As sports get more inexplicable, broadcasts get more inscrutable – New York Post

Help, please: Are sports now tougher to watch or to explain?

Friday, it appeared that the only one unaware that CC Sabathia often starts poorly before rolling was Joe “By The Comic Book” Girardi, who yanked Sabathia after 77 pitches. Sabathia was pulled having retired his last 12-of-13, with an 8-3 lead, and likely to the relief of Cleveland players. You know the rest.

But that’s how Girardi and many other neo-ridiculous managers have been “fixing” the unbroken, as if placed under an evil spell cast five, six years ago.

Or as reader David Marro cruelly but fairly observed: “Give Girardi credit. Tonight he found the ineffectual reliever on his first try!”

We were wondering why MLBN analyst John Smoltz, another who drowns his good stuff in a sea of say-anything filler, didn’t question Sabathia’s removal. Perhaps, as a clue, he selected silence.

Friday’s big game was larded with now-standard insanity. In the bottom of the first, Cleveland’s Edwin Encarnacion left with an injured ankle. A chronic showboater, it went unmentioned that he couldn’t be bothered to slide back into second; he chose to return standing, jumping back awkwardly. He was out at second and out of the game.

MLBN’s “new math” graphic also escaped explanation: “Joe Girardi, Postseason Career: 22 wins, 19 losses (.437).”

Saturday, FOX stuck itself with a lemon; undefeated Oklahoma, 31-point favorite, home against Iowa St. — a game that would be over by halftime.

Ah, but FOX pulled all cherries; biggest upset of the season: ISU won, 38-31, an unfathomable result in large part determined by a once-unfathomable episode that nevertheless made no TV highlight reels.

At 31-31, OU DB Kenneth Murray, extending a post-play hassle that was over, was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, gifting ISU 15 yards and a first-down en route to the winning TD.

Nothing new. Not anymore. Oklahoma is another college sanatorium that spends tens of millions of dollars to win football games then loses them to cheap, crazy, me-first behavior.

Another senseless development was heard from the FOX booth: Play-by-player and ex-SNY studio man Brian Custer showed up having perfected the new formula for success — he screamed at anything and everything, even if he didn’t know what he was hollering about.

Every sentence Custer spoke ended with a transparently forced exclamation point. Late in the fourth, with the score tied and OT coming closer, he repeatedly hollered the time “left in this football game!”

Again, what’s difficult to watch is now as difficult to explain.

Saturday’s Game 2 of Cubs-Nats, on TBS, again was denuded of explanations for senselessness. Last October the Cubs’ world championship was threatened, not by Steve Bartman, but from within, when infielder Javier Baez twice chose to pose rather than run.

Lessons learned? Fat chance. Anthony Rizzo stood at home and watched to see if his long fly to right would be a home run. It was. Barely. And although Ron Darling noted that it landed in the first row, he didn’t bother to mention that Rizzo didn’t bother to run. Or was it that only we saw that?

Later, when Nats vet Ryan Zimmerman hit a homer, he, too, stood near home, watching — watching as it cleared the wall by about a foot. Again, neither Darling nor Ernie Johnson said a word about this can’t-miss-it, thoroughly modern senselessness.

Why, especially in such games, would professionals risk being a base short — or being thrown out at second — as a matter of style? Why not run first, watch later?

Or maybe it’s more that we’re not supposed to see what we can’t miss, making all explanations unnecessary.

A little time out for the kids

At the end of the first quarter of Illinois-Iowa, Saturday, BTN spiked its commercials to show what went on during the pregame.

There’s a large kids hospital just outside Kinnick Stadium, and just before kickoff, everyone — fans, both teams, game officials, 70,000 people — stood and turned toward the hospital windows, waving to the kids as BTN showed them waving back.

“It is,” said play-by-play man Brandon Guidan, “the best new tradition in college football.”


As we now learn that Adidas essentially owned more of Rick Pitino than it did Louisville, the unholy influence of the sneaker cartel in college ball remains brazen and shameless activities, as per what money does.

Oklahoma, Saturday, 31-point favorites, was beat at home while debuting its new “Blood Red” Nike uniforms. You don’t suppose Nike is aware of a huge, coast-to-coast gang, named the Bloods, do you? Nah.

Red-and-white N.C. State, on ESPN, Thursday night, wore black and silver uniforms to satisfy its new Adidas masters.


He’s far too smart to ever learn. Friday, as always pretending to have never been wrong, Mike Francesa ridiculed a caller who suggested the Yanks, that night, would hit Corey Kluber, early and often, for at least five runs. Francesa told him he’s a fool.

More lost tapes. Kluber was pulled in the third, having allowed six runs.

Reader Steve Naclerio: “How can I have Francesa say on the air that I have absolutely no chance to win Powerball?”

What can Brown do for himself?


Antonio BrownUPI

Just after CBS’ NFL pregame ended, a piece pointing to Steelers all-about-me WR Antonio Brown as being stuck on himself to the detriment of his team, a Pepsi commercial, starring and celebrating Brown as a dancing showboat, appeared.

ESPN/ABC’s Penn St.-Northwestern opened to Steve Levy noting a 98-yard kick return against Indiana by PSU’s Saquon Barkley: “Barkley last week took the opening kick to what I like to call ‘The House,’ for a touchdown.”

Until this last week, baseball fan, reader Lou Dudka had never heard of a “front-door splitter” unless one used an axe.

Consumer activists Ralph Nader and Ken Reed last week issued a detailed complaint to MLB about commercial sports broadcasts now being saturated by in-game commercials. One example used was Yankees’ radiocasts, one game chronicled to have had 82 in-game ads.

All golfers know at least one: As seen Saturday on NBC, the winner of the Claiborne Breeders Futurity at Keeneland was Free Drop Billy.

Ernie Johnson, during Cubs-Nats on TBS, Saturday, mentioned that Washington’s Anthony Rendon “knocked in 100 runs this year.” Did he know that 10 came in one game, that 23-5 joke vs. the Mets? Kevin Plawecki, catcher turned mound mop, threw Rendon a home run.

Giants WR Roger Lewis may not play much, and he may have committed a penalty that cost the Giants a big gain Sunday, but he sure had his silly TD dance ready.

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