Must-See TV? Not For Me …

ESPN bills itself as the “Worldwide Leader in Sports”.  Ignoring the ESPN channels in foreign countries about which I know nothing, I believe the ESPN “family of networks” has 5 different channels that are on the air 168 hours per week.  That demands a lot of “inventory” and/or reruns to prevent dead air or a test pattern for periods of time.  Execs at ESPN must be vigilant in their search for programming to fill up all those hours; later this week, they will get a smidgen of help from the US jurisprudence system.  You read that right…

Tomorrow, in Nevada, OJ Simpson will be up for parole and he will go before the parole board to see if he can get out of prison there.  That event will be televised on ESPN – and other networks too – as it happens; the schedule calls for it to begin at 1:00 PM EDT.  Then, ESPN will air a special 90-minute version of Outside the Lines anchored by Jeremy Schapp.

You may be sure that I will have something else to do at 1:00 PM EDT tomorrow; I have been meaning to find time to arrange the paper clips in my desk drawer…  However, you may be enticed to tune in to see the results of this hearing because – – wait for it – – you can bet on the outcome of the hearing at offshore Internet sportsbooks.  As of this morning, here are the odds at one of those sites:

  • Granted parole in 2017:  Miinus-475
  • Not Granted parole in 2017:  +325

The proposition will not necessarily be determined tomorrow because even if the parole board thinks it is OK to release OJ, the earliest he would hit the streets is in October.  To fulfill the proposition “Granted parole in 2017” means that OJ must get a favorable decision tomorrow AND that the process leading up to his release comes to fruition before December 31, 2017.

  • Memo to Anyone Making This Wager:  Get yourself into a 12-step program … quickly.

Last week, there was a headline at that has to be nominated as the most self-evident headline of the year.

“MLB Rumors:  Multiple teams interested in Marlins’ Stanton”

That would be Giancarlo Stanton.  He is 27 years old; this is his 8th year in MLB where he has a career OPS of .901; he is a 4-time All-Star.  Looking at those stats, even someone who does not follow MLB closely would have to ask himself/herself the following questions after reading that headline:

  1. Why would the Marlins want to trade him?
  2. How many of the other 29 teams in MLB have 3 outfielders better than Stanton?
  3. Is there another “MLB Rumor” out there to the effect that Babe Ruth was a pretty good ballplayer?

Here is what would be really surprising to see as a headline at or anywhere else:

“Marlins cannot find any MLB team with interest in acquiring Giancarlo Stanton”

While on the subject of baseball, anyone who has been reading these rants for a while knows that I am not a believer in Billy Beane as some sort of baseball savant who knows more than everyone else combined about how to construct a roster.  I will point to the A’s record over the last decade if need be.  Recently, we had another Billy Beane “outside the box move” when he traded two relievers to the ultra-needy Washington Nationals for “prospects” or “assets”.  If you believe in the assessment of baseball prospects, what the A’s got back was more than a bag of hair – – but not much more.

Seemingly, the A’s are always in “selling mode” when it comes to the trade deadline and this year is no exception.  The A’s are 20 games out of first place in the AL West and have the next-to-worst record in the AL.  So much for all the “prospects” and “assets” that have been acquired over the last decade…

Sonny Gray has been with the A’s for 4.5 seasons now and he is the longest-tenured player on the team; if you believe the rumors, he is on the trading block; there are teams that need him and are interested in him; the A’s want to get “prospects” or “assets” back in return.  Let me assume that the A’s find a way to make such a deal.

That would mean that the longest tenured player on the A’s roster – if I have calculated correctly – would be either INF Marcus Demien or C Josh Phegley.  They both came to the A’s from the White Sox in 2014 as “prospects” in exchange for Jeff Samardzija.  I have no intention of figuring out which of the two showed up in a game for the A’s first; that is the reason for the uncertainty here.  What that means is that all the prospects/assets that had been acquired from all the trade deadline fire sales over the past decade did not produce the core of a solid – let alone contending – MLB team.

Billy Beane has been the GM in Oakland since 1998; he has been the architect of the A’s for a long time now.  From the start of the 2007 season to this morning the team record is 838-875.  It will take you a while to convince me that record over the last 10 years is laudatory.

Finally, here is a college baseball item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“Iowa’s baseball team under coach Rick Heller has won 141 games the past four seasons — the best four-year run in program history.

“Or as the hot stretch is now known around Iowa City, Heller high water.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



2 thoughts on “Must-See TV? Not For Me …”

  1. I’ve away for a while, Curmudgeon, but as this is my time off for good behavior I would like to chip in on two points here. First, O.J. Simpson is being sprung from his cell in Lovelock, NV., my home state. Good day, and good luck, Mr. Simpson. Keep your nose clean and you will remain free for the rest of your days. A lot of people care about this stuff, excluding this correspondent. I suspect he will be playing a lot of golf in Florida starting in October.
    Billy Beane (Beene?) has been mentioned in your posts, and while I agree with you on how his (mis)management of the A’s has not provided the team with either a World Series championship, or even a winning record during his tenure, he has succeeded in keeping his job as he must have convinced his team’s ownership that dealing away all of their best talent is good for ‘the bottom line, it is ultimately bad for business. More fans will show up for winning teams than for perennial losers. However keeping his employment with the club is good for his bottom line. In the fifties the Yankees had a relationship with Kansas City that provided New York with some great players to fill in the spots needed to keep the dynasty rolling. Kansas City was referred to as the Yankees’ ‘country cousins’ . The current A’s are now the Major Leagues’ country cousins, as well as being the descendant team to Kansas City. What goes around comes around.

    1. Rich:

      Welcome back; good to hear from you again.

      In addition to playing golf, I suspect that Mr. Simpson will resume his search for the real killer.

      I too find it interesting that the A’s have kept Billy Beane around so long. Top-shelf GMs in baseball make $3M a year or so (Brian Cashman, Theo Epstein). Maybe Beane works cheap?

      Don’t be a stranger…

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