Sports

Olympic ratings were doomed before Games even started

Rick Wolff, son of Bob and, like his dad, a relentless advocate for maintaining (or restoring) the sport in our sports — as Rick can be heard on his Sunday morning WFAN show — in 2003 wrote an important book: “Sports Parenting Edge.”

In it, he urged adults to choose right over wrong for the kids in their lives, to reject the forces of modern marketing already intent on allowing playing fields, rinks and arenas to become stages on which kids and their supervisors were to bow to the forces of Nike, TV and pro sports marketing to behave like self-smitten creeps.

There was one problem with such a book: Those most in need of it were the least likely to read it.

That brings us to NBC’s Tokyo Olympics ratings bust, an event doomed for dismal viewership well before it began. That these Olympics would be immune from the same conditions that have recently afflicted NBA, NFL and MLB ratings was a wish too far, especially given that TV is the super-spreader of the affliction.

These Olympics came with a TV and advertising-conditioned wariness: Watch at your own mental and sensory peril. Be prepared for frequent reminders that despite financial and physical pampering, many of today’s professional and faux amateur Olympic athletes think of the United States as an unredeemable racist country, a nation so rotten that it’s unworthy of their proud regard.

And for that, every white sports fan has been told, since George Floyd’s death-by-cop, that they are responsible for “systemic racism,” as if white supremacists spent a fortune in time, money and devotion on NFL and NBA teams.

And, at least from where I observed, heard and read in emails, these Olympics were to be preemptively avoided as good people had grown weary and wary of being told they’re bad people. They would no longer allow themselves to be compromised.

Megan Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe kneels prior to one of the U.S. women’s soccer team’s games at the Olympics.
AP

Having never oppressed a minority and never stood in the way of anyone’s advancement — and raised their kids that way — they were sick of being told that they had to change their evil ways, especially by those under the frightened, pandering spell of conveniently blind fringe lunatics, proud Marxists and we-know-where-you-live anti-fascist fascists.

You can bet your cryptocurrency that the NBA, which apparently did no research before throwing in with the unaccountable leadership of sounds-good Black Lives Matter, regrets that it traded basketball to capitulate to extremist political radicals who ignore the countless daily and nightly murders of blacks by blacks — and for generations.

And yet the NBA continued to rely on LeBron James, so obviously attached by the wallet to Nike slave-wage labor in Communist China in exchange for millions. and given to rotten, ready, fire, aim! inflammatory racial conclusions, to sell the league to TV viewers. For those who could think, hear and see, badly diminished returns were a lock.

Such blind pandering has cost the NBA two consecutive seasons in TV ratings, the fair-minded fed up with inequality as a solution to inequality, fed up with the steady implication that they’re racists.

Thus these Olympics, prefaced by American athletes and coaches prepared to demonstrate their contempt for the United States — and with NBC greedily placing its traditionally most attractive event on a pay tier to watch live — were a turnoff before they could be turned on. Never underestimate those who choose right over wrong.

If kids aim to be showboats, Pete the right teacher

Tuesday, “Humble Pete” Alonso was scheduled to host more than 250 kids, grades 1-8, to instruct them “on the fundamental skills of baseball” at a facility in Wayne, N.J. According to highly unreliable sources, the itinerary called for this:

First hour: Pete distributes #LFGM tee shirts to the kids, explaining that the F doesn’t stand for “fun.”

Second hour: Pete instructs the kids on how to brag and boast.

Third hour: Pete teaches the kids to showboat all the way around the bases then back toward the dugout.

Mets
Shirtless Pete Alonso celebrates his walk-off home run for the Mets on Thursday.
AP

We now know what’s beyond the point of no return.

Sunday on CBS, Harris English had a one-stroke lead, about to putt on No. 13, when this graphic appeared: “17-feet, one-inch. Make percentage 19 pct.”

Thus all putts from 17-1 are the same. Doesn’t matter if there are breaks, or if they’re uphill or down; they’re all the same, and all those who putt from 17-1 are the same.

These putts should not be confused with those taken from 17-feet, 2 inches, or those from just 17 feet or even 16 feet, 11 inches. This was for 17-1.

Of course, CBS wouldn’t have posted this and similar graphics had it not believed that they’re the result of exhaustive, pure statistical genius.


It’s not often we’re moved to praise the content of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.” But right at the top of this past Sunday’s White Sox-Cubs, play-by-player Matt Vasgersian hit us with indisputable candor:

The Cubs have surrendered to what he called the “R-word: rebuilding.”

The game, however, was scheduled for ESPN because Chicago, behind New York and Los Angeles, is the third-largest TV market.

According to TickPick, Thursday’s “Field of Dreams” White Sox-Yankees game in Iowa was the most expensive bought-and-brokered regular-season ticket in MLB history.

Even before the game hit the secondary sales market, TickPick claimed that the average ticket price had risen $1,413, the costliest being sold for $4,000 per. You can buy a governor for less.

But given that it was a throwback game, the suggested tip for ushers was a nickel.

How short can MLB games really get?

Dear Mr. Manfred: If the home team is winning a seven-inning game after 3 ¹/₂ innings and a storm arrives, is it an official game?


Follow the Sucker Money: The Giants have unveiled their four uniforms for this NFL season. They’re all Nike uniforms, yet Roger Goodell preaches on what’s wrong with the world.


YES’ Meredith Marakovits, now mostly relied upon for updates of injured Yankees, should appear in medical scrubs.


In a 2-0 loss Sunday, the Diamondbacks struck out 17 times against three Padres pitchers. Arizona batters, No. 3 in the lineup through No. 8, all struck out twice.


Chris Russo
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo
Robert Sabo

Chris Russo remains blessed with the gift of fractured English. This week on his SiriusXM show, Russo said there was no shot of something happening as it was “Katie by the door,” as opposed to the old expression “Katie bar the door.” As Creedence Clearwater Revival sang, “There’s a bathroom on the right.”


Sunday, Mariners 2, Yankees 0: nine pitchers, 27 strikeouts. Game ran 3:48. Tuesday, Dodgers 5, Phillies 0: 30 strikeouts (56 percent of the outs), 14 pitchers, 3:35. Even proponents of analytics now pretend they never did.


Having noted that a recent fall earned me 30 stitches in my swollen head, leaving me signing autographs for kids who thought I was Mr. Met, Marv Albert recalls throwing a family dinner upstairs in a restaurant, with Mr. Met the invited entertainment:

“When Mr. Met tried to enter the small room where the kids and grandkids were, his head didn’t fit through the door. So he had to remove it. The kids freaked out, crying and screaming. Very traumatic.”

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