Four Days in October is an ESPN 30 for 30 series film that first aired in 2010. It aired again yesterday, in slightly edited format, and dopey Red Sox fans teamed up with dopey conservatives to form a coalition of derp in protesting what they believed to be a conspiracy against recently fired analyst Curt Schilling.
The version of Four Days that aired yesterday afternoon, you see, excised about 10 minutes of the film after the live broadcast of an Arizona-Oregon softball game ran 15 minutes over its time slot. This happens literally every day on ESPN’s networks. Games very rarely fit into their allotted times (save for soccer, the most punctual of televised sports) and schedule changes down the line make room for that overrun.
The problem, to Red Sox Nation? ESPN’s abridged version of the film omitted its segment on Game 6—the “bloody sock” game. Schilling, of course, mustered his army of idiots to declare a conspiracy:
This is especially rich, because Schilling—as a former ESPN employee—should know full well that programming is regularly edited for time constraints. But further proving that he’ll share any misinformation that aligns with his beliefs, Schilling disingenuously raised a stink about it anyway—to the degree that ESPN had to release a statement to explain what was obvious to anyone with a functioning brain:
When a live event runs long, it’s standard procedure to shorten a taped program that follows. In this case, we needed to edit out one of the film’s four segments to account for the extra length of the softball game.
Commercial breaks on cable nets are carefully scheduled, and the programming just before and just after the Four Days broadcast was too short to abridge—plus, being six years old, that movie has likely been compressed to any number of lengths to fit ESPN schedule changes. Could ESPN have edited out a different portion of the film? Sure, but given the choice of four segments to excise, why wouldn’t they choose the one featuring someone who has embarrassed the company? Who can blame them?
Awful Announcing collected a number of angry tweets, or you can just check my mentions. Josh Oshinsky, the film’s editor, tweeted (and then later deleted) a complaint to ESPN, which read:
Interesting. Especially considering I ACTUALLY edited it the first time around. Thanks for throwing out my work @espn
So a non-issue became a big issue to a lot of people, somehow. But here’s a better question: Why was anyone watching a six-year-old documentary at that hour anyway? Here are a few of the live sports airing at that hour (5:30 p.m. Eastern) yesterday:
- Trail Blazers-Warriors NBA playoff basketball
- Blues-Stars NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey
- Ten MLB games
- PGA Tour golf
- Timbers-Toronto FC soccer
- Northwestern-Indiana college baseball
- LPGA Tour golf
- Campeonato Paulista soccer
- Guadalajara vs Dorados Liga MX soccer
- ... and the finish of the NASCAR race, which ran long due to lots of wrecks
Clearly we’re dealing with some level-headed people here.