Olbermann Suspended…

It has not been a good month to be a larger-than-life TV personality. Brian Williams misremembered some stuff; Jon Stewart announced his departure from The Daily Show; Bill O’Reilly is in the midst of allegation-exchanging with a host of others; Keith Olbermann is serving a week-long suspension. Obviously, here, I want to focus on Olbermann.

Politics aside, I am a big fan of Keith Olbermann and his endeavors in the arena of sports journalism/commentary. I have been a fan of his in that dimension for more than 20 years now. Notwithstanding my fandom, I have documented here the fact that he has been less than a model employee/person at many of his previous stops in his career. Here is a link to a topical rant I wrote back in 2012 when he and Current TV parted company. One of the things I said then that explains why I enjoy him as a sports commentator was:

“Keith Olbermann is a natural as a TV host and or as an anchor. He makes you think and he makes you laugh. Sometimes he also makes you angry. As a host or an anchor, that is precisely what every one of them ought to be able to do.”

Today, he has made me angry because his suspension came after he got into a nonsensical Twitter-war with some folks at Penn State University. The backdrop to this is that Olbermann still holds Penn State as an institution responsible for Jerry Sandusky’s heinous behaviors. I share his horror at what Sandusky has done; I do not believe that the university is evil to its core because of what Sandusky did. And the problem seems to be that Olbermann cannot distinguish between good things done by Penn State and his belief that the university was – to borrow an old phrase – an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Sandusky matter.

The Twitter-war actually erupted after Penn State students staged a fund raiser for pediatric cancer research and they raised more than $10M. Even that was not enough for Olbermann to simply ignore the emotional upwelling he must have felt at the onset of the Twitter-war. Now he serves a week-long suspension from his ESPN program – one I watch about twice a week – and some folks are suggesting that ESPN part company with him once again.

I seriously hope that ESPN does not do that. I also fervently wish that somehow someone can insert a 10-second delay line between Keith Olbermann’s brain and his tongue – or in this case his “Twitter fingers”. The delay line would give him time to reflect on the potential – and in this case the logical – consequences of a verbal eruption.

Yesterday, reports flew about regarding tickets for the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacqaio fight in Las Vegas on 2 May. The event will be held in the MGM Grand Arena which seats 16,800 folks for a boxing match. The cheap seats – up in the nosebleed sections – will start at $1000. It should not take a great deal of math skills to realize that if EVERY ticket sold for $1K, that the live gate for the fight would be $16.8M. However, pricing increases as the seats get better and the face value of ringside seats is going to be $5K. The live gate for the fight should come in at something in the neighborhood of $40M. Meanwhile, watching the fight on pay-per-view is going to set you back $100.

The irony here is that this fight is the one people REALLY wanted to see about 5 years ago when both fighters were at the peak of their careers. For whatever reasons, that fight never happened and despite the expectations of more than $200M in revenue for this fight, the same contest 5 years ago would likely have been bigger. Whatever… Now, before anyone asks, let me say clearly that I will not be one of the folks in the MGM Grand Arena to see the fight.

Some NFL teams wear “throwback uniforms” once in a while. The absolute worst of those are the “bumblebee stripes” worn by the Steelers once a year; the next worst are the blue jerseys with the numbers in a circle worn by the Packers once a year. I am completely convinced that this practice has exactly nothing to do with “honoring the history of the team and the league”; I think this just provides the team with another variety of jersey to sell. This is not about “honoring the past”; this is about a revenue stream.

I mention this because it seems that the Packers are going to abandon the blue jerseys with the numbers in a circle for next year. As far as I am concerned, that is good news. Here is the additional news I want to hear from the Packers’ brass:

    Moreover, the team will not be wearing any other form of alternative uniform for any of its games in the future. Our colors are green/gold/white; our helmet symbol is iconic. That is who we are now and to the future.

My guess is that there will be some kind of alternate uniform trotted out to replace the blue jerseys with the numbers in a circle sometime next year.

MLB.com had a story yesterday that Royals’ slugger Mike Moustakas is going to bunt this season when teams put on a defensive shift. May I say that every player who faces a shift that puts only one defender to the third-base side of second base should be bunting down the third base line on a regular basis. More than a century ago, William Henry Keeler – known more widely as “Wee Willie” Keeler – had this advice for hitters:

Keep your eye clear and hit ‘em where they ain’t.

Keeler’s accomplishments confer credibility on his advice. In a 19-year career, he hit .341 and had one season north of .400. Batters in 2015 should take note…

Finally, here is a suggestion from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald I can second:

“Ray Rice apologized to Baltimore fans. Alex Rodriguez apologized to the Yankees. Hey athletes, how about you spare us the wrongdoing and save an apology?”

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