I know I’m not alone in the belief ESPN causes insanity, because the voices in my head agree with me.
One would think even ESPN would recognize that with the Yankees-Cubs 1-1 in the seventh Sunday night at Wrigley, it was time to quit its pre-fab, indiscriminate plan to destroy another telecast with anything-but-the-game intrusions and gizmos to finally focus on the game.
One would think common sense hadn’t been so lost that ESPN wouldn’t now put its toys away to finally serve those in the national audience who still held a flake of hope to watch the game.
But the seventh opened with another on-camera from the three-headed yack box — Dan Shulman, Jessica Mendoza and Aaron Boone — engaged in another lengthy chat about something or other.
So when the seventh inning of a 1-1 game began, ESPN showed it in a half-screen shot — as if it was an ill-timed interruption, as if at least half the audience demanded to continue to watch the three continue their talk about whatever.
So help me, a high school freshman having just joined the Audio-Visual Squad would have known better, done better.
So here we are. Again. MLB not only sold ESPN the authority to turn day into night and often early morning — to switch sunny Sunday afternoon games into cold, windy late Sunday night games played by big TV market teams — it sold it the authority to destroy those telecasts.
During that game, ESPNews presented a week-in-review that included Anthony Rendon’s 10 RBIs, three home runs and six hits in the Nationals’ 23-5 bad joke over the Mets.
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Super John Williamson was the Nets’ shooting guard, unreliable for everything except scoring. Two seasons earlier he averaged 30 for the Nets, the next year, 22. He also soon would be suspended for being overweight. The Nets sent him to a nutritionist named — no fooling — Jack Spratt.
I leaned back and told Piesen that Williamson was a late scratch. His eyes caught mine. His were sparkling. My eyes sparkled back.
The Nets, no shot to beat the Spurs under any circumstances, were now without at least 20 points. We determined to bet the Spurs — but had to do so quickly. No cellphones then, thus the only place to discreetly call a bookie was upstairs on the promenade pay phones.
“How much you want?” Piesen asked, preparing to bolt up those stairs. I never had bet more than $25 on anything, but I heard myself say, “Give me a 20-timer” — a $110 risk to win $100. Mr. Wise Guy Big Shot, I was.
The game had begun when John returned.
“We’re in,” he said between air gasps, having made the round trip faster than many of his thoroughbred touts. “And get this: We’re getting 1 ½. Obviously, the book didn’t know Williamson’s out.”
As the Spurs took the lead, John and I swapped self-satisfied glances. At halftime, Spurs up 10, we toasted our opportunistic wisdom.
In the third quarter, the Nets played what struck me as the best basketball in history, outscoring the Spurs, 38-18. Rookie Calvin Natt became LeBron James; Eddie Jordan became Bob Cousy; I became ill.
Adding to the torture, the Spurs came back. We had a shot. But the Super John-less Nets won, 107-105, to cover by half-a-point. Heading to the locker room, I looked at John. He gave me the “Oh, well” look. Me? I wasn’t used to such things — not for $110.
At least I still had my story angle: The Nets finally beat the Spurs. I approached the two longest-serving Nets, Jan van Breda Kolff and George Johnson, to ask how it felt to at last beat San Antonio. Neither knew what I was asking about; they had no idea. Another sure thing shot to pieces.
But for whatever it cost us, it was well worth it. John Piesen and I laughed about that night for the next 38 years.
Tired of too much relief
When I nod my bobble head, you hit it: The Mets’ bullpen again is stretched to the limit, exhausted? Ya don’t say?
Tuesday, in a 6-1 win over the Giants, Terry “By the Book” Collins used four relievers to pitch the last three innings. Heaven forbid he allow a lefty to face a righty or vice-versa.
In the eighth, Addison Reed threw just three pitches, all it took for Hunter Pence to ground out. Reed then was pulled. Jeurys Familia pitched the ninth.
Wednesday afternoon? It took five relievers for Collins to find the one who would blow the lead and the game. Familia, who needlessly had pitched the night before, did both — with help from a Wilmer Flores throwing error — on 26 pitches.
Collins, though, is no different than the vast majority of new-age managers out to reinvent the flat tire. It is “the game has changed” baseball. Fix what isn’t broken until it breaks, learn nothing from it, repeat.
Source : https://nypost.com/2017/05/12/how-espn-keeps-destroying-its-sunday-night-baseball-telecasts/