MLB finally gets one right
Some English soccer fans' vile bigotry easy to see coming after Euro loss
Adam Silver's take on ESPN drama reveals NBA's double standard
Rob Manfred robbing MLB's fans with clueless rule
Sports coverage continues to look the other way
As Aaron Boone’s “savages” have been supplanted by scavengers, the YES Code of Ignorance remains mostly intact.
David Cone, for example, is still willing to ignore, indulge, rationalize and even excuse the rotten baseball he sees — we see — in fundamentally rotten games played by the Yankees.
Every once in a while, however, Cone can’t conceal the truth. And that’s beneficial to him and to YES’s smart, but often abandoned, viewers. Such was the case Tuesday, when Yankees call-up outfielder (Aren’t they all?) Greg Allen tripled off the wall in right.
Unaccustomed to Neo-classical major league standards, Allen did not linger near home plate. He ran — and hard — all the way, thus what would have stopped others at first or second base landed Allen on third.
That’s when Cone reminded us that he’s selectively blind: “Yankee fans, in case you forgot, that’s called a triple.”
We could have used some of that over the weekend, when the conspicuously atrocious and inexcusable failings of the Yankees and Mets were given the Sgt. Schultz treatment, and in ESPN’s case, during Sunday night’s Red Sox-Yankees game, the ESPN treatment — that is, wrecking the telecast verbally, visually and brainlessly.
Friday on YES, Boston led, 3-0, in the fourth inning when Giancarlo Stanton led off. From a hopeful 3-0 count, Stanton, who grounded into a double play in the first — no exit velocity stat provided — struck out swinging, the kind of undisciplined, untreated, uncaring all-or-nothing, at-bat that has become his specialty. (He twice more whiffed on full counts in the Yankees’ 4-0 loss.)
“Stanton strikes out,” Michael Kay said flatly, then returned to chatting with Cone and Paul O’Neill about COVID-19 concerns. Stanton’s exit velocity (when he does hit the ball) has become the greater tale to tell on YES, while the DH-only, $29 million Yankee seems to hold winning baseball in contempt.
In the next inning, career-deficient catcher Gary Sanchez allowed a runner to reach second on yet another passed ball caused by yet another case of trying to stab the ball with a bad-odds backhanded swipe rather than moving to stop the ball.
“That one gets past Sanchez, passed ball,” said Kay, again flatly, then back to whatever. But Sanchez regularly commits treason by providing aid and comfort to the enemy.
Sunday, more inexcusably bad baseball. With two out in a 7-6 loss at Pittsburgh, the Mets’ Jeff McNeil was at first. If first base coach Tony Tarasco reminded McNeil of the situation, it didn’t take.
After Dom Smith lined one through first baseman John Nogowski’s glove and into the outfield, a replay showed McNeil starting to run toward second, then stopping and turning to see what was going on at first.
Why? With two out, there were no options, McNeil had to run to second. He arrived in time, but had he run on contact he might have forced an errant throw in a game that can’t be scripted no matter how often managers try.
Surely Keith Hernandez, of all people, said nothing.
It was Louis Pasteur who said: “Chance favors the prepared mind.” MLB now daily betrays such indisputable sense.
Sunday, ESPN made it abundantly clear early that it was prepared — prepared to again prove it was going to do all it could to prevent us from watching the game. And the mute button offered no sanctuary.
In the first inning, before Martin Perez’s 2-2 pitch to Sanchez, a vertical box dropped from the top of the screen noting Perez’s “Pitch Sequence” to Sanchez, five pitches stacked, words and numbers carrying the type of pitch and each one’s speed. This was just another look-what-we-can-do distraction that allowed no time to read let alone consider its worthlessness.
In the next half inning, Jameson Taillon’s first seven pitches to Rafael Devers similarly appeared. One would have had to freeze the game and the frame to read it.
It’s unlikely that French movie director Claude Chabrol had 21st Century baseball in mind, but he observed, in a take on an old saying: “Stupidity is infinitely more fascinating than intelligence. Intelligence has its limits while stupidity has none.”
MLB infected with semi-permanent COVID changes
Rob Manfred continues to test the limits of believability and credibility. These seven-inning doubleheaders and automatic runners at second starting in extra innings were always intended as COVID-only temporary rules, and had nothing to do with permanently cutting the times of games?
Until this week, who knew?
This season, those new rules weren’t intended to be permanent, as if COVID-19 risks escalated in the eighth and ninth innings and contagions spike during extra innings? Those automatic runners on second all were immune?
When and if these new rules are rescinded, it will be due to widespread public ridicule, not COVID-19 vaccinations.
I again wonder whether the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has any idea that so many Americans remain totally turned off by its obnoxious, self-entitled, tired, knee-taking and America-is-unworthy-of-us public messaging. That is led by Megan Rapinoe, a media and commerce-anointed darling despite — or because of — her repulsive behavior, including vulgarities knowingly spoken to a large audience of kids.
I wonder if team members realize how many Americans were pleased to see Sweden kick their fannies in the Olympic opener.
The shame about that Yankee Stadium ball-throwing incident is that the Boston outfielder who was nailed, Alex Verdugo, embraces fans of both teams with friendly outfield interactions. He tried to have fun with fans. Now he knows better.
But his quote, afterward, was a keeper: “I just wasn’t going to sit there and stand for it.”
That brought to mind ex-Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain after a shellacking: “At the end of the day, the sun comes up.”
MLB in bed with crypto
What’s with that FTX logo MLB umps now wear? FTX is “the official cryptocurrency exchange brand of Major League Baseball.” And in the U.S., FTX is unregulated. Kinda like MLB getting into bed with another gambling operation.
Reader Doug McBroom was left understandably confused by NFL star Richard Sherman’s arrest for domestic violence: “First he apologized for his ‘actions,’ then he pleaded not guilty to his ‘actions.’ ”
With the contract extension of the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum, ESPN has done something right. Finebaum is ESPN’s best sports talk show host. His stock in trade are this thoughtful and calm common sense, genuine knowledge and good faith exchanges with viewers rather than self-smitten hype and turgid takes as practiced by most sports TV and radio talk hosts.
Just three people were reported shot during the postgame, late-night street celebration in Milwaukee after the Bucks won the NBA championship. I’d have bet the over. Still waiting for LeBron James to tweet his blame-the-cops take.
Hear about the new restaurant on the moon? Good food, no atmosphere.
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