Game 4 of the Astros-Red Sox ALDS had entered the witching hours.
That’s when managers make games crawl by tempting success, waving sorcerers’ wands at their bullpens. And that’s when FS1 analysts David Cone and A.J. Pierzynski began to lament the not-so-long-ago “good old days” when no manager would dare throw in a promising, let alone winning hand.
Cone mentioned Jack Morris pitching all 10 innings in the 1991 World Series. Then both agreed that such is now impossible, Pierzynski concluding, “That’s the way it is, these days.”
True. But why?
Soon, on TBS’ ALDS Game 3, Nationals star starter Max Scherzer was pulled after 6 ¹/₃ innings of one-hit pitching and with a 1-0 lead. Manager Dusty Baker figured this was a good time to reach into a bullpen that all season had included fewer firemen than arsonists. And soon a 1-0 lead became a 2-1 loss.
Let’s recap: Scherzer, paid $35 million a year to pitch, was paid not to pitch when it most mattered! He was pulled because he’d just allowed his first hit!
Wednesday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon, down 1-0, removed starter Jake Arrieta then Jon Lester, both after superb pitching. Quickly: 5-0, Nats. Maddon last year similarly tried to lose the World Series — the Cubs’ first since the Dead Sea was just sick.
But we’re still supposed to be surprised by such new-age pro-forma impossibilities. When the Yankees blew an 8-3 lead in Game 2 of the ALDS after Joe Girardi prematurely pulled CC Sabathia, the outcry was considerable — as if Girardi’s decision was abnormal. But he has been illogically bullpen-dependent since Mariano Rivera retired in 2013!
Cleveland slugger Edwin Encarnacion disabled himself and inexcusably caused a double play in the first inning of Game 2 because he couldn’t bother to slide back into second.
All we heard afterward was that Encarnacion is doubtful with a severely sprained ankle — not how or why it happened, as when Yoenis Cespedes hurt his leg “trying to stretch a single,” there was no mention he hadn’t bothered to run to first.
We can’t now watch a game at any level free from counterproductive senselessness inspired by TV’s steadily corroding values.
As if Odell Beckham Jr. hadn’t done enough to become an incurable, me-first jerk, he made sure to leave one more reminder before he was lost for the season.
Sunday, after catching a fourth-quarter touchdown to bring the Giants to within five, Beckham spent so much time in rehearsed celebration of himself — engaging in “spontaneous fun” according to Roger Goodell — he caused a delay-of-game penalty.
Thus, as CBS’ Dan Fouts just said, “Beckham puts some life back into the Giants’ offense!” Beckham pulled their plug. The Giants went for two from the 7-yard line instead of the 2. They failed.
Though Fouts next explained that teams have 40 seconds to attempt PATs, he left Beckham’s extended cool-fool act unspoken. Next, CBS cut to commercials, dutifully replaying Beckham’s all-about-me bit in slow motion.
Savannah State’s football team Saturday lost to Hampton.
State’s Elijah Shah caught a pass and was about to enter the end zone when he stopped at the 1 to enter via an ESPN Top 10 somersault. But the rules now state that unless one vaults over or away from a defender, it’s an unsportsmanlike conduct — and the kind of cautionary mandate that can prevent the seriously stupid from suffering serious spinal injuries.
Instead of a TD, Savannah State, now 0-5, was penalized 15 yards, starting at the 1, soon to kick a field goal, later to lose, 17-10.
Maybe I’m out of touch or just nuts, but if I were coach of any football team, mine would be told they will not be flagged for even one misconduct penalty; we will not risk a loss to the immodest, selfish, unaware, macho or just plain stupid within. And I’d offer plenty of cautionary video evidence, starting on Day 1 of practice, then again on Days 2, 3 and 4.
But what do I know? As Pierzynski said, “That’s the way it is, these days.”
Attacking one-side view is fair game
ESPN’s Jemele Hill likely doesn’t know how lucky — privileged — she is. See, if our bosses had just told us to cut it out, but we did it again, we wouldn’t be suspended for two weeks, as she was; we’d be fired.
But after calling President Trump a white supremacist, she reloaded and called for a boycott of Cowboys commercial partners because team owner Jerry Jones insists that national anthem protests among his players — his extremely well-paid employees — now cease.
Again, here we have unbalanced, highly selective social and racial activism and outrage, not a hint of objective fair-mindedness.
After all, we don’t recall her call to financially boycott teams that sign or retain players who have beaten women, abandon children born to “baby mamas” or tote illegal weapons, one in the chamber.
And she has indulged ESPN’s frequent “special guest” appearances of unspeakably and unprintably vulgar rappers who promote and cash in big on every heart-breaking, blood-spilling backwards stereotype of black America — especially rappers who have helped resuscitate the N-word while boasting of their sexual degradation of women as hit-the-road whores, bitches and worse.
And though Trump -raps his own undignified put-down garbage, how and why did Hill ignore how President Obama, father of two daughters, happily posed with and praised such repulsive lyricists and recording “artists,” accepting their endorsements and donations — no good questions asked?
Or was Obama a big fan of Jay Z’s and Snoop Dogg’s but ignorant of their lyrics?
Ms. Hill might also explain how such a financial boycott will benefit the future earnings and good and welfare of NFL players and their families.
Wednesday on FS1, another why-bother? Skip Bayless-Shannon Sharpe was about quarterbacks. Sharpe said he likes the Eagles’ Carson Wentz for his ability to run, “and he’s a white QB.”
OK, and no offense taken. Despite his indisputable racial profiling, we we get it.
But if a white debater said he’s disappointed in a black QB because he’s slow on the run thus doesn’t meet the expectations of a black QB, that speaker would be fired before the next sunrise.
FS1 gets a-Headley of itself
Don’t believe what you see, believe what you’re told, continued:
Example: Game 3 of FS1’s ALDS telecast. Slick-talkin’ cliché-reliant Matt Vasgersian tells us Cleveland has Tyler Olson in to replace reliever Andrew Miller.
Then Vasgersian says Chase Headley will pinch hit as “a countermove by the Yankees.” Huh?
As was clearly seen, Headley was in the batter’s box when Miller was removed.
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