It’s the continuing normalization of the preposterous, an invite to get out, stay out — by order of the authorities.
Consider that this week a New York City councilman had to tell the Commissioner of Baseball that MLB’s now-standard two- and three-hour rain delays — no rain checks or refunds even if games start at 10 p.m. in an empty stadium despite an announced paid attendance of 40,000 — are a rank rip-off.
As if Rob Manfred, like Bottom Line Bud Selig, was unaware. Selig was the last to acknowledge that MLB was addicted to steroids and its attendant money — but then pretended to be the hero to pull the alarm.
These endless money-for-nothing weather delays have become standard the last 20 years. But a rash of them early this season left local customers holding expensive empty bags, moving Brooklyn Councilman Justin Brannan to blow a whistle long ago swallowed by local government and media.
Manfred’s response to Brannan was defiant, shamelessly disingenuous and childish. He claimed, “The challenge we face in scheduling and rescheduling is fitting each club’s 162 games into a span of 186 days.”
Well, no fooling.
But how does that justify suckering customers? How does that excuse MLB from offering patrons a choice between a lose-lose in rotten weather — staying put and risking losing their money or attending and risking their time, ticket money and added money for travel, parking, stadium food and drink during a two- or three-hour wait in cold, wind and rain?
It has nothing to do with money, money donated to team owners by MLB’s helplessly suckered customers?
Isn’t money, as opposed to a sensible, warmer-climate game, why Sunday’s Brewers at Cubs was played at night in 45 degrees and 15-20 mph Lake Michigan winds? It had nothing to do with selling MLB’s authority, customers and soul to ESPN?
Or does Manfred feel that customers — the Yanks call them “guests” — should pay the freight for MLB’s institutionalized excesses?
Monday’s O’s-Yankees game was scheduled for a 6:35 p.m. start. With rain, wind and temperatures in the mid-40s — and forecast through the night — it logically, humanely should have been postponed by 4 p.m. to save customers the expense and suspense.
Instead, it was postponed at 8:48 p.m., with a few dozen customers in the Stadium, none of whom, I presume, were Manfred’s friends and family.
The Orioles, incidentally, have had three rain delays this season totaling 7 hours, 45 minutes! But Manfred’s clearly good with that.
Tuesday, another soaker, the Yanks called the game before game time. Mazel tov! But they still stuck it to customers.
Matt Jonathan, a “big Yankee fan from Staten Island,” drove the hour and a half to the Stadium to learn of the rainout. But as long as he was there, he’d go to the ticket window and exchange his tickets.
But the ticket window, when it sensibly could serve those who did as Jonathan planned, had closed.
“I was told to come back another day. I have never been more angry at the team.”
Line forms to the rear, Matt. MLB sure could use a commissioner.
YES-casters leave viewers in dark over K-tastrophe
This Weak In Baseball: After eight innings Sunday, the Rays’ park went dark. So YES threw it to the studio, where the big story, to that point, surely would be addressed:
After eight and against three pitchers, the Yanks had struck out 16 times — two-thirds of their outs were by strikeout! Even by current standards and a 3-1 lead, hideous.
And the Rays had already K’d nine times — 25 K’s after eight innings versus five pitchers. Nuts!
But that was ignored by studio numerologist Jack Curry, who presented a microcosmic, analytical treatise — replete with stat and percentage graphics — showing that Masahiro Tanaka’s splitter may be coming around.
In the end, the teams, against seven pitchers, totaled 16 hits and 29 strikeouts. But no big deal. Analytics are what counts.
Tuesday in Boston, the Red Sox led the Rockies, 3-2, after seven innings. Boston’s big-ticket starter, Chris Sale, among 21 outs, had 17 strikeouts!
Manager Alex Cora then pulled him, thrilling the Rockies, who won, 5-4, in 11. Totals: Ten pitchers allowed 15 hits, struck out 34!
Tuesday in D.C., Noah Syndergaard, with Todd Frazier on first, one out, hit a high infield pop, then just stood at the plate, watching. The ball was caught by shortstop Wilmer Difo. Noooo!
As Todd Zeille noted on SNY, this was a double disregard of Day 1 fundamentals. By not running, Syndergarrd was an easy double play — had Difo allowed the ball to drop. But as Zeile added, Difo ignored teammates calls to let it drop.
Big league baseball, folks!
Backwards, TV keeps taking us there. The sell, no matter how transparent, supersedes all.
Five minutes into its live PGA Championship coverage Thursday, TNT bolted for a Vegas casino and a lengthy sponsored report on the latest gambling odds on players.
Ten minutes after that, TNT cut to an insert promo, taped the night before, during which Ernie Johnson, Shaq O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley held a long, silly discussion on the PGA Championship and shilled for Friday night’s Raptors-Bucks telecast.
Two minutes later, it was back to Vegas for more sponsored gambling talk.
And all while live coverage of a major — Brooks Koepka was shooting -7 — by design, was hidden from view.
Analyze this: ESPN goes daft over NBA draft lottery
Not that we expected better, but ESPN did to the NBA draft lottery what 1-year-olds do to bowls of spaghetti and tomato sauce.
ESPN shipped in several busloads of NBA experts, many imagined, to analyze a lottery. How do you analyze a lottery? You don’t. They’re matters of chance. There’s nothing to analyze. May as well invest in the pre-owned lottery tickets business.
And not that we expected better, but ESPN’s Sunday night game, Brewers-Cubs, again was sacrificed to a theme — this one, “The Life And Times of Christian Yelich” as endlessly told to and by Alex Rodriguez.
Then there was the usual four-eyes-needed split-screen live half-coverage and the countless shots of the booth to remind us that we wouldn’t be watching if not for the presence of Matt Vasgersian, Jessica Mendoza and Rodriguez.
Public relations often are the art of faking sincerity.
On Mothers Day, MLB teams wore pink caps, jerseys, sleeves and shoes and swung pink bats.
Had just one of those conspicuously pink items been worn and then the tens of thousands of dollars spent on the rest been donated to say, breast cancer research, MLB could have added substance to style.
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