It may be worth the retelling that in 1781, when Gen. Cornwallis surrendered the British army at Yorktown, the legend persists he had his fife and drum corps play a song called “The World Turned Upside Down.”
That could be the theme music of all TV sports productions.
Consider that the annual Sports Emmy for “outstanding live special” is often awarded to the network fortunate enough to own the rights to a memorable event, especially one with a close ending.
The production may have been dreadful, and often is, but some voters only recall staying up to watch the finish. And that’s plenty good enough.
To the extreme contrary, cherished sportscasters such as Doc Emrick, Marv Albert and Vin Scully did their best work during blowouts — sustaining the audience with good conversation, clever remarks and topical tales to quickly create entertaining, friendly TV in place of the game.
No announcer can make us watch, but a few can make us stick with a rotten game.
The point? Now where did I leave it? … Oh, here it is:
Thursday night, YES producer Troy Benjamin and director Dan Barr, if you could make it to the end of a game the Yankees were losing 11-1 (and ended up losing 11-2), rewarded the die-hards, stir crazy and those with restless leg disorders with a fun-filled top of the ninth.
With utility man Isiah Kiner-Falefa in to save manager Aaron Boone’s needlessly overtaxed bullpen, and ballpark food-taster Paul O’Neill in the booth, the truck found footage of O’Neill as a 1987 garbage-time reliever for the Reds.
The clip shown was of O’Neill hitting the deck to avoid being nailed by a liner up the middle in a 16-5 loss at Atlanta, or he might’ve been past tense prior to joining the Yankees six years later.
O’Neill finished with a 13.50 ERA, pitching two innings, allowing four hits, four walks and three earned runs — two on a homer by Braves’ catcher Ozzie Virgil — but striking out two, including Ken Griffey Sr.
But the good stuff wasn’t over. Kiner-Falefa was hit hard, but didn’t allow a run. As he walked off the mound, he headed to the home plate ump with his throwing hand and glove both palms-up. Smiling, he wanted to be inspected for “sticky stuff,” like a real pitcher, but was given a pass.
Has there ever been better coverage of the top of the ninth in an 11-1 game? Can you win an Emmy for ninth-inning coverage of a blowout?
Every weekend, especially during college football season, ESPN needlessly overstaffs telecasts, sending legions of people here and there to make empty-headed pregame, halftime and postgame shows that are easily eschewed for some other game, one of many that are on TV at the same time.
The expenses incurred by these traveling, blab-filler shows annually run into the tens of millions, but aren’t worth a dime.
Yet recently we read that ESPN’s owner, Disney, is in the process of eliminating jobs — 7,000 throughout the corporation.
Locally, Rutgers’ faculty and support staffs are on strike for more money. The average annual salary for Rutgers employees is listed as roughly $70,000.
Yet, as we know by now, Rutgers annually blows tens of millions dollars, 20 percent of it from taxpayers, in the feckless pursuit of Big Ten football glory.
What if Michael Kay, on YES’s Yankees telecasts, were granted a do-over in the form of a makeover?
How much more tolerable would he be if he dropped all his played-out transparent gimmickry — the “Let’s do it!” opening, to “See ya!” home run calls, to “Free baseball” come the 10th inning, to forced phony laughter and strained talking points?
How much better would he be if he showed up prepared to simply call a baseball game as opposed to trying to be too slick for his and our good?
It’s late, but it’s still worth a try.
Timing is everything: Tuesday, the Phillies’ $1 Hot Dog Night turned into a riot of sorts as the lower stands were attacked by franks, rolls, ketchup, mustard and relish thrown from the upper stands in a one-way food fight.
Funny, how such charming, never-go-again episodes emanate from Philly, where apparently no one at or near the top one can see it coming.
Also revealed recently was the fact several MLB teams have rescinded bans on beer sales after the seventh inning to allow beer to be purchased through the eighth inning — a profit-driven decision given that games now run shorter.
In other words, if all goes according to plan, the number of drunks filing out of ballparks and into their cars should increase.
The key to modern political success is to not embarrass easily.
The AFC title game earlier this year was precluded by ugly, childish trash talking between the mayors of Kansas City, Mo., and Cincinnati.
Next, the NCAA Tournament final in Houston included ugly, childish trash talk between Connecticut’s governor and Houston’s mayor.
Grow up, boys.
I’ll always admire Mike Francesa for his inability to feel any shame or humility. He’s all man-in-the-mirror, all the time, and he loves what he sees.
On the unexpected death last week of WFAN weekend host Rick Wolff, Francesa — who has been “reduced” to a podcast after swearing he’d never sink so low as to host a podcast — naturally made it all about Francesa:
“Very sad news to hear about the passing of Rick Wolff,” he tweeted, “For many years his popular ‘Sports Edge’ program preceded by my ‘NFL Now’ program on the Fan. Like his father, Bob, who was a good friend, he was every inch a gentleman.”
Yes, Rick Wolff should be remembered for preceding Mike Francesa’s NFL show.
As Alice Roosevelt said of her father Teddy Roosevelt’s megalomania: “He always wanted to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening.”
In service to “keepin’ it real,” the NBA’s new logo will portray the image of Jerry West with the silhouette of Timberwolves teammates Rudy Gobert and Kyle Anderson punching each other.
So what was the real first name of Hobie Landrith, the first-ever Met who died last week at 93? It was Hobart.
MLB Network is starting to push ESPN for the lead in idiotic stat graphics. Monday, after the Guardians beat the Yankees in their first meeting of the year, MLBN posted, “Cleveland won last two games against NY.” As reader Rich Monahan notes, that previous regular-season game was July 3 of last year.
Stanley Cup playoff games are won as much by pests as superstars. Locally, keep an eye on the Isles’ Jean-Gabriel Pageau, the Rangers’ Barclay Goodrow and the Devils’ Miles Wood.
Where would we be without stats to deliver us from the darkness? Congrats to Blue Jays pitcher Jordan Romano, credited with the win over the Angels last Sunday — after allowing two walks, two hits and three earned runs in one inning.
Anyone starting to get the feeling that Paige Spiranac identifies as a female?