Having reached the stage in life at which I wander room to room asking myself, “What did I come in here for?” here’s a question for you: What did you come in here for?
Are you here to help find what I can’t remember I’m looking for? Or are we kindred, confused spirits?
Among things that befuddle me — us? — are sportscasters who have spent their careers calling ballgames, yet don’t seem to know what they’re watching.
Sunday, near the end of Patriots-Jets, CBS’s “Hollerin’ ” Kevin Harlan actually complimented Jets defensive end Shaq Lawson for acting like a selfish jerk, the reincarnation of Mark Gastineau.
With just more than two minutes left, the Pats had a 22-6 lead and were on the Jets’ 5-yard-line. After one burst up the middle to the Jets’ 2, New England made handoffs with few struggles to fight for yardage and risk a fumble or the remote possibility of a Jets comeback.
But Harlan, professionally reliant on elevated decibels, seemed to have missed this, as did Lawson. So when the Jets stuffed consecutive runs by compliant ballcarriers near or behind the line of scrimmage, Lawson went wild, dancing and stomping in ridiculous self-aggrandizement.
After Lawson’s second me-dance, as CBS actually rewarded him with a slo-mo replay of his antics, Harlan piped, “Playing hard, even in a game that has been lopsided,” thus he missed the point of the pointless.
Harlan tacked on, “Nice play, defensively, for the Jets.”
Booth mate Trent Green had to know that the circumstances made Lawson’s conduct excessively foolish, but Green, promising when paired with Greg Gumbel — they’d even swap relevant thoughts — reacted with pandering silence.
Then there’s YES’s Michael Kay, who often seems confused by baseball.
This season, Kay has been steadily and enormously impressed by Yankees batters’ “exit velocities,” often noting that ground balls, especially those hit by Giancarlo Stanton, have been hit so hard through the infield that they’d otherwise have been fielded, the batter thrown out.
Not exactly a scientific breakthrough, but a legit point.
Yet, he admits that he’s mystified that the Yankees ground into so many double plays. In Stanton’s case, that’s a career-high 22 times.
But Kay doesn’t seem to understand that elevated exit velocity works both ways. Those hard ground balls hit near or right at infielders make for the easiest of double plays, as the infielders can take their sweet, careful time.
Kay is also a stat parrot, often in the unintentionally comical habit of applying significance to any data at any time.
Monday, as Anthony Rizzo batted in the first against Texas, Kay felt it essential for us to know that Rizzo “has five hits in his last 20 at-bats” — a .250 average.
On the screen, Rizzo’s season’s batting average, .248, appeared. Kay added that as a Yankee, Rizzo is batting .250.
Compelled to say something about nothing, he could have accomplished that by saying nothing about nothing.
Some graphics have grasp of the obvious
When I grow up, I wanna be a cowboy, pitch for the Yankees or land my dream job, a network graphics man!
Graphic of the Week appeared nine seconds into the NFL Network’s Giants-Washington telecast, after Taylor Heinicke, on the first play, threw incomplete.
A graphic then read, “Heinicke, 0-1, 0 yards.” Author! Author!
First runner-up was reader Max Ramos, who notes that after a 51-yard touchdown run during Saturday’s Purdue-Notre Dame game, NBC enlightened us with a meeting at the corner of Stupid and Wrong: “ND Scoring Drive: 1 play, 100 yards, 11 seconds.” As a consolation prize, Ramos receives a fine assortment of American Tourister luggage and the home version.
Just because at $18 million per year — nearly $1 million per telecast — CBS obscenely overpays Tony Romo, doesn’t mean he’s not worth it. Wait. That makes no sense, does it?
Anyway, the final three seconds of the first half of Sunday’s Cowboys-Chargers took forever, with applications of what the NFL does to kill action.
“It’s like a basketball game,” said Romo, “It takes an hour to play the last three seconds.” Gin!
Bad ideas always have the latest expiration dates. Sunday, for roughly the 20th consecutive season, CBS returned to that shot of knuckleheads in the stands, many with a beer in their other hand, slamming the down-low padding, a standard shot from Jets and Giants home games.
Given that these shots are usually presented before an important play — when we logically should be focused on the field — they’ve become a standing invite to the Idiots’ Picnic.
In a world twisted into knots by the unreasonable, we’re told that to be against biological men competing in athletics as women against biological women is to be transphobic, a “hater.” It is not. To be in favor of fair play is a virtue.
To be opposed to a trans person as a neighbor or co-worker because they choose to be transgender is transphobic. But to be against a male who identifies as a woman as he or she easily defeats biological women in sports events is to object to stacked decks, rigged competitions.
Get ready for rowdy Ryder
We know that more than a few Ryder Cup spectators will feel obligated to act like unsportsmanlike louts who attach golf to misapplied and perhaps drunken patriotism. Will NBC’s voices call them out or pander to them? I’ll take pander, the heavy favorite.
Those Florida football factories fronted by colleges don’t embarrass easily. After matriculating three years at the University of Florida, new Giants receiver Kadarius Toney, essentially benched during Giants-Washington, posted on Instagram a meme that read, “I don’t be mad s–t just be lame to me fr.”
Things that do show up in box scores. Sunday, in a 3-2 loss to the Mets, the desperate-to-win Phillies struck out 15 times against six pitchers in a 3-hour, 34-minute, 8 ¹/₂-inning game.
Reader Bill Sullivan wishes ESPN’s Brian Griese, another whistle-to-snap speechmaker, had stopped talking long enough during Lions-Packers Monday night to explain what he called the “two-high shell defense.”
Distressing but not surprising to see Hall of Famers line up to shill for betting operations designed to beat their fans out of their money with get-rich-tonight come-ons. Add: Wayne Gretzky.
Are N.J. taxpayers expected to fund the bail for arrested Rutgers football recruits?
Mets 41-year-old pitcher Rich Hill on Sunday legged out a hit by running faster to first than 28-year-old teammate Javy Baez chooses.
The difference between Zach Wilson this year, Sam Darnold last year, and Sam Darnold this year, is Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey. Had the Jets had a talented multiple-options back who provides offensive lines relief while forcing linebackers to keep their distance — a McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook — Darnold would still be the Jets’ QB.
Just as NBC’s “plausibly live” Olympics was a slick way of saying “intentionally deceptive,” politicians and corporation heads who promise “more transparency” are actually promising to be “less dishonest.” Why not promise to just “tell the truth”?
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