Hmm, do you have the newest HL client? I dont think the hl client version effects other mods, but that "might" be the case. I only have this "protocol" error when i try to join some HLDM servers. Other than that, the only OTHER thing to do is uninstall ESF completely (delete everything in the folder, nomatter what it is or put the things left after uninstalling it in a seperate folder).
*WAIT! i just remeber having this problem, it was because of either a model or file in my esf folder that made that error (cant remeber what thought). So you might wanna completley uninstall your ESF and delete the folder. Then reinstall ESF and before you start d/ling modifications (models, sprites, maps, etc) join a server and see what it says.