ESPN started using Hopkins about a year ago to do those MLS Updates and I had an uneasy feeling that they were really grooming him for a big soccer role.
The Stoner himself started his soccer broadcast career doing that sideline bit for soccer games.
The problem is that despite all their feigned interest, ESPN still doesn't honestly give a damn about soccer. So when the need for a new soccer expert came up they looked around the New Hires Lounge and picked the least promising, dimmest bulb in the room. "Hey, it's only soccer; nobody watches that shit anyway" they all agreed over a four-martini expense account lunch.
It's all part of ESPN's new "Dumb Bimbos Initiative" or DBI as they printed it on the mugs and t-shirts they passed around. It's kind of like Six Sigma, only it makes even less sense.
When you turn on ESPN these days you have to double check the channel because it's beginning to look like Fox News: they just don't pass up any opportunity to shove some cheap doxie in front of a camera: See, see; we have women here too
It's likely because the suits in Bristol Connecticut (which Keith Olberman, before he went stark raving insane and started baying at the moon, used to refer to as the most God-forsaken place on Earth) noticed that their numbers were pretty flat.
That's largely because the baseline of males who have control of a remote control and who aren't checking out Project Runway to find out whether Tim Gunn is finally going to blow a gasket and jump some young hunk in a tight shirt already watch ESPN.
Guys with jobs watch when they get up at the crack of dawn, guys in college watch when they get up at the crack of noon, hard core slackers switch on Mom's 50 inch plasma in mid afternoon, in time to catch that shithead Skip Bayless being exposed as an imbecile by whatever black guy the producers found standing around in the hall ten minutes before air:
"Hey, how long has it been since you humiliated that little ratfaced weasel Skip Bayless? Must be a month at least. Your turn again - Studio 4 in ten"
(If you missed Steven A. Smith chopping him up and spitting him out a couple weeks back, you missed a classic; they should sell the tape. By the end, Bayliss is reduced to making gutteral noises and drooling while Smith's contempt rolls over him like a hurricane over the Outer Banks. If it had gone on another five minutes I swear Skip would have pulled a Glock out of his coat pocket and stuffed the barrel in his mouth.)
Anyway, so nobody really minded when the geniuses in Bristol started trotting out Linda Cohn. If nothing else, her classic "The baby is due - AND DOCTOR BELLE DELIVERS" home run call is Hall of Fame worthy.
And everybody understood that they have to make an occasional nod to the ladies. After all, somebody has to do the latest Michelle Wie injury roundup.
And Shelly Smith certainly doesn't look out of place on a football sideline. I'm always a little worried though that someone is going to hand her a helmet and send her in to give Mike Vrabel a breather, although when she shows up in the game summary leading the team in sacks the jig will be up.
But then they started in with Rachel Nichols, whose helmet of hair appears to be chiseled out of cement and painted with a brush full of Benjamin Moore's finest Exterior Latex, followed by an endless parade of nameless, faceless bleach blonde bimbos who wouldn't know a rebound from a holding penalty and don't seem to feel the need to find out.
It's reaching out to women, you see. Doesn't matter that the closest any of these broads previously came to an athletic competition was when they took on the entire varsity offensive line out back of the gym one Saturday night; ESPN is determined to increase their audience in the only demo they can: female viewers.
And in any case, they know that most male viewers really won't mind that some ESPNette doesn't have the first damn clue what she's talking about - they won't hear what she says anyway because they're concentrating on figuring out her bra size, and ESPN doesn't really care why you watch. Numbers are numbers.
So I figure the whole Alan Hopkins thing is pretty much the same, except that instead of trying to connect with women they're reaching out to idiots. Their very expensive research has shown conclusively that they're really not getting their share of mouthbreathing, double-digit IQ, sister marrying imbeciles and they figure Hopkins is the answer.
But why they put him on soccer is a mystery. I mean, I know the viewership numbers aren't what they could be, although one of those blondes with the big sweater puppies couldn't hurt, certainly, but still: Hopkins makes Bayliss look like Dan Patrick.
Don't they need a new face covering, say, bowling, or one of those interminable poker shows? .