With all of the talk about Sarah Phillips lately, ESPN snuck something past the goalie that would have generated a lot more rage if people actually knew about it. Stephen A Smith will be joining First Take full-time as Skip Bayless' debate partner.
While Bayless and Smith are both extremely irritating, maybe having them on-air five days a week will cut down the insane points that the two seem to make in most of their debates. Or maybe, they'll just get so comfortable with each other that they'll continue to push the agenda of silliness to the point they're just screaming childish insults at each other and not even discussing sports. Yea, the latter is much more likely.
Furthermore, adding Smith to the fold full-time will also likely cut down the appearances from other ESPN analysts (and pro athletes) to debate Bayless and bring a somewhat rational point of view to the table. Remember when Jalen Rose came on and made a litany of great points when talking about Bayless' high school career? Don't expect to see that happen frequently from now on.
I think it's pretty sad that a once watchable morning show has devolved into TWO MEN SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER. At least on a show like PTI, Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser make good points (most of the time) and usually don't harbor silly grudges against teams and athletes and obsessions over certain other ones.
What's going to set the latest Smith-Bayless screaming match apart from one that happened last week, or one that will happen next week? It's becoming such an unbearable schtick, and I'm not sure if this is even a good move for the show from a pure business standpoint to feature Skip & SAS every day. At some point, after driving something into the ground for so long, the effectiveness is lost. Imagine if the Dan Patrick Show had a supermodel in studio every day. Sooner rather than later, the novelty of having one around (like Kate Upton on Tuesday's show) would be completely lost, and it would be just another segment with no meaning. That's what I liken this First Take decision to.
And yes, First Take has made a living on driving topics into the ground (see: Tebow, Tim), but now with Smith and Bayless having a screaming contest every day, the grating aspects of the show should increase exponentially over time. Having Smith around to debate Bayless once a week would probably work out a lot better than having him around every day and completely losing the perceived importance of the segment. Eventually, these two will be shouting "FIRE!" and nobody will be there to listen.
(via USA Today)