It’s not a cure. It’s more like end-of-life care. Keep the patient as comfortable as possible. Apply pain-easing medicine, allowing them to slowly drift away, no longer to suffer the unbearable pain.
What’s this doing in a sports column?
It’s the equivalent of watching sports fade to darkness in the grip of the grim reaper. There’s nothing we can do about it, so why fight it?
As a local example, it’s inspired by the enablers of Giancarlo Stanton. The ill-advised $218 million Yankees purchase, Stanton now is batting .204 and often appears to not give a rat’s renal gland about winning, be it through jogging or walking to the closest base or through striking out, which this season he has done in 30 percent of his at-bats while only trying to hit home runs.
To adopt a blank and vacant expression is an essential requisite to enduring Giancarlo Stanton Syndrome.
Why waste your anger and frustration on what can be changed, but not by you? You don’t count.
By now, no one who is responsible for the removal of sports from our sports much cares if you’re appalled by what they’ve done. So to apply flabbergasted wonder is a waste of astonishment. Instead, as the grim reapers rule what you once cherished, just sit back, relax and suffer as little as possible.
Though it made scant news, the PGA Tour (trending surrendered to Saudi government money) event last weekend, the BMW Championship, was to some degree affected and afflicted by on-course gamblers acceding to the self-enriching prompts of both TV (in this case, CBS) and the PGA to make bad odds bets on pro golfers.
During the third round Saturday, two sporting chaps in the gallery, apparently with money at stake, vocally harassed golfers Max Homa and Chris Kirk. Both had been very much in the hunt after two rounds.
After hearing “Pull it!” while putting on 17, Homa, among the most fan friendly on Tour, investigated for himself then reported that the “fan” had a bet and was likely drunk. Drunk gamblers are now the most welcomed patrons at sports events as they best fit the officially authorized financial goals. Buy a ticket. Buy lots of booze. Bet with an official gambling sponsor.
And there’s plenty more to come.
While pro golf’s TV business partners pretend to not know this — heck, the most booze-muscled crowds are celebrated on air for their enthusiasm while off-air, the same commentators feel otherwise — keeping the lid on the follow-the-money truths is impossible.
Loud-mother gamblers? “I feel like we hear it every single round,” Jon Rahm, currently ranked third in the world, told Yahoo Sports. If he said that to golf’s TV partners, you’d never hear it.
Meanwhile, MLB box scores continue to read like obituaries. They seem to beg fans — past, current and future — to spend their time and money doing anything else, including the laundry.
Games that, in late August, would normally be considered vital, aren’t played, they’re played at. And played to the tune of Beethoven’s “Funeral March.”
Saturday, while Kirk and Homa were being heckled, five Brewers pitchers struck out 18 Rangers batters in Arlington, Texas. Two-thirds of the home team’s outs were strikeouts!
The next day, in Minneapolis, 16 of the Twins’ 24 outs (they beat the Pirates in 8 ¹/₂ innings) came on strikeouts. Minnesota’s Jorge Polanco continued the comical misapplication of the term “designated hitter” by striking out in all four of his at-bats as he was very likely fixated only on hitting home runs as per analytics, the accent on anal.
In Houston on Sunday, 14 Mariners struck out against seven pitchers. In total, there were 24 strikeouts against 15 pitchers.
The White Sox’s 5-4 win over the Mariners in 10 innings Tuesday, included 29 K’s. White Sox DH Eloy Jimenez, who looks stylishly foolish wearing his cap to one side, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Kyle Schwarber is primarily the Phillies’ leadoff man in spite of batting .184 and striking out 165 times in 461 at-bats: 36 percent of the time. But hey, he has hit 34 home runs, plus he walks a lot.
So you sit there with dulled expressions to see if he hits a home run, which he has done 34 times in 126 games. That means he’s good at it. He’s batting “a productive” .184.
Soon, it will all go away. We’ll succumb to our troubles or they’ll disappear behind a streaming paywall. Either way, out is out. Rest in pieces.
TV replays highlight games’ worst parts
Television is always eager to do more than its share to do dirt to sports.
Friday, during the third quarter of the Giants-Panthers preseason telecast on Ch. 4, the New York City NBC affiliate, the Giants were up, 21-6, when Carolina defensive back Sam Franklin broke up a hurried pass from sub quarterback Tommy DeVito, then launched into a ridiculous all-about-me strut to ensure maximum attention.
And Ch. 4 chomped up the bait, rewarding Franklin’s immodesty with a slo-mo replay. Rare has become the football telecast that doesn’t present the post-play acts of fools as the reason to watch.
There must be a central clearing house for stupid stat graphics that all TV employs. Tuesday on YES, the Nationals’ Carter Kieboom, in his first MLB at-bat this season, hit a home run. A graphic noted that it was his “First Home Run of the Season.”
Finally, reader Michael Perchun: “Can’t watch baseball anymore! Bat-flips, muscle-flexing, pointing to the sky, slow trots around the bases on homers! Horrible to watch. … Did I mention that this was in the Little League World Series?”
ESPN, which diminishes every sport it touches as a matter of planning, on Saturday and in slow-motion, of course, seized every opportunity to show kids showboating — even for just reaching first base — during the Cuba-Australia Little League game.
Shot of rookie’s family a warm take from YES
For all the superfluous cutaway shots within sports telecasts, there are occasionally those well worth our patience and TV’s attention. YES, on Thursday at Yankee Stadium, cut away to show the family of the Yankees’ Everson Periera after his first big-league hit, a double. To be allowed to share their joy was good for the tattered sports soul.
What happened to “the sweeper”? It was the rage of the first half of the baseball season.
With so many Yankees games now the exclusive paid property of pay-streaming operations, one would think that SNY’s simultaneous Mets telecasts would seize that opportunity to insert highlights from those hidden Yankees telecasts. Friday, for example, when the Mets played at the Cardinals while the Yanks played the Red Sox on Apple TV+. But, nope.
While I’d never suggest that ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith (right) is a selective dialect phony, the other day I heard him speak pure, unaffected English rather than the street-brother, ungrammatical stuff he blathers when addressing the NBA.
Given all the Yankees telecasts that have vanished behind streaming paywalls (another greedy betrayal of fans), what a great time for callers to bombard Michael Kay’s ESPN radio and YES simulcast to ask how he feels about it — if they aren’t first dumped by Kay’s phone-answering seconds.
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