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Why does ESPN hate the Oakland Athletics?

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ESPN released its planned lineup for the 2014 edition of Sunday Night Baseball, and there's a two-time defending division champion noticeably absent from the alleged marquee game-of-the-week schedule.

Heck, even the Pittsburgh Pirates -- coming off their first playoff season since 1992 -- made the ESPN cut, most probably because they have a nice ballpark.

But no Oakland Athletics on Sunday Night Baseball.

ESPN's unwillingness to broadcast from the O.co Coliseum was clear last summer, when a marquee American League matchup on Sunday, September 1, between the A's and the Tampa Bay Rays -- both eventual playoff teams -- was bypassed for SNB in favor of ... drumroll, please ... the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals, two teams that at the time were a combined 35.5 games out of first place.

But the Nationals have a nice ballpark!

Teams featured in the first half of 2014 on Sunday Night Baseball include the Baltimore Orioles (three times, no less, despite having made the postseason once since 1997) and the San Diego Padres.

But those teams have nice ballparks!

(Sense the ongoing theme here?)

Clearly ESPN doesn't want to come to Oakland, and in its never-ending quest of journalist integrity and objectivity, the self-proclaimed "Worldwide Leader in Sports" evidently thinks Oakland isn't part of this world.

FOX Sports, however, routinely featured the A's on their Saturday Game of the Week broadcasts in 2013, including three different times at the Coliseum on June 15, July 27 and August 3.

(Go figure that FOX is the bastion of journalistic integrity here.)

It's pretty sad that ESPN has its head so far up its own backside that it can't actually even pretend to be interested in one of the best stories in baseball, a successful small-market franchise that even Hollywood made into an Oscar-nominated film featuring Brad Pitt.

Clearly, the A's don't need ESPN to win the AL West, however, and this continues to fit the motif for Oakland as the eternal underdog. So let the network chase its ratings at the bandwagon ballpark across the Bay, with its announced faux-sellouts and half-empty stadium clearly visible on TV broadcasts.

("But it's a nice ballpark!")

The A's and their trophy case -- you know, the one with 16 division titles since 1969, not to mention the four World Series championships -- are doing just fine without any superficial love from the "Worldwide Leader in Sports".

And, of course, what else would you expect from a sports network that foisted the fraud known as the BCS on the American public?

Integrity? Good luck with that.

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