If you pay attention to ESPN, you may not realize that the World Series begins tomorrow night.
If you rely on the four letter network for your baseball news, you have learned more about clubhouse rituals in Boston and the alleged role video games, Popeye’s fried chicken and ice cold Bud Light played in September’s historic Red Sox collapse than you know about any St. Louis Cardinals player not named Pujols or Holliday.
If you watch Baseball Tonight, you are more apt to be enlightened on the benefits of embarking upon the John Kruk Denny’s Grand Slam breakfast diet than you are to see a highlight reel featuring an actual grand slam home run.
In fact, if you watch ESPN at all, you probably think that baseball is played only by the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and less frequently by the Philadelphia Phillies and everybody’s favorite loser, the New York Mets.
Just when you think the world of sports cannot sink to a lower common denominator, Fox swoops into the rescue and provides exclusive coverage of the World Series, thereby forcing sports fans to indirectly fill the overflowing coffers of pure evil and vicariously fund News Corp’s future telephone hacking schemes.
Everything else aside, the Texas Rangers will face the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 World Series in a clash between two clubs that feature sizzling white-hot lineups and promise to provide plenty of home run action. Rather than waste my precious and ever-narrowing attention span writing about the action on the field, let us prepare to witness the dumbing down of America’s pastime that appears center stage each and every autumn in our great land.
During the series, we will be subjected to a host of atrocities that includes material relevant to the actual games themselves and an avalanche of tangential drivel that will spew forth from, Joe, Tim and the rest of Rupert Murdoch’s army of evil.
First, the items unrelated to 2011 World Series:
Lackluster play-by-play from Fox Sports. The multi-headed hydra beast of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are set to rear their heads yet again to provide their brand of inane baseball broadcasting. Also featured: a hideous bow tie providing insider analysis from the dugout (Ed. note: I admit, I actually don’t mind Ken Rosenthal, but could only find a photo of a three-headed hydra beast to Photoshop).
The only way this aspect turns into a positive is if Deion Sanders appears out of nowhere and showers Tim McCarver with champagne as he did when the Braves won the World Series in 1995. If Neon Deion could somehow do this while wearing the fairy outfit from his Direct TV commercials, he will get my vote for World Series MVP.
Mention(s) of the New York Yankees and/or Derek Jeter. Some things are ubiquitous in a nationally-televised baseball broadcast and this is one of them. With perennial Jeter fan boy and secret lover Joe Buck calling the shots in the booth, I will set the over/under for Jeter mentions at 4.5 per game. After all, not everybody is aware he reached 3,000 hits this year.
Mention(s) of Boston Red Sox collapse and pending departure of Theo Epstein. I will never, EVER grow tired of hearing about Boston’s choke job in 2011. However, the (over) reaction by Red Sox Nation and impending doom they wish to collectively exert is becoming quite alarming and, to my utter dismay, has planted a microscopic shred of empathy for some of the players (though I genuinely feel bad for Terry Francona).
Endless TV ads for The X Factor. Just when you think live coverage of the game is too much to stomach, we will be bombarded by a plot more vile than the highest degree of horrific sports broadcasting could ever produce—the interminable deluge of advertising urging viewers to watch the latest incarnation of American Idol, The X Factor.
Items related to the 2011 World Series:
Mike Napoli is awesome. For me, this will immediately conjure bittersweet remorse toward “the one that got away.” Every time I hear the crowd in Arlington chant “Na-po-lee, Na-po-lee,” part of me fondly recalls his days of hitting solo jacks in an Angels uniform. Then I remember how he wasted away on the bench as Mike Scioscia perpetually ran (and still runs) Jeff Mathis out behind the dish night after night because of an alleged superiority on defense—a more plausible notion being that he is Mike Scioscia’s love child. When I recall the part in the story where Napoli is traded away to Toronto for The.Worst.Contract.In.Baseball, Mr. Vernon Wells, I vomit in rage.
Panning shots of Nolan Ryan hamming it up with George W. Bush. If you have watched any Texas Rangers home game over the past two years, you have surely seen this pair of good ol’ boys rustlin’ around behind home plate. Be prepared for more of the same, though I still hold onto hopes that the “Ryan Express” will sate the appeals of millions of Americans across the country and subject Bush, Jr. to the infamous Robin Ventura Treatment:
News that TV ratings are down. ESPN, and Fox for that matter, have made their bed from the beginning of the season and it is high time for them to sleep in it. Rather than expose fans to teams that reside beyond the I-95 corridor on the east coast, fans are force-fed a steady diet of Yankees-Red Sox-Phillies-Mets for an entire season on weekly showcase games. Sunday Night Baseball may as well be called “Yankees Game of the Week.” Fox Saturday Baseball should really be renamed “Phillies vs. Mets/Braves.” When none of these teams make it to the World Series, don’t complain because it is YOU who bet all of your chips on the bloated front-running losers. What’s worse is that the sports media–with buy-in from brainless fans–measure the success of a World Series, or any athletic event, on revenue made from TV advertising. If you don’t believe that methodology is asinine, consider the movie, Avatar. It made $1 billion and it s u c k e d.
I’m not naïve. I understand that modern day sports are all about money, but as a lifelong fan of baseball, the sad reality is that the game has taken a backseat to fueling the false idea of an American dream that equates to changing auto insurance companies every 15 minutes (or less).
My World Series Prediction
During the World Series, we will be reminded that the game exists only to suggest that we imbibe light beer that does not taste great nor have less-filling qualities; for this is just another opportunity to prompt us to buy a new car and change auto insurance yet again to cover our ass after we crash our new Dodge Ram in celebration after the Rangers win their first World Series in five games.