Wednesday, 7 May 2003

Rome is Non-Specific Urethritis

Well, I TiVoed Jim Rome's new ESPN show, Rome Is Burning. By far the highlight of the show was Jim Lampley blaming ex-Alabama coach Mike Price’s misbehavior on the widespread availability of SpectraVision porn and Rome’s dumbfounded look in response. And it was cool to hear from Dennis Haysbert (24, Now And Again). But otherwise nothing on the show really grabbed me, and it all struck me as a big love-fest—at least, if you weren’t one of the old-news targets that Rome belatedly went after: Price, ex-Iowa State basketball coach Larry Eustachy, and the Cubs pitcher who dislikes gay people came in for bashing, none of whom strike me as particularly edgy targets. He did come out and basically say the NBA Draft was rigged, but that’s not exactly an “out-there” thesis either. Rome’s at his best when he’s spewing vitriol, but the once-a-week format doesn’t lend itself to vitriol—especially since I’ll have already heard it on ESPN Radio and PTI umpteen times.

My verdict: cut it to half an hour and it might be worthwhile. It beats the crap out of Around The Horn, but then again I’d rather watch Phil Donahue debate Rush Limbaugh than Max Kellerman and four sports journalists yelling at each other. So I’ll probably season-pass it but just watch the stuff that doesn’t look derivative, like the discussion segment.

Meanwhile, you can read Jim Rome’s ghostwriter’s take on the opening night for balance.