The NBA Finals begin this evening; the series will be interesting featuring a cast of characters who have little to no previous history in the Finals. The TV ratings will be interesting too for several reasons:
- The big TV markets are on the sidelines. Phoenix is the 11th largest TV market per Nielsen and Milwaukee is the 35th largest. [For reference, Milwaukee is larger than West Palm Beach but smaller than Columbus, OH.]
- The number of “TV homes” in these two markets combined is about half the number in Los Angeles (#2 in market size) and about 40% of the number in New York (#1 on the list).
- Question: How will the abundance of “new faces” affect the ratings? Will people tune in to see these “new kids on the block” or will they spend their sports TV time elsewhere?
Joey Chestnut set a new world’s record in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4th. Chestnut ate 76 hotdogs – and buns too of course – in the 10-minute event. Here is a task for historians and observers of societal/cultural trends:
- At exactly what point did gluttony cease to be one of the seven deadly sins and become a sport?
Shoei Othani made the MLB All-Star Game as a pitcher and as a position player this year. Someone asked me at a July 4th party if Babe Ruth had ever done that. My answer was that he probably had not because I knew that there were no All-Star Games at the time when Ruth was pitching and playing the outfield; those days were in the teens and early twenties while the All-Star Game was not invented until 1933. Technically my guess was probably correct but here is a nugget of baseball history from 1933:
- Babe Ruth was in the twilight of his career; he was 38 years old and would be out of baseball at the end of the 1935 season; but he did make the AL team as an All-Star in 1933. He hit .301 for that season and had an OPS of 1.023; his credentials as a position player were solid.
- Babe Ruth also pitched in the 1933 season. He started 1 game for the Yankees that year; he pitched a complete game and the Yankees won. However, he gave up 5 runs in that contest giving him an ERA of 5.00; I doubt that performance would have earned him a spot on the squad as a pitcher. Moreover, Ruth’s pitching appearance came on October 1st, 1933, in the final game of the season; so, he was clearly not selected to the All-Star team as a pitcher.
I spent plenty of time in my last two rants focusing on some “bad boys” and their behaviors. Here, I would like to focus on one of the good guys – – Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot. Here are two items from a column there last week:
“Hoop du jour: It’s commendable, but not surprising, that only one or two out of all the WNBA players have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Women are just smarter. Also, more considerate of others. This is only the most recent time the socially conscious WNBA has raised its game.”
“In contrast: Speaking for the dumbest sex, Buffalo Bills anti-vaxxer, anti-masker Cole Beasley tweeted, ‘I may die of COVID, but I’d rather die actually living.’ What a drama queen. One who sings in the key of me. The comic irony of NFL players avoiding vaccine needles is that in their line of work, they get shot up more often than race horses.”
Kudos to the WNBA players on this issue. I did not realize that their vaccination rate was as high as it is; would that more folks would emulate that behavior. And, raspberries to Cole Beasley.
Look, I understand the idea that this is an issue of personal freedom and that one can view this as an assault on the temple of one’s body. And if that is the way you feel, let it ride; no one is going to make you take the COVID vaccine. So, why the imperative to bray about your taking a stand against something that is not going to happen in the first place?
Oh, and one more thing. Beasley said he would “rather die actually living”. Might I take a moment here to note that everyone dies that way all the time? It is difficult to die if one is not living prior to dying. Hmmm…
One of the great foot-in-mouth moments came in 2014 when Dabo Swinney said he would quit coaching at Clemson if the players were being paid:
“We try to teach our guys, use football to create the opportunities, take advantage of the platform and the brand and the marketing you have available to you. But as far as paying players, professionalizing college athletics, that’s where you lose me. I’ll go do something else because there’s enough entitlement in this world as it is.”
Swinney is early on into a 10-year deal with Clemson potentially worth $92M that he signed in 2019. I am going out on a limb here, but I suspect that the recent actions that will pay some Clemson players to play football there are not going to force him to “go do something else.”
Finally, since I quoted Bob Molinaro above, let me close with another of his observations:
“Chattering class: Wimbledon’s TV coverage suffers from too much in-match palaver. The broadcast teams won’t allow the drama to breathe or any point to finish without redundant commentary. Tennis players prefer silence; maybe tennis viewers would too.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………