Now that we’re surrounded by con artists, it’s time to improve the artistry in the cons. Current cons lack creativity and imagination, the kind demonstrated in 2005 by the sports information director (SID) of Pennsylvania’s Division II Mansfield University.
On a football Saturday in September, Mansfield was clobbered by California State of Pa., 88-12. And Mansfield’s SID, responsible for writing the game story on the school’s website and stretched to put a happy face on the massacre, came up with this headline and lead angle:
In the loss, Ronnie Montgomery broke the school record for kickoff returns, with 10!
That’s the kind of con we can admire. It certainly wasn’t the kind TBS’ crew delivered throughout Game 5 of Yankees-Rays — which they concluded was an all-time gem, when it was merely a close game.
The must-win game was played in neo-classical fashion, as if neither team much cared. In the sixth, the score at 1-1, the Rays’ Randy Arozarena smoked one to left, walked a few feet from the batter’s box then stopped to watch his home run — caught by Brett Gardner who made a leaping stab against the wall.
Arozarena, though blessed with speed, apparently didn’t feel that his time would have been better spent running as opposed to posing his way to risk a self-humiliating single.
Or, as reader David Distefano suggested, if Gardner had dropped it, he might have thrown Arozarena out at first!
Neither Brian Anderson nor Ron Darling were moved to even notice this — what no one, this side of all the Utz signs — could miss. They instead focused on the catch and not Arozorena’s indefensible, yet now-common, can’t-be-bothered approach to professional baseball, even postseason games.
In Anderson’s case, he left an early message that he may not get it. In the bottom of the first, Gerrit Cole struck out Joey Wendle with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Given lots of commercial time to think about it, Anderson didn’t think hard enough. In the top of the second he declared, “Cole has still not walked in a run with the bases loaded.”
Then for emphasis he piped, “You know you’re an ace when you’ve never walked in a run with the bases loaded.”
Reader Charles Fowler: “I think I remember the time he walked in a run with runners on first and second. But probably not.”
With the Yanks, down, 2-1, in the ninth and desperate for a base runner with no out, can’t-be-bothered home-run or strikeout payroll superstar Giancarlo Stanton struck out on five pitches, never swinging the bat. Strike three bounced away from the catcher, so Stanton ran hard, forcing a throw. He knew this was well worth a last ditch try!
Fat chance. He just stood there and waited for the catcher to tag him. And again, Anderson and Darling pretended we didn’t notice. Perhaps that would bruise their “great game!” angle.
I dunno: 24 strikeouts, seven pitchers, six hits, two Yankees’ errors, all three runs on one-run homers, seven walks in a 3-hour, 25-minute, 8 ½-inning game, two players choosing to dog it. A classic or a con?
Monday, George Springer of the Astros, down 1-0 in games to the Rays and down 3-1 in this one, in the seventh, struck out. He then watched the ball kick away from the catcher, but Springer just stood there, waiting to be tagged.
Again, Darling — who not long ago often lamented the loss of smart, winning baseball — just let it go.
But perhaps Springer, now that TV has flatly reported that he has surpassed Babe Ruth for “postseason home runs” — a no-context con — is entitled.
The 1941 Yanks-Dodgers World Series was determined by a dropped third strike by Brooklyn’s Mickey Owen. Charlie Heinrich, rather than surrender, ran to first, and Series losers and winners swapped places. The rules haven’t changed, but as we’re frequently reminded as per incomplete sentence, “The Game has changed.”
And, of course, MLB is steered by the con artistry of Rob Manfred, who declared the “top priority” of his stewardship is to embrace children as players, fans and baseball’s future — while eliminating Saturday afternoon games for TV money.
Team tied at half goes on to win
TV has never seemed more inattentive. Saturday, Texas-Oklahoma was tied at 17 at the half when Fox posted a graphic informing us that the team with the lead at the half has won the past 11 games.
Farewell to Devils goaltender Corey Schneider, always a good and giving TV interview who never ducked. Though if he signs with the Islanders, as expected, it will be: Welcome back, Corey!
Sixty years since Bill Mazeroski’s Game 7 World Series-ending homer vs. the Yankees (the “walk-off” had not yet been invented). I was 8 but remain emotionally scarred. By the way, that 24-hit 10-9 final was played in 2:36. There were zero strikeouts.
The Braves have broken the postseason record for average gold chains per neck.
Fox’s Joe Buck didn’t play business-footsie with MLB on Tuesday, noting the 33-minute half-inning for the Braves to score three against the Dodgers, then, at its end, noting, to those still conscious, that the nine-inning game ran a ridiculous 4:12.
As if he has any idea, WFAN’s Evan Roberts is renting out his name, credibility and dignity to tout FanDuel football parlay bets — among the biggest sucker bets with the worst payoffs. Promo Code: Shameless.
The Bills killed the Titans in third-down efficiency Tuesday night, 13 of 17 to Tennessee’s paltry 6 of 10. That the Titans won, 42-16, is of no statistical importance.
As for that technologically advanced but practically useless “BaseCam” — though it may be useful to locate a dislodged contact lens — reader Michael Peter dissents: “I love the BaseCam. Now I can watch the games like I do when I’m there — lying on my belly, looking at second base.” Then again, the late Victor Borge said Mozart is “mostly recognized as a bust.”
Feely covers all his bases by contradicting himself
Tuesday night on CBS, analyst Jay Feely, the former Jets kicker who never cut our ears a break, saw the Bills preparing to go for a 2-point conversion after scoring to trail the Titans, 28-16. “It’s the right call,” he said before the 2-pointer failed.
Back from commercials, Feely said, “I would have kicked the extra point.” Oh.
Early in Sunday’s night’s Vikings-Seahawks, NBC’s know-it-all and now fully inflated gasbag Cris Collinsworth said Seattle DT Jarran Reed “had a big year in 2018, with 10.5 sacks, but nothing close to that, since.”
But “since” was just one season — last season. And, given that Reed last season was suspended six games — reportedly for the assault of his girlfriend — Collinsworth was fully unprepared to discuss Reed’s 2019 “slump,” but that didn’t stop him.