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Are we that easy? If the records are rigged why take them seriously?
Perhaps the only reason to watch Saturday’s Braves-Mets game on Fox was to see if Pete Alonso would break the rookie record with his 53rd home run. Fox had the exclusive rights to do whatever it pleased with the game.
So when Alonso hit No. 53, Fox already had chosen to divide our attention by having Braves pitcher Dallas Keuchel on a dugout microphone and camera in another indiscriminate look-what-we-can-do.
But anything worth doing now seems to be worth overdoing — until it carries the odor of on-orders rot.
We don’t get it. Why would we?
Additionally, how can we objectively reconcile Alonso’s 53 home runs as legit when they were hit throughout a season during which MLB so obviously had baseball played with balls treated and inoculated by aerospace engineers or Titleist?
Often this season, Mets telecasts contained the well-aimed sarcastic skepticism of Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez decrying the new, long-range baseballs as ruinous farce that has badly diminished home runs as special achievement.
Pete Alonso completely enjoyed this moment
They knew that we knew that we were being suckered in what quickly was recognized as MLB again not realizing that it was master of its own greed-enriched, foresight-free folly.
Yet every time the SNY crew witnessed Alonso hit a homer, they trumpeted their excitement at his extraordinary and eventually unprecedented long-ball achievements.
So from a season swollen with smashed home run and strikeout records, which was it: legit or artificial? After all, one-third of Alonso’s 156 hits were HRs, while he struck out 184 times.
This postseason already wears the scars of a regular season that further replaced practical, well-schooled baseball with home run or strikeout two-card poker.
Wednesday, through six innings against the Athletics, the Rays had six hits, four of them home runs by the scarcely known, but had struck out nine times. The 5-1 game produced 24 strikeouts against 10 mostly scarcely known pitchers.
For MLB to return to baseballs with which to play genuine baseball would be an admission that this season’s version was fixed and that, again, smashed records were achieved by bogus means — juiced balls instead of juiced players. Whatever it took to reprise the cash flow of the anabolic slugger era.
Meanwhile, latter-day delusional managing persists. Last season, the Brewers in large part lost the NLCS to the Dodgers because of Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell’s insistence on replacing effective relievers to find the one who would be crushed.
Tuesday, in the wild-card game versus the Nationals, the Brewers lost a late 3-1 lead — and the game — because Counsell did it again.
Yet he only did what most managers now do — manage too much, as if all relievers will be in top form every game and in consecutive, designated innings.
There’s plenty more where those came from — the postseason has only begun.
Missing the target with pointless overexplaining
We’d seen the play hundreds of times — a long, slightly underthrown, incomplete sideline pass. Self-evident, no explanation needed.
These days? Fat chance. Thus Saturday on Fox, that pass thrown by Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts toward wide receiver Charleston Rambo against Texas Tech was followed by analyst Joel Klatt’s overview of the underthrow:
Joel KlattJoel KlattGetty Images
“That’s the freedom, I think, of, you know, going out there to try to make plays. Here, he doesn’t quite lead Rambo far enough and it allows [defensive back] Demarcus Fields, 23, to get back into the play, because when Rambo initially took off on account of the scramble rules … the scramble rules are this:
“If you’re a wide receiver and the quarterback breaks the pocket toward you, turn and run deep, straight down the field.
“That’s what Rambo did and he was initially wide open, Gus [Johnson], but Hurts didn’t get enough on that ball. Rambo had to slow up, upfield, to knock it away.”
Not only did Klatt needlessly confuse the issue, his take wasn’t worth even one of the 100-plus words he applied to it.
But that’s how it’s now done, no one in charge to demand, suggest or know better. And so we sit and holler, “Shut up, already!”
Saturday, at halftime of USC-Washington, Fox sat five experts on its quick-hits and highlights studio show, thus ensuring not one of the five could be distinguished as worth hearing. Expensive, worthless, ridiculous and now standard.
Booger McFarland, before ESPN decided to jam him into that beyond absurd one-man sideline trolley during “Monday Night Football,” wasn’t half bad as an ESPN studio analyst. And though ESPN made him an easy, large and slowly moving target last season, he’s not bad as Jason Witten’s inside-the-booth replacement. He’s certainly an improvement on hired-on-a-wish Witten.
McFarland must work on making short stories short, get in and out before he becomes his own echo, but he often demonstrates the strength of CBS’ Gary Danielson in that, prior to snaps, he recognizes then applies the circumstances to wisely suggest where the play will be headed.
Besides, given what ESPN did to him last season, he deserves a mulligan.
By the way, the Booger McFarland Name Of The Week is awarded to Arkansas linebacker Bumper Pool. Yes, his real name is Bumper James Morris Pool. No relation to Parcheesi Board or Grand Theft Otto.
Personal foul for needless bad rule
The NFL makes more rules than sense. Sunday, the Patriots were up 16-10 in the fourth quarter when Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen was knocked senseless and out the rest of the game by a vicious, top-speed helmet to the head from defensive back Jonathan Jones. As CBS’ Dan Fouts noted, Jones made no attempt to tackle Allen.
But the personal foul against Jones was wiped out by a holding call versus the Bills, thus the inexcusably brutal hit that eliminated Allen from the game never happened as a result of “offsetting penalties,” as if they were equal, a wash.
Chris AshChris AshGetty Images
How much is the co-pay to treat Big Ten Fever? As of last week, Rutgers owes Chris Ash $8 million — much of it taxpayer and student tuition money — to no longer coach its chronically bad football team.
As Alice Kramden said when her husband told her that his election as Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler comes with free burial in the Raccoon Lodge Cemetery in Bismarck, North Dakota, “I’m so excited, Ralph, I don’t know whether to live or die.”
By the way, at 45-0 on Saturday, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh instructed his backup QB to throw a long fourth-quarter pass into the end zone to make it 52-0 over Rutgers. On BTN, Kevin Kugler and Matt Millen whistled past it.