The 2018 ESPYs are underway tonight, with the 26th edition being held in Los Angeles at the Microsoft Theater.
The show, which stands for Excellence in Sports Yearly, honors the biggest achievements, best teams and athletes in sports, as voted by the sports network viewers online. Viewers can watch the show on ABC-TV, or live stream with the WatchESPN app in the central and west coast time zones.
This year’s ESPYs are hosted by racing driver Danica Patrick, the first woman to host the ESPYs, which covers such categories as “Best Championship Performance” and “Best Moment,” along with the anticipated and standard best athlete male and female.
Patrick addressed the elephant in the room right away in her opening monologue, noting her achievement as the first – race car driver, that is. The rest of the warm-up before the awards skewered some of the sports moments that helped define the year.
“Sports have always had the power to give hope,” Patrick said. “Unless they’re from Cleveland.”
Saluting diminutive Houston second baseman Jose Altuve, Patrick noted, “It’s incredible he reached the top shelf of his profession without being able to reach the top shelf of his locker.”
On New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.: “He’s once again healthy. But his hairstyle is still listed as questionable,” Patrick joked.
Perhaps Patrick’s best joke of the night was about the Washington Capitals, who were led to the Stanley Cup in June by Russian winger Alex Ovechkin. “Alex Ovechkin couldn’t be any happier,” Patrick said. “I haven’t seen a Russian this pleased with Washington since, well, two days ago.” The remark drew applause.
Patrick also noted of men’s curling, “It’s the sport where you are allowed to kneel.”
But she saved her biggest zinger for herself. Noting that golfer Tiger Woods is “back, sort of, I guess. Why do people keep talking about this guy when he isn’t winning? Who do they think he is, me?”
The NBA was also on the menu. Patrick noted the Kawhi Leonard trade, how center Dwight Howard went to the Washington Wizards, and how Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons “went to the Kardashians.”
Finally, Patrick noted that Villanova won second NCAA men’s basketball national championship in three years. She noted the oddity, since “Catholic schools usually prevent students from going all the way.”