Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Sunday Meltdown

Kevin Durant and Steve Kerr (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Quite a day so far, no?

Let's start with the news from the NBA. Oh, I know that we don't do much NBA here, but then again, why? Because the Knicks (and the Nets also) have been largely uninspiring.

The Knicks remain so. The Nets are now in the conversation to win a title after reports have surfaced that the Brooklyn squad have acquired Kevin Durant (injured, yes), Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. That's according to Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter.

So Knicks: What. The. ****?

It's been almost 50 years since '69-70, 46 years since their last title in '73, 25 years since they were up 3-2 the night of the OJ Bronco chase, and 20 years since their run as an eight-seed to the Finals where the Spurs laughed at them.

They suck. Plain and simple. They are the worst franchise in New York, by a hair over the dysfunction in Queens*.

*Oh I was told last night that I would be best served to avoid writing about the Mets. Is it OK if I do so anyway? Because, you know, it's not like I'm supposed to try to write (and say) interesting content or anything. Thanks for the permission.

However, one other thing. If this -- remember, this is sports -- causes you such pain that you say you're essentially unhappy in your life, I have two options for you: 1) Stop because you're being overdramatic (and embarrassing), or 2) seek therapy. Seriously. Get help because it's sort of pathetic.

I love sports. They've brought me joy (and, yes, heartache) but the sun came up the next day. Myriad big game losses and other minutiae never changed the fact that life does, indeed, go on. I've functioned completely the day after, with the one exception being the time that I didn't have to work and I was told we were getting out of town for the day.

I have love, a son, a mother, friends, nieces, nephews, siblings, cousins, and so on.

Check your priorities.

Here endeth the lesson.

Originally, this post was going to be about sports broadcasting (a shock, I know). I paid super close attention to the Yankees/Red Sox calls this weekend while they were in London, and decided to really listen to the ESPN TV feed today.

I rigged up a system where I could listen to the call while I mowed the lawn, thus forcing me to pay closer attention.

Yes, I could have opted for the ESPN Radio call, but I'm not a big fan of that either, and I decided to pass on John and Suzyn because I really wanted to give ESPN TV a chance.

What an unmitigated disaster.

Before you come at me about Jessica Mendoza, let me say this: she knows the game. No question. She also seems great. Just super approachable. What has finally hit me about her is that the Sunday Night Baseball group doesn't utilize her directly. Let her work in a smaller format and maybe she can do some good.

Then she'll open up about pitching and playing the game, and not just statistics. She has a good personality for this. It needs the right forum to shine.

Alex Rodriguez can also be a very good analyst but he's so busy being A-Rod that we forget that few prepare harder. He also definitely knows the game.

Both of these analysts actually brought good information at times.

It's Matt Vasgersian who is the problem.

The list of mistakes is too numerous to count, from misidentified players to a complete whiff on the album cover of The Beatles' Abbey Road. It's a fairly iconic picture, and his take was, well, extraordinarily bad.

"John was second and George didn't have shoes on," he said. Wow. Beatles fan you're not. Please turn in your card.

Supposedly, the game was being played in "Central Europe." Um. Nope. If it was one mistake, OK -- it happens.

Let's not forget the ball that Aaron Hicks hit off his shin, and Mr. V wondering "if he lost his footing."

Then there was a cheap shot he took at Philadelphia while talking about art, and "they have a guy like that in Philly, but he will paint the side of your car.”

Some people think they're just so funny.

Oh and the whole broadcast got it wrong about the Yankees wearing pinstripes as a road team, having done so in 2004 in Japan.

But that aside, there was just so much that had me literally yelling while pushing the mower around.

From a "nuts and bolts" perspective, doing TV doesn't mean that you should ignore your responsibility to, you know, call the game. I still firmly believe in the basic elements, such as simple details of scores, ball, strike, outs, and where the play goes.

Joe Buck does this exceptionally well and, of course, there's Vin Scully, who knew that he might have someone in the audience who couldn't watch for some reason.

From underneath my headphones, "Mattie V" rarely gave me the score, and I waited patiently for pertinent details of where the ball was.

At times, either A-Rod or Jess were talking as the ball was being in play. I prefer that analysts working with me stop talking at the point of the pitch being thrown.

That's just me.

This all served as a great reminder for me that people rely on the words and the pictures. Audio and video work together, and that's why the 1980 "announcerless broadcast" was awful.

But there's no question that FOX did a superior job over ESPN this weekend in London, and that Joe Buck is actually underappreciated. Sorry -- but I'm saying it.

It was a day for truly unlistenable broadcasts -- in London, as well as in Connecticut.

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