Monday, like tuna in Subway tuna sandwiches, something was missing. It was, in these parts, a gorgeous day. And it was July 5, a national holiday.
Yet there was just one MLB afternoon game scheduled (Cardinals at Giants, a 3:05 p.m. local start). This on Rob Manfred’s watch. Three years ago, he pounded his chest and declared that MLB’s top priority is kids.
Since then, while the baseball media focuses on WAR and RISP stats and free agents, Manfred has been provided another look-away pass. The only evidence MLB has provided on behalf of attracting kids to The Game is to the extreme contrary.
There was no better day than Monday for MLB to be loaded with 1 p.m. starts, yet … Again, what was once was out of the question has become the answer.
But this has been a week in which the right-headed have been reminded that to spend another dime on MLB is to underwrite their own diminished status. Still, there remain steadily suckered customers to complain to those who can answer only with a vacant shrug.
Last Friday’s opener to the big-ticket-price Mets-Yankees series began a series of rip-offs. Only after thousands had entered Yankee Stadium and paid a fortune for eats and drinks — non-refundable parking was $45 — was the game declared a rainout, to be “made up” Sunday by a full-admission day-night doubleheader, with two separate, seven-inning games (the late one for ESPN money).
The shorted Sunday games were scheduled to facilitate minimum baseball for maximum cash, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., just five hours apart. Given that it was a holiday — no work for most the next day — two nine-inning games could have been played had the games begun at 1 p.m. and 7:30, 6 ¹/₂ hours apart.
The first seven-inning game was a farce, loaded with new-standard bad baseball and further afflicted by new considerations, including the must-face-three-batters rule. Designed to end after no more than 2 ¹/₂ hours, it ran 3:16. But had it begun an hour earlier and the second game started later, two full games very likely could have been played in exchange for full-price entry.
Or does Manfred pay for a full tank of gas then indulge three-fourths of a tank?
The second game, which went 6 ¹/₂ innings, again at full Mets-Yankees nine-inning prices, ran 2:14.
Tuesday night, more of the same. Brewers-Mets was finally postponed after a rain delay of nearly three hours. Unconscionable, but now far from unusual. The three-hour weather delay has become another MLB take-’em-for-granted standard. Why not? The Mets sell 24-ounce beers for $15.25.
The postponement created another full-pay, two-admissions seven-inning rip-off. Wednesday’s Game 1 was tied after seven, thus the eighth began with an automatic runner on second — a Lost In Space new rule designed for the 10th inning and beyond.
Anyway, more bad baseball — senseless pitching changes, hit batters, bases on balls, fielding errors — gave the Mets a 4-3 win.
Reliever Edwin Diaz, who allowed Milwaukee to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth with two walks and a hit batter, got the win.
What a mess baseball has made of baseball. It’s like Moe’s Tavern on “The Simpsons.” Order a scotch and water, and Moe says, “My scotch is a scotch and water.”
AOC makes political hay from IOC weed ban
The penalty is harsh — too harsh to remain — but U.S. Olympic runner Sha’Carri Richardson knew she’d broken the rules and was accepting of her suspension. She’d foolishly ingested marijuana that soon appeared in a drug test, and she accepted the consequence of the International Olympic Committee’s finding. Never deviating from the high road, she even apologized.
Enter the politicians, at least one who prefers to holler “Fire!” in crowded theaters and draw attention by trivializing racism by inventing more.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York knew why Richardson, who is black, was banned: “The criminalization and banning of cannabis is an instrument of racist and colonial policy.”
Stop the music!
On the day AOC issued her latest inflammatory screed, The Star-Ledger ran a piece about Nick Delpopolo, a New Jersey resident who nine years ago was expelled from the U.S. Judo team after testing positive for pot. Not that AOC cares, but Delpopolo is white.
Did it matter to her that for decades the IOC has been suspending participants from all over the world — and of every race and presumed gender — for banned substances? Was Lance Armstrong, who had to return his Olympic bronze medal for drug use, a victim of racist, colonial policy?
Those East German and other Soviet-bloc female Olympic athletes, juiced on steroids and male growth hormone, were instruments of colonial racism? As an extreme leftist, AOC should be aware that they were pawns of abhorrent, life-shortening Communist-bloc nationalism.
Still, she marches on. Advance to the rear!
To think I’m the guy who issues the warnings about networks selling bogus starting times.
Wednesday, I set my DVR to record the England-Denmark UEFA championship semifinal for 2:30 p.m., as per ESPN’s disseminated starting time. I added a half hour to record injury time and overtime.
Why, I thought, would ESPN mess with the starting time of a Wednesday afternoon telecast? Prime time it wasn’t.
But with roughly two minutes remaining in the overtime match, the recording quit. ESPN’s 2:30 start was for its pregame show. The match began at 3 p.m.
Now I’m a chump for believing the lies I warn against. As boxing refs urge, “Protect yourself at all times.”
Albert’s legacy beyond sports
Marv Albert’s legacy, cast years before his farewell game last week, comes in many forms. John Busacca, now CEO of a brokerage firm:
“When I was a kid, my brother and I watched every Knick game, even when they were lousy. And our favorite line of all time was always Marv saying, ‘Not the shot the Knicks were looking for in that situation.’ Usually a wild shot by John Starks or Gerald Wilkins.
“To this day I use that line, even at work when an employee makes a bad trade or error. ‘Not the trade I was looking for …’ ”
Leave it to ESPN to try, at great production pains, to enlighten us to nothing. This week the network that doesn’t know substance from style, or context from concrete, tried to demonstrate, via a multicolored graphic, where Canadian Denis Shapovolov’s “1st Serve Placements” (from both sides) have landed during Wimbledon 2021.
What we got were four large piles of computer-pasted tennis balls showing 53 percent in the far left court, 45 percent in the near left, 42 percent in the near right, 54 percent in the far right, plus two aces on the left.
Only a fool would’ve approved this for production and inclusion, and only a fool would have studied it for consideration.
Readers write: Ted Damiecki watched a local feed of Red Sox-Angels on MLBN that was so stacked with stupid stats he figures “teams on the West Coast will soon have tidal charts. That guy’s sinker won’t sink during high tide, thus take him out of the rotation until they get to St. Louis.”
Finally, Gary Drake, conditioned to mindless graphics, anticipated, “Tampa Bay wins first Stanley Cup since 2020.”