Are you inquisitive?” I asked.
“What’s it to you?’ he answered.
Show me media folks who don’t ask good questions and I’ll show you folks in the wrong business. Used to be that a live telecast of a game was driven to answer our questions. Thus, the promise of the best seat in the house was often met.
But, like everything else that used to make sense, that has been lost to a modern impossibility: preposterous excesses, and obstructionist verbal and visual clutter and dismissive assumptions/hopes that we’re too stupid to ask why.
Sunday, when Rams-Giants was still close, the Rams successfully faked a punt, kicker Johnny Hekker throwing to the unguarded near sideline for a first down.
But the play was wiped out by offsetting penalties, both for unsportsmanlike conduct. What was that all about? The ref gave no details on his field microphone nor did he identify the offenders.
Your guess was as good as mine as Fox’s otherwise chatty due of Adam Amin and Mark Schlereth made no attempt to explain and, presumably, Fox’s tape machines didn’t provide a clue.
The first thing I’d have done is what Fox has conditioned us to expect: Bring in NFL rules expert Mike Pereira to answer, “What the heck just happened?”
If Pereira was lost to explain, Amin, as a matter of good faith and good TV, might’ve said, “We’ll look into that and let you know.”
Sideline reporter Shannon Spake apparently didn’t seem interested. Even had she explained it in place of her obligatory early third quarter, “I spoke with Coach X … ” a late explanation would have been welcomed as opposed to none.
Where was the producer to firmly suggest that Spake learn what it was all about? Why not ask L.A.’s special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, seen raging on the sidelines after the play was wiped out?
Instead, don’t just do something, stand there!
What was clear was that the Rams, with an extensive recent history of faking punts, were punting from the Giants’ 40. The situation, as a diligent special teams coach might deduce, called for the return team to be on high alert. It was a matter of applied geography.
Amin instead played “This Is Your Life, Johnny Hekker,” rattling off a bunch of stats, including, “13-for-22 passing the football in his career” until he reached, “12 of his 13 completions have gone for first downs!”
Really? No fooling? Why did he think a punter would throw if not for a first down on fourth down?
Aw, the heck with it. We don’t want to stand in the way of progress, do we?
Managers search for hurlers who will lose games
Have you watched “Squid Game”? It’s about 456 misanthropes gathered to destroy one another by destroying themselves. It’s ghoulish, violent, bloody but strangely compelling as a morality tale.
If it didn’t have subtitles — it’s a South Korean series — I’d swear it’s based on MLB’s current crew of numbers-mesmerized, zombie managers.
While the news here has been about retaining spreadsheet-stricken, bullpen roulette-addicted and presumed puppet Aaron Boone after the Yankees’ postseason one-and-done, it’s hard to miss that Boone has hardly been alone this October, same as last October, the one before that, and for the last, oh, 10 years.
The Rays’ Kevin Cash — yet again — the Red Sox’s Alex Cora, the Braves’ Brian Snitker and Dodgers’ Dave Roberts have all battled to find just the right reliever to lose the game the previous pitcher was winning.
The Braves-Dodgers NLCS has been flabbergasting, like watching managers fight over a hammer with which to knock themselves out. The latest saga in a sustaining epidemic of self-destructive lunacy.
In Game 3, Snitker pulled reliever Tyler Matzek for no apparent good reason. The Braves were winning, 5-2, and Matzek had pitched the seventh, allowing no hits and striking out two. Leave it alone. You can’t improve on perfect, right?
But the analytics gremlin jumped into Snitker’s head. He yanked Matzek for Luke Jackson. In one-third of an inning Jackson allowed four earned runs, turning the Braves into 6-5 losers.
The 8 ¹/₂-inning game included 14 pitchers and ran 4:15 — enough senselessness to have once caused a national calamity. But the sense-defying abnormal has become the normal. And they’d all do it again … and again … and again.
Fox is now starting to copy the worst elements of ESPN, especially its rotten grasp of easily verified history.
During the ALCS we were shown a graphic claiming that Cora has “Five straight postseason series wins, tied [with Casey Stengel] for most to start managerial career.”
Did it matter that the only postseason series Stengel could win was the World Series? Nah.
Nor did it matter that the graphic, having passed through several hands en route to appearing on national TV, was misleading by significant omission. Stengel managed nine years in the NL before he was hired by the Yankees, his NL teams never finishing better than fifth. And Cora’s “streak” doesn’t include a missed postseason in 2019.
Gambling culture? You betcha!
Everyone into the cesspool! Now ex-Giants David Tyree and Mathias Kiwanuka will co-host a sports betting program on MSG Network. Per the announcement:
“We are excited to expand the reach of the MSG Networks brand and further immerse our fans into the sports betting culture.”
Yeah, once immersed in that culture, you might try the front of the Garden to bed down at night — after a day of begging spare change.
The UNLV sideline now features a flashing 700-pound faux slot machine that summons UNLV players to watch it pay off after every home-team touchdown.
“I wanted something that represented us,” head coach Marcus Arroyo explained.
Saturday, the debut of that slot machine generated divided interest among his players as UNLV lost to Utah State, 28-24, but three times gathered to play the slot machine.
An NCAA “task force” has called for the elimination of standard academic testing for incoming Division I and II “student-athletes.”
Good idea. Not that barely literate athletes had trouble landing full college scholarships, but that proposal would remove all false pretense that recruits must be able to read and write to be enrolled in college, then matriculate until their eligibility has expired.
Of course, college presidents only have to pretend they had no idea — like ESPN/CBS/Jim Nantz-anointed Saint Roy Williams, the UNC basketball coach totally surprised that his players for years maintained eligibility by receiving A’s in nonexistent classes.
Highly impeachable sources inform us that Roger Goodell will travel to England and Germany to sell “good investment” PSLs to the locals.
The Jets and Giants have spawned a new customer reality. With PSL Stadium games emptying early, now you stay until they’re over in order to beat the traffic.
Quality control: Seen scrolled throughout Rams-Giants on Fox was a promo for NFL.com, one prefaced with, “Football is back.” Week 6, and a preseason games message remained.
Yadda, yadda, yadda. Rochester pen pal Pat Proietti sent a clip of a 37-1 2-year-old winning a harness stakes race at Woodbine in Toronto. The name of the winner? Bob Loblaw. Say it quickly — blah, blah, blah.
Credit: Notigroup Newsroom.
[This article may have been written with information from various sources]