Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Who Should Win the ESPYs in Each Category

By Kevin Beane

The ESPYs should be dropping right around when the column drops, so the thing to do of course it to watch the ESPYs and constantly cross-check against this column to see if the American public got it right. Indeed, these are not predictions, these are the picks America should decide for; if they don't, they're wrong.

Team of the Year

This category includes the men's and women's college basketball champs, the champs of all major pro sports except the St. Louis Blues (a curious omission), Clemson football, and the U.S. women's soccer team.

Recency bias be damned, it has to be the U.S. women's soccer team, right? So strident in anti-Trump, inclusive victory. Their panache is off the charts.

Record-Breaking Performance of the Year

Here we have Drew Brees, Sabrina Ionescu (all-time women's college basketball triple-doubles leader) Klay Thompson (three-pointers in a game), and Matthew Boling (high school 100-meter record breaker).

I think Thompson and Ionescu's records have a lot to do with the evolution of how basketball is played, and talk to me about giving this award to a high school kid when he breaks a grownup's record. For me, it's Brees, who now owns the all-time record for completions, yards, and completion percentage. Holy cow.

Best Upset

Here we have Naomi Osaka over Serena Williams at the U.S. Open, Old Dominion over Virginia Tech in college football, Columbus sweeping Tampa Bay in the NHL playoffs, and Andy Ruiz knocking out Anthony Joshua.

After Osaka beat Williams to win the U.S. Open, she won the Australian Open, too, so this doesn't look like an upset; it's more like we were just finding out how good Osaka is. Goofy things happen in the NHL and the NHL playoffs all the time, lots of parity in that league.

ODU over the Hokies has an argument, but I'm going with Andy Ruiz. Joshua was undefeated and had only gone the distance once. Ruiz is famously fat and had lost to a guy that Joshua beat (Joseph Parker). Ruiz was a 30-1 underdog.

Best Game

Texas A&M over LSU in 7 overtimes, Rams over the Chiefs 54-51, and Notre Dame beating UConn 81-76 in the women's Final Four.

We can eliminate A&M over LSU. I watched it and the game was arguably as interminable as it was enthralling. Tough between the last two, but Rams/Chiefs was so hyped, and then delivered in exactly the way and for exactly the reasons the game was hyped for in the first place.

Best WWE Moment

Are you kidding me, ESPN? Remove this category immediately.

There are other categories, such as best performance, best play, and best athlete, but for some reason ESPN's algorithm is saying, "Don't let Kevin Beane vote on these categories, or even see the nominees." What a pity. When Kevin Beane loses, America loses.

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