This is the slowest sports week on the calendar.
The Major League Baseball All Star Break brings us the Home Derby on Monday and then the annual midsummer classic on Tuesday. Following the game, two days of quiet across baseball occurs. Of course, that void was partially filled by the star-studded ESPY Awards in Los Angeles Wednesday night.
While these events celebrated the achievements of athletes in baseball and other sports, there was also another theme with both events: cancer awareness.
On Monday night during the Home Run Derby, Major League Baseball had it's "Stand Up To Cancer" event in which fans at Target Field held up signs with the name of a friend, family member who has been affected by cancer.
Mixed into the spectacle that is the ESPYs, throughout the entire day Wednesday leading into the award show, ESPN and ESPN Radio were raising money for the Jimmy V Foundation that was started by Jimmy Valvano, who lost his battle with cancer two months after giving his famous "Don't Give Up. Don't Ever Give Up" speech at the 1993 ESPYs.
This years recipient of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award was Stuart Scott. The SportsCenter anchor has been fighting cancer for almost seven years, and gave a moving speech that left very few dry eyes in the Nokia Theater and those who were watching at home, and has become one of the most watched videos online in the last 24 hours.
Between these two events, you had the MLB All Star Game. This year, the focus was on the great Derek Jeter. The Yankee second baseman is calling it a career at the end of the year. Much like his former teammate, Mariano Rivera, the farewell tour makes a stop during the midsummer classic and Jeter had his special moment when he was pulled from the game in the top of the fourth inning. That moment included a standing ovation from the Minneapolis crowd and an extended curtain call.
While the night was about Jeter, FOX and Major League Baseball missed an opportunity to remember another great player who is no longer with us.
FOX Sports and the league are taking heat for making no in-game mention of late Padre Tony Gwynn Tuesday night. Gywnn lost his battle with throat cancer on June 16. Throat cancer that was caused by chewing tobacco, a substance that has been banned in the minors but is still used by players in the majors.
There was backlash from many, and FOX and Major League Baseball gave this response to the criticism they received:
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, an extraordinary individual whose memory we have honored in numerous ways in recent weeks," the statement read. "The Baseball family has sadly lost a number of people this year -- including Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, Frank Cashen, and former All-Stars Jerry Coleman, Jim Fregosi and Don Zimmer -- and did not want to slight anyone by singling out one individual."
They don't want to leave anyone out? Well, they could've done a nice 30 second montage of ballplayers that are no longer with us. ESPN took 30 seconds to remember all the athletes and those in the sports world who have died in the past year.
Tony Gywnn did not need all the pomp and circumstance that Derek Jeter received. "Mr. Padre" deserved a quick 15-30 second tribute coming back from commercial break.
Joe Buck acknowledges Gywnn's passing, maybe Harold Reynolds says something about him, you show a graphic of Tony's face with "1960-2014" on the bottom. After that, you go back to calling the game. That's it. That's all FOX had to do.
Now, FOX also responded by saying that they paid tribute to Gywnn on Fox Sports 1's "America's Pregame" during their All Star Game edition of the show. If you have seen the cable channels ratings, many who watched the game on FOX didn't watch "Pregame" on FS1.
Everybody knew that the All Star Game was going to be Derek Jeter's night. Tony Gywnn did not need to be the center of attention, but he did deserve to be recognized for just a few seconds.
Gwynn played 20 season with the San Diego Padres, had a career .338 batting average, and compiled 3,141 hits and was a likeable guy throughout the league. He was an idol for young ballplayers in the 80s and 90s, and although he wasn't eye candy for the ladies and marketing campaigns for Nike's "Jordan" line like Jeter is, he is still a Hall of Famer who also lost his life to a disease caused by an unhealthy habit that Major League Baseball has not banned from the game.
Cancer awareness was a theme during the All Star festivities and the ESPY Awards over the past three days.
It's just too bad that FOX Sports and Major League Baseball could not take at least 15 seconds to remember one of its own who lost his battle. They did not "Stand Up To Cancer" Tuesday night. They simply ignored it.