August 21, 2014
By: Phil Mushnick
From: New York Post
Just in case you’re not yet convinced that the world has become unglued, try this one on:
Online and offshore gambling sites have been posting odds and accepting bets for Little League World Series games. Seven come 11, baby needs new spikes!
Who do you like in the International bracket? Well, to have bet Japan, perennial foreign favorite, you had to risk $250 to win $100. And Japan had to beat Mexico on Thursday just to stay alive in the
International bracket after losing on Wednesday to South Korea (North Korea was never entered, although its Supreme Beloved Leader, Kim Jong-un, was reported by the state news agency to have hit six home runs, four of them grand slams, in just his first at-bat).
If you liked the US finalist among 12 and 13-year-olds to win ESPN’s too much, too soon Summer Classic, you had to risk $140 to win $100.
Hey, it’s not sports unless it’s on TV — and ESPN has well taken care of that. Lines on the game becomes the next logical step.
And so here we are.
Reader Bill Fleming wonders how long before ESPN retitles (“rebrands”) the LLWS as “August Madness.”
Me? I figure “ESPN’s Little League World Series Home Run Derby, sponsored by Cheerios, Nike and the Mirage Hotel & Casino” is coming — in prime time. Chris Berman hosting, of course.
Making what you want of statistics
Keith Hernandez seems oddly eager to tell SNY’s audiences that he only occasionally follows the Mets. Wednesday from Oakland, Calif., he said that at 33, Curtis Granderson no longer steals bases. “He hasn’t stolen many — any — bases this year.”
That would be true only if it weren’t false. Kevin Burkhardt gently tried to tell him that Granderson has eight stolen bases, adding that he’s 8-for-10, but Hernandez ran through the stop sign.
On the flip side, the indiscriminate relentless attention to statistics on Yankees telecasts makes the sound of stones in a blender. Ken Singleton will tell you much more than more than enough, whatever shows up on a screen or stat sheet, start to close.
A sampling from the weekend’s Yankees-Rays series:
Ben Zobrist at bat: “Zobrist is just five for his last 26, but over his last 20 games, he’s hitting .370 …”
Then, with Evan Longoria batting: “He’s working on a five-game hitting streak,” followed by, “Shane Greene has retired the side in order in the first inning of four of his first six starts in the major leagues, but that won’t happen this afternoon.”
Next half-inning: “Carlos [Beltran] had made 26 consecutive starts as a designated hitter. … That was the longest string of DH starts for a Yankee player since Chili Davis, who had a 44-game stretch …”
Next: “The Rays were 18 games below .500 on June the 10th [and as an anonymous reader noted, the Yankees are three games over .500 since April 1]. … Their record back then, on June 10, was just 24-42. … They are 17-8 since the All-Star break …”
Martin Prado homers: “He was three for his last 29, now he’s one for his last one.”
Sub shortstop Brendan Ryan at bat: “Ryan getting his 12th start at short. He’s got a runner in scoring position. The Yankees are one-for-one with runners in scoring position today …”
Then this, Wednesday, top of the first, from Michael Kay: “The Yankees have now, this year, given up three home runs on 3-0 pitches. And that’s tied with the Washington Nationals for the most surrendered on a 3-0 pitch.” He then added, “I’m not sure what it means.”
Yankees’ Sterling a true Bronx bomb
Car sickness: To be stuck in a car, even on a short run to the store, when the Yankees are playing has, for the last 25 years, meant doing two chores to complete one.
Even if you could suffer his obnoxious haughtiness, his self-promotional fools’ delight nicknames, and his indiscriminate, self-serving, they’re-all-the-same (and seldom accurate) home-run calls, John Sterling, radio voice of the New York Yankees, would still be so fundamentally flawed as to be insufferable.
Tuesday, from the start of the bottom of the fourth, not until after the fourth batter and 13 pitches did Sterling give the score to a radio audience. And that was only because Brian McCann hit a two-run homer to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
That half-inning, and well into the next, when Sterling finally mentioned the Astros, he kept the Yankees’ opponent a secret.
Twice in the top of the fifth, Mr. “You Never Know In Baseball,” again betrayed his own sermonizing with, “A base hit, here, scores the runner from second.” How does he know such things? It’s easy. He doesn’t.
♦ Brooklyn’s and Power Memorial’s Dick Bavetta, 74 and an NBA ref since 1975, has packed it in. After 39 years, he’s taking early retirement. Even at 74, if Bavetta missed a call, it wasn’t because he was out of position or breath. Amazing man.
♦ ESPN TV and radio this week took a break from NBA drum-banging to hard-sell New Creep On The Block Johnny Manziel. That’s the ESPN formula. Choose something or someone good for ESPN business, pour jet fuel over it and ignite. Thus, Wednesday’s “Breaking News” — ESPN’s stop-everything!, all-day kind of “breaking news” — was that the Browns will start Brian Hoyer, not Manziel.
♦ Sunday’s Pacific Classic from Del Mar on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET) includes Game on Dude, co-owned by Joe Torre, and expected favorite Shared Belief, starting from the furthest outside 11 hole, owned by CBS Sports’ Jim Rome.
♦ Steve Gelbs, heir apparent to Fox-bound Kevin Burkhardt as SNY’s Mets games rover, has been both relaxed and useful. From Oakland, he reported that because the stadium doubles as the Raiders’ field, the pitching mound sits on a large, haul-away pallet. Neat.
♦ Former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has joined Mike Florio’s “Pro Football Talk” on NBCSN, weekdays at 5:30. Don’t know how to keep track of all these cable NFL studio shows and all-day pregame shows and all-night postgame shows, but Florio’s seems more reliant on substance than on forced belly laughter.
♦ Mike Francesa could authoritatively get the time wrong standing across the street from Big Ben. After noting that his big-shot status allowed him to preview “Get On Up,” the movie about “Godfather of Soul” James Brown, Sitting Bull puffed that it’s a lock to be a blockbuster. After three weeks, it’s trending bust.