Welcome to another mindless misadventure in sports’ only soap opera, “As the World Burns.”
In today’s episode, NFL boss Roger Goodell and MLB boss Rob Manfred return to their homes to find them covered in graffiti spray-painted by uninvited vandals.
Yet both are thrilled, not so much by the fresh free paint jobs, but by knowing their leagues’ latest marketing plans — to wed their sports to images of urban decay and degradation — have paid off.
But first this word from our sponsors, Spray-It-All, the leader in urban aerosol paints, and Riot-Rite, official tax-return specialists for ANTIFA …
We’re again left to ask why? What’s the upside? Who’s the target of the sell? What’s the message? Why must we pander to what’s leaving us low and lower? Why are common sense and decency relentlessly devalued?
This year’s NFL draft, hosted by Goodell, was staged with a graffiti-themed scene, perhaps in celebration of American cities having been overrun by “protesters” who left municipal buildings, residences, homes, schools, houses of worship and statues blighted by vandals, many of whom spray-paint vulgarities to emphasize their civility.
Saturday, as the open to Fox’s Red Sox-Yanks pregame (narrated by a tough-talking poet/rapper), then just before the first pitch and throughout the game, all pretense was removed: baseball and hit-and-run graffiti should be delightfully synonymous, joined at the visceral impulses.
This was a “Hooray For Vandalism!” telecast.
A “street artist” displaying a box of multicolored spray paints, was given full focus and favor, as part of what was identified as a Topps baseball cards “Project.” Half-inning commercials were preceded by images of graffiti.
The Yankees’ “NY” logo was seen being spray-painted to a building’s wall. Baseball cards of famous former Yankees and Red Sox were seen defaced by graffiti. A Thurman Munson card shared a photo of a NYC subway car covered in graffiti — the kind that costs taxpayers a fortune to remove as a quality of life expense.
A car commercial during the telecast included an image of a family unpacking groceries, presumably in their neighborhood — from in front of a building covered by graffiti.
Another cut to commercials included game highlights mixed with video of someone spray-painting a wall.
Yankee Stadium was seen unadorned by graffiti — for now. Time to get to work tagging it with “street art” as a gesture to love of The Game.
Like bat-flipping and gambling, this was another desperate stab at selling baseball to a younger audience, especially those raised on bad-is-good incivility, those presumed so vulnerable and maladjusted they’re easy marks.
(As for attracting kids, as per Manfred’s hollow promise, all three weekend Red Sox-Yankees games were played at night — for TV money).
Yep, baseball and urban vandalism — you can’t enjoy one without the other. Perhaps a Topps exec returned home to find his or her home splattered with “street art.”
Non-response responses still flourish in MLB
Stirring an empty pot: Wednesday, from the start of Yankees-Twins on YES, Ryan Ruocco, Michael Kay’s usual fill-in, sold the wish that we might witness a blood feud at full boil. Geritt Cole, accused of illegally doctoring baseballs, was about to face an accuser, Josh Donaldson.
In the first, after Cole struck out Donaldson, Ruocco hollered, “Round 1 belongs to Cole!”
From beside Ruocco, as both called the game, played in Minnesota, off a TV monitor here, David Cone: “And at the end, correct me if I’m wrong, a little jump [by Cole] and a stare-in at Donaldson, maybe.”
Neither the live shot nor replays showed either, nothing even close. Yet, soon Ruocco reported it as fact, that Donaldson after that strikeout, was mean-mugged by Cole.
As long as we’re at it, Cole joins the list of superior MLB achievers who have trouble speaking plain English after being asked, in plain English, whether their achievements were aided by illegal activity.
You’ll recall that Mark McGwire, questioned by Congress about steroid use, played dumb. Sammy Sosa came to the sudden, comical realization that he could no longer speak nor understand English, not even the plain kind.
Cole, on Tuesday, was unable to answer yes or no to reporters’ questions as to whether he had applied an illegal substance to his pitching fingers. He gave convoluted, evasive non-answers.
Reader Mike Natale, Lake Worth, Fla.: “Please help. My Geritt Cole-to-English translator app could not decipher what he said.”
If we’re supposed to be shocked that a nun in California pleaded guilty to stealing more than $800,000 to feed her gambling addiction, don’t waste good shock. Neither the disease nor gambling enterprises discriminate until one taps out.
Gamblers Anonymous members will tell you that meetings include those you’d never fathom would need life-saving, including life guards of the medical, financial, political and spiritual varieties.
A shocking incongruity can be heard Saturday mornings on WFAN, where paroled sick gambler Craig Carton hosts a program on the affliction, a thoughtful, clean, sensitive, compelling and for unintended reasons, even entertaining show.
Yet his weekday WFAN presence is fully predicated on being a coarse slob, a played-out, bottom-feeding shock jock who relies on socially impaired or depraved listeners.
After a close call at first was given the endless replay-review treatment to uphold an apparent bad call Tuesday, Mets’ TV voice Gary Cohen pitched a legit fit about the latest dubious decision reached via slow-motion and freeze-frame second opinions.
Cohen missed the larger point. From its start, the MLB’s replay rule has overwhelmingly been used — cold-stopping games — to microscopically review calls that were never intended to be reviewed by replay. Like MLB at large, the rule is stuck in stupid, and in stupid it shall remain.
Banned Baffert running out of excuses
In banning famed trainer Bob Baffert for two years after Derby winner Medina Spirit became his latest drug-failed thoroughbred, Churchill Downs cited his darkly comedic “extraordinary excuses.” Great name for a racehorse, “Extraordinary Excuses.”
After Brock Nelson’s first goal in the Islanders’ (How ‘bout those Isles?!) elimination of the Bruins on Wednesday, Joe Micheletti, on NBCSN, went Clyde Frazier, piping that Nelson was “skating and creating.”
The Nets’ Kevin Durant is another college man (Texas) who is unable to publicly express himself without vulgarities. NBA commissioner Adam Silver, one way or the other, should let us know how he feels about and deals with such conduct.
Joe Valerio, Post sports columnist then longtime producer of ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters” died of cancer last month at 71.
The Mavericks’ playoff-elimination loss to the Clippers, Sunday on ABC/ESPN, featured Dallas’ 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis loitering far outside on offense all game. He finished 0-for-5 on 3-pointers. In Game 1 of Clippers-Jazz, 92 3s were taken. Basketball? Sure, whatever.
There once was a man from Nantucket,
Who was gifted a shirt called UNTUCKit.
With pandemic rules lifted,
He tried on the shirt he was gifted,
To find he couldn’t possibly tuck it.