If we’re to define farce as good questions in hopeless pursuit of good answers, the world has become a darkening farce.
Wednesday, for example, I received a letter, its envelope stamped with a dead-serious demand: “Important Document — Open Immediately!”
Then I saw that it was addressed to “Philip Mushnick Or Current Occupant.”
Sept. 12, 2017, a statement attributed to just-arrested professional insults and defamations artist Craig Carton:
“As you can imagine, it has been incredibly hard to be silent while there is an endless stream of vitriol being hurled my way. But I’m confident that when the facts come out, you’ll see I’m not guilty of these charges.”
Dec. 8, 2018, a statement attributed to post-conviction Craig Carton:
“I wanted to take a moment to thank the thousands of you who have sent me your well wishes and prayers.
“I don’t deserve your kind thoughts at this stage of my life, and while I appreciate them more than words could ever describe, I kindly ask that you do the same for those who I’ve hurt as a result of my actions: family, friends, co-workers, investors and loyal listeners.
“I let all of you down. I betrayed your trust, and I’m sorry.”
Only a cynic would ask if Carton’s latest reads like calculated, on-the-record public contrition in view of his February sentencing. Still, it’s a good question with no known good answer.
Many years ago I spoke with an MLB exec who said my complaints about ESPN’s Sunday night games starting too late — 8:10 EST — and ending too late on work/school nights were shortsighted, naive and silly.
He explained that such a starting time is good business as it allows the entire nation a chance to see “most of every game” — as if he was in the habit of leaving theaters before the ends of movies.
This week, without any explanation, thus leaving a good question unanswered, MLB finally switched ESPN’s Sunday night starts to a logical 7 p.m. EST. Cut to the gravestone that reads, “I told you I was sick!”
Nov. 4, 2018 — With his team trailing Atlanta, 28-7, Skins’ WR Josh Doctson caught a long pass, then had the gain cut in half when he was flagged for taunting.
Dec. 9, 2018 — With his team trailing the Giants, 40-16, Doctson caught a long pass, then had the gain cut in half when he was flagged for taunting.
Apparently, Doctson, a college man — TCU — and a third-year pro drafted in the first round and awarded a $5.5 million signing bonus, didn’t learn. Learn what?
In that game, Washington QB Mark Sanchez stepped forward in the pocket, then was sacked from behind. As simple and as self-evident as that.
But Fox’s Moose Johnston would never miss a chance to deliver a speech. He launched a long, detailed description of how the Giants did it, ending with a new one: “Climb, disengage and retrace” — not to be confused with Klein, Sage and Chase, the personal injury law firm.
The day before, during Army-Navy, CBS’s Gary Danielson made it clear that he’d either been leaked a copy of Army’s secret plan or was forced at knifepoint to say something impossibly dopey. “The formula for Army: no negative plays, no turnovers and no penalties.”
Just for Army? Who knew?
Early in the first quarter, a graphic: The three passes already thrown equaled the total thrown in last year’s game. OK, neither team throws much, but last year’s game was played in a blinding snowstorm. Or is such context irrelevant?
Then, to further decentralize central nervous systems, there’s ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” during which saying anything — anything — is always chosen over two seconds of silence.
Booger McFarland during Vikes-Seahawks: “Now that it’s third down, there’s some pressure on the young quarterback, Russell Wilson, to make some plays.”
“Plays”? How about this play? Beyond that, Wilson, 30, is in his seventh season with Seattle. What was McFarland talking about? Good question.
Playing hard is hustle they avoid
Forgive me for being unable to let this go, but New York’s big-league baseball teams grow more grotesquely compromised by the day.
Now Mets manager Mickey Callaway says he’s good with Robinson Cano — 36, presumably no longer enriched by PEDs and a career base-jogger — not running to first because he picks his spots; he knows when he’ll be out.
But does he know it, or does he guarantee it?
A good second baseman, Cano nonetheless has made 120 errors. How many would he have made if the batters had chosen not to run to first? Three? Four?
Callaway said — rationalized — that Cano knows when to turn it on. So did Yoenis Cespedes and Giancarlo Stanton. Both were seriously injured sliding into second when they would have made it standing had they run to first.
We’re supposed to ache for Jacob deGrom because the Mets don’t score for him? So buy another “star” who chooses not to run to first! “Call him a cab, Callaway!”
Last year, as Jose Bautista was batting .198 and regularly walked back to the dugout while the catcher chased after strike three — Mets TV men Gary Cohen and Ron Darling called Bautista’s indifference “Awful, just awful!” — Callaway praised him for his “great at-bats” and leadership.
As for the Yankees, will they offer Manny Machado X millions of dollars more if he occasionally plays as if he gives a rat’s retina? Will there be a running-to-first bonus?
So buy your tickets now! Come on out and watch them quit!
I’m but a poor and humble fisherman, but I know this: You can’t score unless you reach first base!
NFL oughta sink this showboat
Fox’s Troy Aikman, Sunday, called for an end to the contrived and intentionally undignified. Good. After the Eagles scored, one of those already tired group “photo sessions” was mimed, though OL Stefen Wisniewski conspicuously passed on the opportunity.
That end-zone act led to a hassle with Dallas players, which led Aikman to say, “Some of these celebrations have become ridiculous,” adding that the NFL should fix this.
The NFL? It was pandering Roger Goodell who gave this garbage his green light as a matter of demonstrating “natural enthusiasm”!
Aikman should lobby Fox. All the NFL’s TV partners have made showboating the essence of pro football, as if we tune in primarily to watch fools in excessive self-regard.
That’s why those who play with class — Saquon Barkley, Todd Gurley — stand out as welcome aberrations.
Not that it matters, but while the defending champion Eagles seemed practiced in their TD celebrations, they lost the game and are now 6-7.
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