TV Time …

Last night, I watched the maiden voyage of FS1’s new program, Speak For Yourself, hosted by Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock. It was a good program; it has plenty of potential; it also had a few rough edges. In terms of its competition in the time slot – 6:00PM ET – there is not a big threat out there. In the sports domain, ESPN is running SportsCenter at that time and SportsCenter is eminently missable because you can see it over and over again almost any hour of the day on one of the ESPN channels. Here is what I liked about Speak for Yourself last night:

    When people disagreed with one another, they did not shout at or over one another.

    The positions taken by the participants were rational and were explained clearly.

    Everyone with a speaking role was intelligent and articulate.

Here is what I think the program mavens at FS1 Need to work on with regard to Speak For Yourself:

    I wonder if the program would be better suited to a half-hour time format as opposed to the current 1-hour format. Last night, they had the NBA Finals and the Draymond Green suspension to float the discussions. I wonder if they can fill an hour during some of the “sports droughts” that happen at various times of the year.

    The show can exist and can flourish even if there are some topics where neither host injects controversial opinions into the discussion. I had the idea that they were stretching some points to make sure there was something a bit outlandish in each discussion. Forcing that kind of stuff can create a bad environment for the show – – see ESPN’s First Take as Exhibit A.

    Jason Whitlock should not wear a hat on the show. He is indoors; you are supposed to take your hat off indoors.

Enough television reviewing … Yesterday, I happened to have a conversation with a man who does not read these rants because he is not a sports fan. Nonetheless, he knows that I write them on a regular basis and he asked me what I had written about Brock Turner – the Stanford swimmer who infamously got a light sentence from a judge in a sexual assault case. I told him I had not written anything on the matter and he was surprised because in his mind that was a major happening that touched on the sports world. So, after I got home, I thought about what he said and here is why I had not written about it in the past:

    1. The story was extensively reported and there are not a lot of nuances in it. This is not a “he said/she said” matter; the facts are no longer in doubt as a result of a trial in a court. There was a sexual assault and Turner was the perpetrator.

    2. According to reports, under California law, the judge has the leeway to apply leniency to sentencing in cases of this type. If those reports are accurate, then the judge made his decision and that is what he gets paid to do. You can agree with it or disagree with it, but you should not demonize the judge; he did what the law allows him to do.

    3. You can criticize the self-serving letter that Turner’s father wrote to the judge seeking leniency in this matter. At the same time, I wonder how many parents would not have done essentially the same thing in the same circumstances. You can also look at that letter to the judge as one more foundation piece in an edifice that surrounds Brock Turner with a sense of entitlement. If you do that, I would probably agree with you.

    4. The victim also wrote a letter to the judge regarding the sentencing and she – not surprisingly – did not seek any leniency in the matter. That long letter was read verbatim on television by a reporter. That was a sensational TV moment but I wonder if having that letter read on TV – and then again replaying it a jillion times on the Internet – is helping the victim to heal from her suffering. I hope it did; I wish I were more confident that it did.

Damn! I circled back to television reviewing … OK, I have one more TV-related item on my clipboard this morning so let me get it out of the way. I found this in Gregg Drinnan’s blog, Keeping Score, yesterday. Too bad we don’t do TV Bloopers anymore; this would be a good one:

“Here’s what Harold Reynolds, an analyst for the MLB Network, offered up when outfielder Kyle Lewis was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the free-agent draft on Thursday: ‘He’s 20 years old. That’s what stands out. Most people are 21 at that age.’ . . . You can’t make up stuff like that.”

About a week ago, Madison Bumgarner said that he would like to participate in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star break. Reporters ran with that and lots of people chimed in saying he should do it; someone actually suggested having two different Home Run Derbies – one for pitchers and one for position players. Giant’s manager Bruce Bochy let it be known that he did not want his ace pitcher involved in any such nonsense.

Bochy is right. Rather than TWO Home Run Derbies, what we really need is ZERO Home Run Derbies. The idea has run its course; it was fun while it lasted. It has become a waste of oxygen; it is time to put it six feet under.

