Starved for programming due to COVID-19, ESPN went into binge mode the last few days.
First, after Tom Brady signed with Tampa Bay, the network devoted seven hours of programming to Brady on Sunday, and their talk shows, including Get Up and First Take, continue to make Brady a topic on a daily basis, with Mike Greenberg, host of Get Up, doing yeoman's work, sharing screen time with First Take moderator Molly Querin, Max Kellerman, and bloviator Stephen A. Smith. Granted, Smith has also gotten extra air time on Get Up, but we need less of him, not more.
Two days later, to celebrate Peyton Manning's birthday, ESPN gifted viewers with a marathon of Peyton's Places, a series which premiered on ESPN+ last year, with sneak peaks during ESPN programming. Sure, just what we don't need. The folksy, telegenically challenged Manning, already an annoyance with the ongoing Jingle Sessions spots for Nationwide with country singer Brad Paisley, being genuflected as if he were his greatest rival, Brady.
On the other hand, Manning also turned down an offer to move into the Monday Night Football booth, which is a sign the network is desperate to get Anthony "Booger" McFarland out of the booth after two seasons. McFarland works best as a studio analyst, anyway.
So what's next? They missed a golden opportunity to really pat themselves on the back last year, their 40th anniversary year. Now, they can make up the time by unspooling some old SportsCenter tapes.
President Trump is dreaming if he thinks we average schlubs can go back to work after Easter.
Baseball's most notorious agent, Scott "20 Mule Team" Boras, thinks we can still play 162 games and a full postseason this year, which would drag the 2020 season all the way to Christmas.
Both are delusional. But, then, we knew that, didn't we?
Both are worried about the bottom line. Trump is afraid of the economy falling into a recession on his watch, which, coupled with COVID-19, would doom his reelection chances in November. This is the downside of a political neophyte being in the nation's highest office. At least his predecessor, Barack Obama, had some experience in the Senate---not much, mind---before being elected 12 years ago to the Presidency. Trump is afraid his carefully crafted persona will crumble once and for all.
Boras, meanwhile, represents a bazillion clients in baseball, and has almost singlehandedly ruined the fan experience, as teams have had to overcharge for tickets and concessions in order to justify the bloated salaries, a vast majority of them the result of Boras and his greed. He doesn't understand that this year, baseball should and likely will play a shorter season, something we've seen in the past after labor-related work stoppages. He was ripped to shreds on Yahoo! for putting his bottom line ahead of common sense.
In fact, that greed is the only thing he has in common with Trump. And that's a good thing, because I don't think Boras would make a great politician. Ever.
Closer to home, radio listeners have gotten a rude shock this week.
The long time WROW morning team of Ben Patten & Jay A. Scott was split. There's been no report in the press that I know of, but as of Monday, what was known as Jay & Ben in The Morning has been rechristened as The Magic Morning Show, with Patten, who signs on at 3 am, now joined by traffic reporter Monica Velez ("Flounder"'s fate is unknown at this point). The program still runs from 5:30-9 am (ET), while Patten is in the studio from 3-8 am on Saturdays.
A number of streaming services, including CBS All Access and WWE Network, are opening up their paywalls for viewers who are essentially shut-in by COVID-19. It's only temporary, but an incentive to subscribe just the same.
Meanwhile, Spectrum Cable is giving some comfort food of their own by opening up Epix and the Showtime family of channels, normally premium channels, to viewers to give them additional options during the pandemic. Again, there is an incentive to subscribe. How long it lasts depends on how long the pandemic-induced lockdown continues.
I have heard the MLB brass is thinking about coming back in June - possibly for a 32 game season to make the game more interesting this year. Who knows.
Meanwhile, I'm probably going to spend my time with exercise and yoga videos. This ridiculous lockdown has me bored and agitated!
Sincere there are no major sports going on, I have noticed marble racing is becoming a thing!
Check it out:
Oddly compelling don't you think?
It may just be a thing on live TV, the way things are going.
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