Sports broadcasts continually choose stupidity over logic

Sports broadcasts continually choose stupidity over logic

Say, what’s on TV?

From the producers of the stupid questions quiz show “Where Did You Last Leave It?” welcome to “Fat Chance,” the sports game show that punishes common sense and rewards ignorance!

Our contestants, selected from an audience of imbeciles, appear ready to go, so, as Michael Kay says, “Let’s do it.”

Saturday on NBC, as Notre Dame was about to take a 28-0 halftime lead against Navy, viewers were encouraged to stick around for the halftime show during which “Maria, Joshua, Matt and Michael recap the first half.”

That led to two instant questions:

1) Who are Maria, Joshua, Matt and Michael and why should we know them by their first names? Are they Apostles? Members of The Cowsills? It’s not as if they’re household names, like Glade.

2) What is there to recap from a mismatch? Navy’s sole first down?

It turns out NBC was referencing Maria Taylor, Joshua Perry, Matt Cassel and Michael Robinson — another studio panel too crowded to avoid collisions and collusions. “Four egg drop soups! No eggs, hold the soup!”

 Navy QB Tai Lavatai unleashes one of his six passes in a 42-3 loss to Notre Dame last week — a game in which NBC analysts said the Midshipmen, who rarely throw, needed to pass more.
 Navy QB Tai Lavatai unleashes one of his six passes in a 42-3 loss to Notre Dame last week — a game in which NBC analysts said the Midshipmen, who rarely throw, needed to pass more.
Getty Images

The panel did reach a conclusion: Navy would have to play a more daring, passing game in the second half. After all, the Midshipmen threw only one pass, incomplete, in the first half.

Why Navy would have to wait until halftime to reach this conclusion, as opposed to when it was 21-0, escaped me. But the reason Navy didn’t throw is that it doesn’t. And the reason it doesn’t is because it can’t. But here on “Fat Chance,” common sense goes unrewarded!

The Yankees, a miserably dysfunctional team this season, have raised ticket prices for next season. Meanwhile, they are paying career laggard Giancarlo Stanton $218 million to wave at two-strike pitches thrown low and outside in a fat-chance effort to hit home runs while on the border of batting .200, mostly as a designated swinger in order to avoid exhaustion.

In 2019, Amazon Prime Video acquired a partial stake in YES as part of a $3.47 billion deal to buy out Disney’s share of the Yankees’ network. As part of the deal, the Yankees’ minimum effort, common sense-defying games, especially weekend numbers, disappeared behind a streaming paywall, a can’t-miss-it betrayal of lifetime, multigenerational devotees.

But the Yankees are banking — heh, heh — on the continued allegiance of out-of-pocket suckers. Why shouldn’t they take rock-headed patrons for granite?

Sunday, as the Yankees were blowing another lead to lose to the Rays (both the Mets and Yanks were hidden on streaming channels), Yankees radio voice Suzyn Waldman issued an emotional defense of Stanton as a pro who very much wants to play winning baseball.

Just because he doesn’t return to the dugout and destroy the water cooler, she said, doesn’t mean that his failures aren’t eating him up from the inside out.

Thus, another case of don’t believe what you see, believe what you’re told. Stanton’s insouciant base-jogging — a habit carried with him from the Marlins — is evidence of his passion for his profession!

Rays star Randy Arozarena is restrained by the home plate umpire after reacting angrily to being hit by a pitch by the Yankees' Albert Abreau during Sunday's game.
Rays star Randy Arozarena is restrained by the home plate umpire after reacting angrily to being hit by a pitch by the Yankees’ Albert Abreu during Sunday’s game.

Also Sunday, the Rays’ Randy Arozarena again did his best to incite all-in brawls with his untreated, obnoxious, excessively self-impressed demonstrations. Apparently, Rays manager Kevin Cash lacks the authority to insist that he cut it out.

For those who choose to explain, excuse or rationalize Arozarena’s conspicuous conceit as cultural (a Latino “thing,” as he’s Cuban-born and a Mexican citizen) note that the Yankees pitcher who Sunday angrily counter-demonstrated his disenchantment with Arozarena was Albert Abreu, a Dominican.

I also sense that near brawls in response to Arozarena’s classlessness remain “near brawls” because his teammates don’t much feel compelled to go to war on behalf of a teammate who, as they say, “is asking for it.”

Anyway, as the Yankees-Rays game degenerated in response to Arozarena’s flagrant immodesties, ESPN on ABC televised the Little League World Series final between California and Curacao.

Not that we should have been surprised, given the prompts delivered by MLB and TV to 12-year-olds, but the game was littered with self-impressed behavior, all of it indulged or applauded by Disney’s pandering voices.

After a Curacao kid tied the score with a grand slam, ESPN/ABC three times showed him in slow-motion, posing before finally jogging to first. A gentle suggestion that the kid shouldn’t have put himself and his team at risk by not running on contact? Fat chance.

And when California ended it with a home run, the batter performed a flamboyant bat-flip — to the replayed delight of those in the TV booth. Ya think they’d teach the kids in their life to similar acts? Fat chance.

When the game ended, ABC/ESPN quickly cut away from the one shot most worth seeing: An embrace between the opposing coaches.

Yeah, why show that?

See you next week on “Fat Chance”!

High-point a low point for Banks on Giants telecast

Carl Banks (below) has been a valued analyst on Giants radio for his plain talk and candor. So when he showed up on Ch. 4 to work the Jets-Giants game last Saturday and began to tell us that receivers “high-pointed the football” rather than reached or jumped for it, we were left to wonder why.

Carl Banks
Carl Banks
Patrick Lewis/Starpix for The Paley Center for Media

Also, Saturday, Noah Eagle, son of Ian Eagle, was solid as the play-by-player on the Navy-Notre Dame game. But he has to lose his reliance on silly and worn cliches. For example, why say “now in his sophomore campaign” rather than “sophomore year”?

And reader David Distefano has identified the latest in football parroting, the word, “room,” as in “it’s a crowded quarterback room” or “the NFL’s best wide receivers room.” Long snappers must meet in a broom closet.

Your tax dollars at work: Albany has signed Tyler Bertram, a 6-foot-3 guard who arrives after playing at Charlotte, Binghamton and UAB.

If Sal Licata feels the secret to WFAN show-hosting success is to be loud, coarse and holler stuff for the sake of internet attention — a legitimate plan given the state of the art — he’s fulfilling the tacit terms of his engagement.

Called my new accountants, Bernstein, Bernstein & Bernstein. I asked to speak to Mr. Bernstein. Is he in? “No, he’s on vacation.”

Then how about Mr. Bernstein? “Sorry, he’s in a meeting.”

OK, so what about Mr. Bernstein? “Speaking!” he said.

Fitz knows economics of encouraging bets

Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Ryan Fitzpatrick, now a Thursday night studio regular on Amazon Prime Video after a mostly successful NFL career as a quarterback for lease or rent, is the latest to appear in commercials encouraging young adult males to gamble on sports.

Fitzpatrick has a degree in economics from Harvard. Yet he’s now paid to encourage investors to lose their investments betting on sports.

I don’t know your definition of fraud, but that meets mine.

Georgia, winner of the last two college football championships in spite of (or because of) at least 10 arrests during those quests, after last season lost tight end Arik Gilbert to Nebraska through the transfer portal. He first played for LSU.

This week, Gilbert was arrested at 2 a.m. by Lincoln, Neb., police, charged with the felony burglary of a liquor and vape store.

Phil Mushnick

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