Finally, here is an observation regarding fan behavior from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald:

“Rory McIlroy was almost hit by a golf ball thrown from the gallery. You look at this incident, drunk NFL fans, NBA fans tossing debris on courts, baseball fans running on the field – the best behaved people in sports now follow the WWE.”

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

7 thoughts on “TV Time …”

  1. On the Brock Turner case, it seems there is a probation department report that pointed Judge Persky towards the decision he made, which was also referred to by the victim statement as being flawed since the probation officer who wrote it only met with the victim for something like 15 minutes before 95% of the stuff happened regarding the victim-blaming by the defense legal team, etc., etc. and she was inclined to let it go IF Turner had accepted responsibility. As we now know, he never did, and evidence was produced that far from being “innocent” of the effects, Turner was busted earlier by campus police for substance abuse. Interestingly, the prosecution made a point of this pattern of reckless behavior at trial, but I would bet that the still-unreleased probation report glossed over those details at best. Another question that nags me about this is why Turner knew she would be where she was found, did he slip her a Mickey Finn and follow her? Did any tox screen get done for the usual date-rape drugs, which really should be standard procedure for a rape victim that did not recall anything?

    Having actually had a case before Persky (a probate petition) I did have the opportunity to see him in action on cases heard before mine came up, and he was fair and professional in every one, even though I didn’t prevail in everything in mine.

    One of the adventures for Persky now is that the DA is pissed at him for throwing out a case on a defense motion after the prosecution presented its evidence, which while unusual (2 out of 150 according to the Merc) it did prompt our otherwise low-key and rational DA to use a peremptory challenge on Judge Persky’s next assigned assault case. Keep in mind that Persky’s background is as a prosecutor of assault cases, so leniency is not a normal outcome.

    On sports stuff, I’m not surprised Bochy didn’t let MadBum hit in the Derby. The SF Giants have a history of bad things happening to pitchers that participate in ASG activities, such as Atlee Hammaker injuring his arm and IIRC Matt Cain getting a trip to the DL from his ASG session a few years back. The jujus aren’t good.

    1. rugger9:

      You are obviously much closer – and far more informed – than I to this whole matter. As Will Rogers said, I only know what I read in the papers…

      Obviously, Bochy does not want Bumgarner to throw his back out trying to swing for the fences a couple dozen times. I just wish every manager in baseball would take the same stance with every player on their roster.

  2. DA Rosen’s unhappiness with the directed verdict is somewhat odd. It’s not really been in his nature to pursue vendettas and his office is generally more prepared to bring a case, in contrast to his predecessor who had all of the bad habits of Nancy Grace in terms of jumping to conclusions, trying weak cases in the press as well as poor preparation. I recall a few years ago (pre-Rosen) I was a foreman on a DUI jury that when the prosecution rested we looked at each other and thought “is that all there is?”, even before the defense placed their motion to dismiss (it was denied). It took us 15 minutes to acquit the guy, since the ADA didn’t provide a single witness to put the guy in the car at that time in that state (the one so-called witness never testified, apparently the ADA wouldn’t pay for a plane ticket and the bust happened two hours after the driving allegedly observed by the witness), but did stoop to trying to slime the defendant with adultery allegations without proof among other irrelevant issues. Rosen to his credit has put a stop to that predecessor’s policy.

    Unless someone can show the transcript of the trial where Persky accepted the motion to dismiss that clearly shows otherwise, he was well within his rights to dismiss a case brought without evidence of guilt. The transcript will tell the story.

    1. rugger9:

      Dismissing cases is another part of the job duteis associated with being a judge. If one disagrees with the ruling, there ought to be some sort of appeal process that would come into play. However, one cannot be upset that the judge did that; it is part of his job.

      I assume that judges are elected in California. If so, I suspect that his re-election – whenever that is – will be one of the more interesting ones for a judicial seat.

      1. We actually do have elections, but no one is running against him for his seat and so he’s staying put for now.

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