The presumption of innocence has been lost to the presumption of ignorance.
We don’t ask for much beyond being treated as reasonably intelligent. But that has become too much to ask. It doesn’t matter what we know, see or hear, we’re to believe only what we’re told to believe.
At the close of last Wednesday’s Mets telecast on SNY, boastful Pete Alonso proudly hollered his trademark obscenity, “Let’s f—ing go Mets!” into SNY’s and Citi Field’s microphones. Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez pretended that never happened. Not even a “Gee, that was unfortunate,” or a single, “I wish Pete would cut that out. It looks bad on him.”
Or even, “I love when he does that!”
And again, we were too stupid to hear or see what we couldn’t miss and what was designed by Alonso not to be missed.
Last Friday on SNY, Alonso quit on a sinking liner he hit to Cleveland Guardians shortstop Amed Rosario. After Rosario dropped the ball Alonso was still easily thrown out at first.
It was that simple: Alonso “thought” the ball would be caught. Instead of standing at first, he returned to the dugout.
It was bad presumptive baseball. Obviously.
But Cohen and Ron Darling then began to rationalize and excuse it for Alonso while speaking to us:
Cohen: “It’s a natural reaction when you see the ball go right to the fielder to stop running.”
Then Darling, who moments before praised the Mets’ “never say die” approach to highest-tier professional baseball, further challenged us to believe only what we’re told:
“It’s a natural reaction. Rosario makes that catch 99 times out of 100.”
So Alonso chose to play the odds instead of baseball?
Darling: “The play appears to be over.”
Cohen: “It’s over.”
Darling: “It’s over but it’s not over.”
So stop the nonsense. The indefensible was decorated and sold to us as something else. Postgame even Alonso said his base running was inexcusable.
Sunday, with Gary Sanchez — released Thursday — making his Mets debut, Cohen and Darling only addressed his ups and downs as a hitter. At no point did they address what we knew:
Sanchez, as deficient a catcher as most of us have ever seen, has spent half his career chasing passed balls. For crying out loud, the Yankees hired a catching tutor just for him, a waste of time and money.
But this impossible-to-ignore reality was ignored. At least until Tuesday when Sanchez allowed a passed ball — he escaped culpability for two pitches that were registered as wild pitches — and did the Dance of the Clueless in the vicinity of a pop foul he missed by several feet.
Another case of believing what we’re told rather than what we see:
Tuesday, Anthony Rizzo was demonstrably upset when he was called out looking.
On YES, Paul O’Neill, who reflexively blames umps for close calls against the Yankees, said Rizzo had a legit gripe.
On Yankee radio, Suzyn Waldman made more applied sense. She looked at a replay then said the ump had likely made a good call.
Bottom line: The pitch to Rizzo, as seen on YES, landed on the outside edge of that confounded superimposed strike-zone box. We couldn’t miss it. Thus, if team announcers are going to ignore that box or doubt its legitimacy, what is it doing on our screens all game, every game!?
ESPN & others bury lede with Jim Brown’s death
On Jim Brown’s passing, this week, ESPN published a long glowing tribute to the man’s greatness as a football player then a social justice activist on behalf of black Americans. Quotes of the highest praise for Brown, from LeBron James and Barack Obama, were included. Roger Goodell called him the ultimate “role model.”
Those who knew better — that Brown had a predilection for criminally violent behavior — received their first and only hint in the last paragraph beneath 25 paragraphs attesting to Brown’s superior virtues. It read:
“He was arrested a half-dozen times, mostly on charges of hitting women. He was once fined and spent a day in jail after beating up a golfing partner. He was charged with rape, sexual battery and assault in 1985 (the charges were later dropped). The next year he was arrested for allegedly beating his fiancée. In 1999, Brown was acquitted of domestic threats against his wife but convicted of smashing the window of her car and spent time in jail when he refused to attend domestic violence counseling.”
Oh, that role model and social justice activist.
He couldn’t have been only what he was: a great running back. He had to be portrayed as a nobleman among the noble when he was more likely to have been a bad guy.
The presumption of our ignorance sustained until the very end.
MLB has too many revenue ‘streams’
If you’re scoring at home, it’s Bud Selig, to Rob Manfred, to MLB team owners — at least in the short term.
This week, including tonight, four of this week’s Yankees games will have been seen exclusively on four different pay networks: Peacock, YES, Amazon Prime and Apple.
The one thing baseball can’t logically condition more folks to do — learn to live without baseball in the nation’s largest TV markets — is what MLB has chosen to do in exchange for right-now dough. MLB might as well be in the reverse mortgage business.
And it was Selig who years ago measured the success of MLB only “in terms of revenue.”
Then there’s Roger “It’s All About Our Fans” Goodell who, at the same time he has negotiated as extension of his $64 million per contract and sold the exclusive rights to a playoff game to a pay TV streaming service, has approved NFL “Thursday Night Football” bait-and-switch team-flexing for pay TV money, making fools of hundreds of thousands of customers — “fans” — who bought tickets to Sunday afternoon late-season games suddenly switched to Thursday nights.
Not that Goodell has been shamed, let alone condemned, from the compliant, obedient sports media.
Good investment PSLs, anyone?
Tough watching this year’s PGA Championship as too many players seemed like a Saudi desert mirage, dollar signs swinging sticks.
PGA club pro Michael Block provided some relief.
Paired Sunday with gentlemanly Justin Rose, Block, the most grateful man in the field, was in the steady company of one of golf’s most gracious men.
And, as usual, CBS presented a ton of “live shots” that obviously were shown on tape — unless CBS still has the clairvoyance to cut to a guy 12 back just before he holes out from the sand.
TV doesn’t yet know that we know better?
Mike Tirico, hosting the Preakness, violated NBC’s Code of Deception when at 6:30 he spoke a forbidden truth: the race is scheduled “for a half-hour from now.”
I’m consistently mystified by decisions made by the Brian Cashman-Aaron Boone team. Just as Aaron Hicks broke out from his two-season batting miseries — and in no small way — the Yanks released him. Much the way Boone pulls 1, 2, 3 relief pitchers.
There were two Preakness winners. National Treasure won the race and “Jeff.” Jockeys, horse owners and their friends made sure to appear on camera in their “Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse” caps.