First Take’s Farewell: Goodbye Bayless, Goodbye First Take

ESPN’s No.1 debate show will not only be “Bay-less” but also “character-lessafter losing one of the biggest TV personalities in all of sports. ESPN “First Take”, the sports show of the century, will change forever with the recent move of Host Skip Bayless to FOX Sports.

The Shaq and Kobe-like chemistry, Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, have been the main attraction at the debate desk since the show began in 2007.

The show has increased its ratings dramatically since its format changes during 2011, giving more spotlight to Skip Bayless & left the show more prone to controversy despite its great accumulation of success.

After an incredible 12-year tenure on the show, Skip Bayless is finally calling it quits this August, when his contract with ESPN expires.

Bayless’ shocking news of leaving the ESPN powerhouse to a smaller sports conglomerate, FOX, left him vulnerable to shots and criticism taken by his former colleagues.

With several hints from Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russell taking shots at Bayless for his criticism and wild-fire opinions over the years, the timing of these out-landed and unfair comments to the veteran journalist are unjust to say the least.

Skip Bayless has always been who he has projected to be, and this has been long understood – a man who is not afraid to speak his opinions, whether the majority of the nation will agree or think it is completely “barbaric” or not. Over the years I found myself to agree more with Stephen A. Smith’s opinions; although, I found it very intriguing and beneficial for Skip to consistently have completely different opinions or perspectives for not only the show, but for sports in general; the variety and uniqueness aspect of sports is what makes it so interesting and entertaining it is today.

During his last episode on First Take, Skip may have earned a great deal of respect from critics and haters with the long, heartful speech he gave to the show and his best friend Stephen A. Smith. Loved or hated, Bayless’ passion and work for not only First Take, but his career has not gone unnoticed.

This Monday, Skip Bayless’ gave his critics a new perspective from the “real-ness” he projected in his long emotional speech during his final minutes on First Take, “Man, it is actually here — my last day on ESPN before I move on to my next endeavor. This is my last day at this debate desk in this studio after nearly 12 years on this show and 23 years on various shows on this network,“ a weeping Bayless said.

Payless then began to save the last part of his speech for a tribute to one of his best friends and certainly best colleague, Stephen A. Smith, “[Smith] is here today for me, and I love him for that. We’ve had our battles on this show, we fight like brothers, we get mad, we love each other. I am going to miss him more than he has any concept,” Bayless said. “We have had a great run against all odds on this show, and I’m so proud of what we built here.”

Being a long time fan of First Take, I am surprised by the move and shocked, for this show will no longer be First Take anymore; without Skip Bayless, there is no First Take. Skip Bayless was the perfect personality to not only fit in with Smith, but was the perfect fit for First Take.

Many are wondering who can possibly ‘replace” the First Take veteran and ponder if the show will “stay a-float”.

Having another favorite TV personality, Collin Cowherd, makes me excited for the possible notion for Bayless to join forces with Cowherd, Jason Whitlock, and possibly Curt Schilling. This certainly would be an All-Star lineup for FOX, as it could bring similar numbers to the ESPN powerhouse.

God bless Skip, God Bless First Take, and Farewell.

Photo by Jeff Kern (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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