Blazer Girl recently toured ESPN's Bristol compound as part of the network's 30th anniversary celebration. She encountered several strange and frightening plastic creatures. She also encountered the decoy coyotes. Her photos and a full report.
This is ESPN's replica football field, erected right smack in the middle of campus so Chris Berman can spend his lunch breaks recreating that one time he caught a pass at Buccaneers practice.
ESPN The Café plays Taylor Swift's CD on repeat.
ESPN does its finest work here: All those SportsCenter commercials are shot along this carpet.
Bristol is such a playland for overgrown children that the only thing weird about this photo is the cowboy hat.
Suck it, Google!
From left: Chris Berman, Bob Ley, Chuck Pagano (the executive VP of technology, engineering and operations who's been around since ESPN's debut). Together, they're like the Mount Rushmore of ESPN, if the dudes on Mount Rushmore all wore chinos.
Three things I learned about Chris Berman: Chris Berman loves Diet Coke. Chris Berman hates the idea of a televised three-day NFL Draft. "Why put the NFL Draft on TV?" he grouched. "That's like reading the Manhattan phonebook. NFL Draft, three nights — Jesus, I wanna sign off." And, lastly, Chris Berman would not tell me whether the 49ers ever gave him an honorary Super Bowl ring. I will take that as a yes.
Very soon, fantasy football GMs will be able to use some fancy, overpriced iPhone application to manage their teams, combining two things ESPN has always excelled at: fantasy games and mobile technology.
From here, you can control what happens on SportsCenter and in North American airspace!
And meanwhile, there's this — some ancient television set in a crappy box, like something a college kid might leave on a curb somewhere. Half the time, it doesn't even work. Nobody seems to know what it's doing there. I like to think ESPN keeps it around as a symbol of its lost innocence.
"Candy" is of course Bristol slang for hard drugs.
Hannah Storm likes to talk. In the brief time I spent with her (an hour), she had a wardrobe change. And she is, as A.J. has noted, radiant. And probably a foot taller than any man who writes (or comments) for a blog. To her right is Vince Doria, director of news, whom you probably last saw on a Community Chest card.
This is Robert Smith. He came in with sunglasses on top of his head — mind you, it was raining this day — and his tie was long and untied and just draped around his neck. He talked a little bit, but mostly just sat there with a half-smile, making the O.J. Simpson face. Robert Smith is a douche.
Here's the set of Mike and Mike, only on this day it was minus one Mike. Filling in for Greenberg was a plastic lawn ornament named Erik Kuselias, who claims to be a fan of Deadspin. He's wearing a helmet here.
Here's Erik Kuselias, up close and personal. Hi, Erik! He's wearing a different sort of helmet here.
And this is Erik Kuselias' bag. Sharp-eyed viewers will note that there is a woman's hairbrush in Erik Kuselias' bag.
Here's Trent Dilfer practically teabagging Tom Jackson and reading aloud some excerpts from his Mark Sanchez/Matt Ryan slash fiction.
I know you've already seen this photo, but I wanted to share a story one guy told me: Apparently, when they first set out the coyotes — to scare off geese, remember — people used to move the coyotes next to co-workers' cars and scare the shit out of them. A memo went out to some of the pranksters, saying, We know you're moving these. Please don't. You're scaring people. So then they did the next best thing: They tried to put the coyotes in their coworkers' cars.
To my left is Michelle Beadle, co-host of SportsNation. "I love Deadspin," Michelle told me, "even though I know you're going to say something awful about me when this photo goes up." (I also met her co-host, Colin Cowherd, though he didn't seem very interested in photos. One thing I learned about Colin Cowherd: He does not hate Deadspin. One thing I did not learn about Colin Cowherd: his new phone number.) To my right is some Australian chick who's about to host some sort of international thing that I know nothing about. And so our tour ends where it began: with me outside, flanked by two ridiculous and vaguely threatening creatures. So long, Bristol!