it, Kenny Chesney. You’re a cowboy. Must you wear the hat everywhere?
He’s presenting Best Team. Johanna picked the Lakers, and I picked the Yankees. We both feel dirty. “I think the Saints will win, I wish the Blackhawks would win, and I picked the Lakers for no discernable reason,” says Johanna. The New Orleans Saints win, and some Treme music starts to play. Still 10-9, me.
11:28 – All right, we’re done, and coming in just under the wire. There were a ton of non-televised categories for this. I still don’t understand why they have so many weird categories that don’t make the TV cut. Let’s venture online to find out who won.
Best Championship Performance: I stuck with the Saints and went with Drew Brees here, as did Johanna. 11-10 me.
Best Game: We both went with Canada vs. U.S. in Olympic Hockey. Any hockey game that I actually watch must be a pretty big deal. It won. 12-11 me.
Best Sports Movie: Of the five of these I had only seen Invictus and Big Fan, and I’d only enjoyed Big Fan, but I went with what seemed like the obvious choice, The Blind Side. Johanna, somewhat surprisingly, chose The Karate Kid. Karate isn’t a sport. It’s called martial ARTS, not martial SPORTS. The Blind Side wins. 13-11 me. I’m pulling away.
Best Coach/Manager: Johanna, perhaps slyly, chose Sean Payton. I went with the Zen master, Phil Jackson. Jackson wins. I’m crushing it here. 14-11 me.
Best NFL Player: I went with Brees, Johanna went with Peyton “Laser Rocket Arm” Manning. Brees wins. 15-11 me.
Best MLB Player: You know I couldn’t chose someone other than Albert Pujols here. Johanna picked him, too. “I bet it’s Jeter,” she says. Nope, King Albert for the win. 16-12.
Best NHL Player: I went with Sidney Crosby. Johanna, having never heard of any of these people, chooses Henrik Seden. “I picked him because he’s from Canada,” she says. “Sidney Crosby is from Canada,” I respond. “It says he’s from Pittsburgh,” she says. “No, he plays for Pittsburgh,” I respond. Crosby wins. 17-12 me.
Best Driver: We both went with Dario Franchitti, although I’m pretty sure I’m the only one of the two of us who knew that he won the Indy 500. Jimmie Johnson wins. Never bet against NASCAR.
Best NBA Player: We both went with LeBron, even though everyone hates him now. Kobe Bryant wins. I can’t believe I now live in a world where Kobe Bryant is more popular than LeBron James.
Best WNBA Player: Who cares. I went with Diana Taurasi, Johanna went with Becky Hammon. Taurasi wins. 18-12 me.
Best Fighter: Johanna went with Floyd Mayweather, I went with Manny Pacquiao. If only the two of them would fight! Mayweather wins. 18-13 me.
Best Male Golfer: Johanna went with Tiger, I went with Lefty Mickelson. Mickelson wins. 19-13 me.
Best Female Golfer: We both went with Lorena Ochoa, and she won. 20-14 me.
Best Male Tennis Player: We both chose Federer over Nadal. He wins. 21-15 me.
Best Female Tennis Player: I went with Serena Williams. Johanna says “I went with Kim Clijsters,” eliciting a “Really!?” from me. Serena wins. 22-15 me.
Best Male College Athlete: Me: John Wall. Johanna: Mark Ingram. Wall wins. 23-15 me.
Best Jockey: This was a really obvious one. There is absolutely no way it would be anyone other than Calvin Borel. Johanna reveals that she has no idea what is going on by picking Julien Leparoux. Borel wins. 24-15 me. “I thought Leparoux sounded Cajun. Why would I remember Borel’s name?!? He’s a jockey! I hear about it once a year!” Johanna is starting to get mad.
Best Male Athlete With A Disability: I went with Rudy Garcia-Tolson. Because his name is Rudy, like the sports movie. Remember? Johanna chose Andy Soule. Unfortunately for us, the third option here, Steve Cash, won.
Best Female Athlete With A Disability: We both chose Stephani Victor. “Is it because her last name is ‘Victor’?” asks Johanna. Yes. Yes it is. Amy Palmeiro-Winters wins.
Best Bowler: Walter Ray Williams, Jr., was the choice of both Johanna and I, obviously because of the name. That man was born to be either a professional bowler or a NASCAR driver. He wins. 25-16 me.
Best Track and Field Athlete: Most obvious category of the night, other than maybe Best Jockey. We both went with Usain Bolt, and he wins. 26-17 me. Final score. I killed it, folks.
(Hold on, “Animal” by Miike Snow just came on my computer. Johanna and I need to have a quick dance party.)
All right, I’m back. That was fun. A very decisive win by me, although, to be honest, I had a huge advantage here. It would have been shameful had I lost.
What’s next? The Emmy’s are coming up soon, right? I’m getting sick of slumming it here.