About a half hour before Game 7 of the best World Series in at least a decade, I turned on the TV eager for some pre-game coverage. I should have known better.
Sure, I knew I wouldn’t get any overly intellectual insight into the game or the World Series as a whole. I knew I wouldn’t get guys citing stats beyond RBIs and batting average. But I just wanted t little excitement, a little sense of the moment. Maybe some tidbits about who was or wasn’t available out of the bullpens.
Instead, my eyeballs and eardrums were saturated with aging fat assholes screaming at each other and at me. Welcome to television baseball analysis in 2011.
The MLB Network, which was once the great hope for smashing the tyranny of ESPN’s baseball coverage, gave us Mitch Williams and Harold Reynolds screaming at each other, with Billy Ripken waiting in the wings. The aforementioned three men are all idiots — Williams most of all, obviously. They actually ended their screaming match, “I’M AGREEING WITH YOU!” “I KNOW!” Wonderful, captivating television.
I hesitantly flipped to ESPN, knowing that John Kruk lay in wait. I was unprepared though, for the pale, corpulent, whale-like presence seated next to Kruk.
Of all the things to discuss in the wake of Game 6, the self-promoting one chose this tact: “What really is impressing me right now is Mike Napoli. This guy’s got one ankle twice the size of the other one, and he’s telling his teammates ‘Get on my back, I’m good to go.’ Now that’s a leader.”
Huh. Can you think of any other post-season performers who overcame supposed ankle injuries to lead their teams to victory? Sure does seem coincidental that the greatest videogame designer and political pundit of our time picked that particular tidbit to latch on to. He definitely wouldn’t be overstating Napoli’s injury for the purposes of self-aggrandizement, would he? Nahhhhhh.
On to Fox, whose pre-game show usually consists of the interminably dull Eric Karros the Haircut — but dull is leagues better than the bloviating fucks on ESPN and the MLB Network. Lo and behold, Fox added a new analyst for the 2011 World Series. This fucking guy:
Yep. A.J. Pierzynski. One of the most reviled players in baseball.
It’s like television executives are using my rundown of the biggest douchebags in baseball as a crib sheet for whom to hire. Giving assholes like Schilling, Pierzynski, Kruk, Williams and the rest an on-air platform couldn’t be more counterintuitive. They’re utterly unlikable. And TV viewers don’t like being yelled at. None of them ever make any salient or intelligent points. It’s a relief when the commercials come on. Even this one…
…which aired about a million times during these pre-game shows. Which stands to reason, because the same brain-dead morons that enjoy John Kruk’s “edgy, controversial REAL TALK” surely would buy a diet cola to prove their manhood. (I’m excited for the follow-up ad in this campaign: “Diet Dr. Pepper — Just Drink It, Faggot.”)
So, I’ve been doing what any intelligent baseball fan has been doing: turning to the Internet for pre- and post-game news and analysis. Thankfully, there are enough talented, smart baseball writers around to provide all the insight we need without having to deal with television at all. Unfortunately, that means that we’re entering an Idiocracy situation with baseball analysis — as more and more reasonable people flee the TV broadcasts and flock to the Internet, the TV broadcasts will cater to the inbred yokels who still watch. And so shit just deteriorates, and the quality of baseball coverage on TV will never improve.