Woke up Thursday with two questions. 1) What will Kanye West have to say? And 2) Why do our sports now produce far more good questions than good answers?
How is it that the rest of MLB teams and thousands of fans knew Yoenis Cespedes made himself good-riddance to three previous teams because of his selfish unreliability — every team except the Mets, who signed him to a $110 million deal?
But no one has an exclusive on ignoring the obvious. Through Wednesday, Austin Romine, the reliable backup catcher the Yankees allowed to sign with Detroit in the offseason, was hitting .273 with seven strikeouts in 22 at-bats. Incumbent, indiscriminate swinger Gary Sanchez was at .074 with 16 strikeouts in 27 at-bats. Last season, in 396 ABs, Sanchez struck out 125 times, 40 percent.
More: How did both MLB and its partner TV networks, during the restart, all decide to lard the telecasts in artificial crowd additives, thus sacrificing the rare opportunity for fans to hear the real, unfettered sounds of games as they are played?
Why has the NBA allowed its game to be lost to a low-percentage boardwalk game? The Nets on Tuesday upset the Bucks. Cool. But this game — 108 3-point attempts, 56 percent of the attempted field goals — was another that looked nothing like competitive five-on-five team basketball.
The NBA’s rules against “flopping” — once considered a skill (M.L. Carr made it an art form) — have quickly become irrelevant as driving toward the basket has been lost to 3s and outside loitering.
TV’s standard foresight-free neglect continues unfixed, uncured. Tuesday, MSNBC knew it was important to twice replay the injury to Winnipeg star Mark Scheifele, but both times the view was hidden behind fat graphics.
Sunday, the Reds struck out 13 times. No big thing these days. Except they did it in a seven-inning game. Against four pitchers, 21 outs, 13 on K’s.
Now that there are no fans, no parking fees to charge and no overpriced food and beer to sell, MLB has no trouble scheduling doubleheaders, even if they are just seven-inning games. In normal times, the teams would schedule day-night doubleheaders as a matter of pure greed.
So to comply with unshakable tradition, the seventh-inning stretch is now in the fifth inning.
Why can we no longer tune to ESPN Radio-NY’s “The Michael Kay Show” without hearing co-host Don La Greca either becoming transparently desperate for cheap, ineffectual attention — unless he has legitimately become a raging, self-centered, thin-skinned, unglued lunatic?
Why does ESPN continue to proudly show us what it can do with numbers — as if all games are the same, played by the same people under the same circumstances? Friday, when the Mets led the Braves, 10-5 after five, we read that the Mets’ win probability was 97.1 percent. The Mets lost, 11-10.
Why does Rob Manfred bother with his baloney, including how kids are MLB’s top priority, when it’s obvious that TV money is the only priority. This past Saturday, there were no scheduled day games.
If MLB’s new extra-inning rule — half innings begin with a runner on second base — held any promise of quickly ending games through small-ball tactics — bunts, hitting away from shifts — consider that last week the Dodgers beat the Astros on Edwin Rios’ leadoff two-run homer in the 13th.
Not even three full innings of starting with a runner on second prevented batters from trying to hit home runs, until one finally did. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him bunt.
Did MLB, the NHL, NBA and NBA do even two minutes of research before fully throwing their support behind Black Lives Matter, a sweet-sounding but radical, Marxist, anti-American, hateful, bigoted and destructive movement that clearly doesn’t care about black lives unless there’s political treasure and mayhem to mine?
Whether it’s “Yes” or “No,” the answer is beyond disgusting, one that should infuriate every reasonable fan. Good thing there are no statues of Whitey Ford.
What HBO chose not to show about soccer star Rapinoe
If you missed HBO Sports’ special “Seeing America with Megan Rapinoe,” you deprived yourself of such a propagandized tank job that it was comical.
Rapinoe and her guests — fantasy-driven socialist N.Y. Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and the New York Times’ factually suspect racial historian Nikole Hannah-Jones — took turns ripping the U.S. as a rotten, racist place just north of hell.
What we saw: Rapinoe taking a knee during the national anthem at last year’s World Cup, and, though otherwise dressed nicely to appear from HBO’s studio, she chose to wear her capitalist endorsement Nike sneakers reportedly made by sweatshop laborers in communist totalitarian Red China.
Left unseen: Rapinoe’s excessive, nauseating, all-about me, scene-stealing celebrations during last year’s Cup, and her speech after the NYC parade saluting the team, during which she treated hundreds of kids to a mindlessly vulgar rant.
But she knows what’s wrong with the country.
Regardless of COVID circumstances, the NHL playoffs, predictably, have been a good watch as a team sport in which everyone at all times plays as hard as they can — especially Carolina in its sweep of the Rangers.
Celebrations after goals are joined by all the team’s players on the ice. Unlike Rapinoe, the scorer immediately pivots toward the passer.
The calls of the Islanders’ MSG team, Brendan Burke and Butch Goring, have been alert, informed and good on the senses.
When Burke mentioned the Isles’ bubble-housed intramural pingpong tournament, Goring suggested that the best must be “the college players. The junior hockey players were usually in the pool rooms.”
Still, with Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin, who was to start the first game and presumably the second, to be repeatedly fed the NHL’s line by MSG’s Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti that he’s “unfit to play” seemed like lo mein, hold the noodles.
What did that mean? Was he COVID-infected? Sick? Injured? Or was it a personal hygiene issue, say, head lice? That it turned out to be a tight hamstring was top secret?
Getcha New York bets here!
I wonder if MSG’s John Giannone and SNY’s Gary Apple ever thought it would come to this:
Saturday, after the first period of Game 3 in the Rangers-Hurricanes series, Giannone was forced to shill for an MSG-partnered gambling operation, giving the latest odds from in front of a graphic that read, “Place Your Bets Now!”
The next day, from SNY’s studio, Apple was forced to similarly shill before Mets-Braves. Hey, said Apple, just put up $100, and if Atlanta’s Marcell Ozuna hits a home run you win $300!
Giannone graduated from Fordham, Apple from Syracuse. You think their educations included courses on how to sucker audiences into losing their money?
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