This has been a confusing summer. Even my flip-flops keep changing their mind.
Clearly, what’s left of this baseball season is being played exclusively for TV revenue. When we last left, 10 months ago, The Game was in a badly diminished state, record-breaking home runs and record-breaking strikeouts, little baseball played in between.
That condition now may be even worse.
The Tigers played three versus the Reds over the weekend. Detroit totaled seven home runs and 46 strikeouts. Forty-six in 27 innings! Monday versus the Rays, the Braves struck out 19 times. Among Atlanta’s 27 outs versus four pitchers, 19 were action-packed walks back to the dugout!
And the daily boxscores are loaded with such “The game has changed” stats.
At the same time, TV’s treatment of fans continues to be insulting, more tacit demands that we not believe what we saw to believe what we’re told we saw.
Monday, the first batter in Mets-Red Sox, Amed Rosario, reached on an error by second baseman Jose Peraza. On SNY, Ron Darling explained why: “Rosario always hustling down the line.”
Et tu, Ron? Clearly, plainly we saw Rosario jog toward first, presuming he’d be out. He only ran hard after he saw Peraza boot it. He was safe by a toenail when he should’ve been safe by a yard.
The previous day on YES, Gary Sanchez did what he does. Pinch hitting, he struck out on three pitches and then allowed yet another passed ball. The YES crew both times said nothing, perhaps playing us for stupid.
For all of Michael Kay’s beloved stats, he left this one out: In eight at-bats, thus far, Sanchez had no hits and struck out five times. As of Thursday morning he was 0-for-12, eight strikeouts.
But in the fifth, Kay, who never met a stat he didn’t take seriously, made a mathematical mess out of this season.
Given that this is a 60-game season rather than 162, Kay said that it has been calculated that every win is the equivalent of 2.7 wins, thus, “If you take two out of three, it’s equal to 5 ½ wins.”
No, if you win two of three your net gain is one win, or 2.7.
But given that all teams are scheduled to play 60 games, every win is worth only one, same as if every team plays 400 or 40 games. But why not complicate the simple?
Baseball fans are not easily fooled.
Sunday, the Phillies had a 4-0 lead after one against the Marlins when ESPN posted Philly’s “win probability” as 87 percent. The Marlins won, 11-6. Reader Bob LaRosa is still trying to ascertain if that 87 percent factored all Marlins lost to COVID.
Reader Howie Siegel suggests that with Alex Rodriguez not working ESPN’s Mets telecasts due to his interest in buying the team, he might cut us all a break by making a bid on the 29 other teams.
Len Grzywacz writes that the artificial crowd noise piped in during Rays’ home games is the loudest ever heard in Tropicana Field. And David Distefano was bemused to hear “Everybody clap your hands!” during a Nats home game.
Finally, Bill Maroney nailed it in addressing MLB on ESPN: “Is it me, or do ESPN’s voices talk to one another and not to the viewers? … The only time they address fans is when they read promos.”
Francesa flawed until the end
Mike Francesa’S latest retirement — this time I didn’t send a gift; the last one was a toaster oven — ended in a sensational display of his deep inside knowledge.
“No way!” the Jets will receive two first-round picks for Jamal Adams, “No way!” He was right; the Jets received two firsts and a third-rounder!
“No way!” Notre Dame will join the ACC, “No way!” Wednesday, ND, at least for this presumed season, joined the ACC.
And how well did he know the actress Olivia de Havilland, who last week died at 104? Very well! He danced at her wedding!
Regis Philbin, gone at 88, was a great fan of New York sports media. He knew virtually every name of sportswriters and TV and radio personnel. He even tried to hook up WFAN’s Rich Ackerman, his treadmill neighbor at a gym, on a blind date.
Philbin had a great line while having his clock cleaned on “Celebrity Jeopardy!”. He looked down at the device used to buzz in and said, “Does this thing work?”
Next up to be given the dubious person of honor TV treatment is U.S. soccer star, anthem-kneeler and international stage hog Megan Rapinoe, who, with her full cooperation, will be given the “We All Admire Her!” treatment by HBO.
The HBO press release acknowledges that the special is a joint venture of HBO and Rapinoe as a matter of mutual admiration — thus don’t expect certain truths.
Throughout last year’s women’s World Cup, Rapinoe acted like an advertisement for ugly Americanism, running from teammates after scoring so she didn’t have to share the spotlight.
In a match against Thailand, Rapinoe’s goal inspired her to run the length of the field in excessively demonstrative self-glory. That goal made it 9-0 in a 13-0 final.
She’s a very bad winner. And, no, not all of America admired her, hardly, not after last year.
NBA dropping ball in not condemning BLM vandals
Here are a few for Adam Silver: Is your game being gamed? Given that “Black Lives Matter” will prominently appear on NBA courts, why do you suppose BLM hasn’t repudiated the riotous destruction of mobs claiming to be BLM advocates?
Does BLM support the demolition of now three statues erected to honor courageous pre-Civil War abolitionists?
Does BLM, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association support the reckless, ignorant anti-Semitism emerging after the killing of George Floyd? Is it good with the vandalism of churches, businesses and buildings that employ thousands? St. Patrick’s Cathedral had “BLM” and a vulgarity spray-painted on its outside wall. Why didn’t BLM condemn that?
Has Black Lives Matter or the NBA condemned the nightly urban gun slaughters of mostly young blacks by mostly young blacks? Or is it that not all black lives matter?
And why does the NBA allow the presumption that so many of its fans support police brutality and oppression of blacks, so much so that they need their social sensitivity meters recalibrated any more than do NBA players?
Or maybe BLM is good with all the chaos, as Silver and the NBA pander to this proud Marxist movement.
And let’s continue to ignore that the NBA and its players are in up to their wallets with the slave-mastered Nike workers in totalitarian, Communist Red China. Or is LeBron James and the NBA pro-slavery?