Hardly matters what you order, it now will be served with a topping of preposterous and a side of ridiculous.
Sunday night, as the Phillies played the Braves, ESPN’s ceaseless, repetitive, attention-diverting scroll ensured that every few minutes we read that Bob Baffert had been charged with scandalizing the Kentucky Derby as the Baffert-trained winner, Medina Spirit, tested drug-dirty.
Shame-shame on Baffert — again. Another horse-racing calamity, this time in its most prestigious event.
At the same time, Alex Rodriguez, twice scandalized drug cheat/liar, called the game as ESPN’s lead, we-couldn’t-hire-better, couldn’t-be-prouder MLB analyst. ESPN is accomplished at putting the “con” in contradiction.
Tuesday, The Post’s Josh Kosman reported that Nets’ part-time star Kyrie Irving had invested money in a minority-owned, operated and staffed — segregated? — consulting business that “seeks to provide a more equitable process that eliminates systemic barriers to entry,” no examples of offenders given.
It therefore stands to reason that if Irving’s NBA employment standards are applied, his employees, for any and all reasons — events that cause emotional distress, the need to cease working for days at a time for personal, unexplained reasons — will be allowed, if not encouraged, to disappear, no risk to continued employment.
Given his NBA employment history and tens of millions of dollars in pay, how could Irving ask, let alone insist, on better from his employees?
Back to Baffert. This week he recalled a past incident in which he claimed a groom ingested cough syrup then urinated on his horse’s stable fodder, which was then eaten by his horse (the equivalent to: “My baby brother ate my homework”). This type of “alibi” does nothing to exculpate numbers that create more suspicion than legitimate glory:
Just two full-time thoroughbred trainers in recent history have had win percentage rates as high as 32 percent, an incredibly high thus dubious rate as per the achievements of Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong and the afore-noted Rodriguez: Baffert and Jason Servis.
Last year Servis was indicted on federal charges as part of a horse-drugging ring that included trainers and veterinarians. This year, Baffert’s latest Derby “win” has wrecked Saturday’s Preakness.
Still, for all Baffert’s “success” — he’s in racing’s Hall of Fame — he has been hit with five recent horse drug-busts. Yet he now asks that you consider him a victim, specifically, as he later said this week, of the sweeping “cancel culture.” You’d think his name is being removed from schoolbooks.
Fine. He’s a victim of the cancel culture. But how does that explain that once again the trainer of championship horses — and now one to have won the latest Kentucky Derby — is again the last to know what goes on in his barns? Aren’t the labels of medications read before application?
At best, let’s give Baffert the benefit of the most extreme doubt: He’s innocent. In that case he’d be guilty of negligence in the extreme — yet again.
What’ll it be, Bob, regular or high test?
MLB strategy: Keep changing pitchers until you find way to lose
As long as our good senses have been invaded by analytics and their upper-case statistical abbreviations, why not add more significant abbreviations, those that distinguish wins from losses.
Saturday, with Max Scherzer doing a Cy Young number on the Yankees — after 7 ¹/₃ innings, he’d allowed one run, one walk, two hits and struck out 14 — the Nationals registered a GLPC, a game lost to pitch count.
Though the Nats didn’t have worry about a pinch hitter — it was a DH game — and held a 2-1 lead, Scherzer was pulled after his 109th pitch — once, as David Cone recently said on YES, no sweat for starters.
Next, entered Daniel Hudson who faced two batters. He made all gone on seven pitches, one strikeout. But manager Dave Martinez, as per standard MLB analytical lunacy, wouldn’t be happy until he found relievers to blow the game. He succeeded.
This was a GLAPC — game lost to absurd pitching changes, now as common as the RBI.
Then there are the daily/nightly BLFTR stats — bases lost, failure to run.
Tuesday, the Yanks stayed hot, beating the Rays with five players in the lineup batting .200 or under. The Rays started five at .193 and below. Lots of strikeouts, balls hit into the shift. The new same-old.
Why are such senseless, game-determining realities not subjected to analytics?
When Kenny Mayne began as an ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor, he was well worth our time and attention. He was creative, clever, effectively sarcastic, and he seemed to know his stuff.
But Mayne painted himself into a corner of his own choosing. He became inextricably attached to his detached, downbeat, on-air persona, so much so that his act became an act — worn, weary and, worst of all, predictable. Wedded to the off-speed changeup, he needed to throw different pitches.
Now, after 27 years and diminished presence, he’s out, having refused diminished pay. Pity.
Stats take place of words
Enough! Now, both YES and SNY, in detailed graphics and extended chitchat, are breaking out the kinds of pitches and percentages of different pitches that pitchers throw to record outs.
This is, at best, circumstantial, parenthetical info that can be covered by Ron Darling or David Cone with words such as, “The slider is his best pitch.”
Meanwhile, what we’re supposed to be enlightened by only further erodes why we’re there — to watch the bloody ballgame!
Good take by WFAN’s Maggie Gray on Mets call-up catcher Patrick Mazeika, the one with the bald top and hillbilly beard and ability to hit infield ground-ball game-winners: “I don’t know if he looks as if he’s from the past or the future.”
Still Missing Jim Spanarkel: YES part time Nets analyst Richard Jefferson remains in the habit of making non-stories and self-evident stories very long.
During Yankees telecasts, that fat “THE YES APP” appears on the screen at all times, even when another graphic appears as Michael Kay reads a promo for the “Major League Baseball Ballpark App.”
Two elderly gents chatting on a park bench. One says, “Ahh, my wife’s an angel.” “You’re lucky,” says the other, “mine’s still alive.” … Hey, some of my best friends are women.