NBA and ESPN urge viewers to focus on the game, not the Finals


Consider where we have come and what we are doing here.

Thus, the boss of the network summons his best sports commentators for an important meeting. He or she takes center stage, adjusts the microphone, and then speaks:


“I have a very exciting announcement to make today, and I wanted you, our most visible, well-known and even most valued employees, to be among the first to know.

“We acquired a significant stake in a sports betting operation. This company – now also our company – has one goal: to do whatever it takes, including making false get-rich-overnight promises, for our clients to lose their money investing in this company.

“This whole business that we share now is just about the public losing their money by being sucked into thinking they can make money. And now we’re getting a piece of that money pie !

“So let’s hear a round of applause for this proud addition to our network inventory, a testament to our foresight and financial savvy to strike while it’s hot…

“Now your job, as the faces and voices of our network, is to encourage viewers and listeners, especially those who admire and trust you, to serve as the most visible men and women, to excite as many as possible in losing their money betting on games and players, all the odds, of course, very much in our favor.

Stephen A. Smith, Mike Greenberg, Michael Wilbon and Jalen Rose on the NBA countdown to the NBA Finals.
NBAE via Getty Images

“I see a raised hand over there. Yes?”

“But isn’t it a scam and why do you want us to be part of it?”

“Scam? Not at all! Scams have a habit of backfiring, leading to criminal charges. That’s better; it’s government-sanctioned no-fault theft, legalized scam.

“Another question, over there.”

“What if we ask to be excluded from participating in such an enterprise, you know, for moral reasons? It does not pass the stench test.

“The lunch we serve either, but should I cancel it?”

“Also, disloyalty to society is your option, but it carries risks, personal risks, if you understand my drift.

“Other questions? No? Good. Now go ahead and sell losing investments. Oh and emphasize the parlay bets, they have the worst odds and really excite the young pigeons, like the ones in TV commercials with their backward facing caps. Got it?

“Lunch is served.”

And so Thursday night, just before Game 6, which became the final game of the 2022 NBA Finals, announced on ABC/ESPN, two game segments appeared, both featuring DraftKings, an NBA business partner, and ESPN. The NBA and ESPN have sold their soul, their credibility, their logos and their certification for their guaranteed gambling loss reduction.

The second segment began with Mike Greenberg setting up Jalen Rose with, “Now it’s time for tonight’s DraftkKings Sportsbook predictions, Jalen.”

The two ESPN regulars then focused on three prop bets, one for each of the three Celtics or Warriors starters. It was unclear if these were the same top/bottom numbers posted by DraftKings.

The Warriors celebrate their NBA championship win.

But it was perfectly clear:

Moments before the end of Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the public was encouraged not to watch the game, but to watch their action focusing on three players. The game – the biggest of the season – became a side affair with considerable help from Greenberg and Rose. No shame, no fault.

Apparently neither had the ability or the conviction to refuse this, to declare to their bosses that they refused to be accomplices who urge viewers to waste their money looking for money easy. And they are just two of the dozens that populate television and radio.

“And during the finale,” added Greenberg, “new customers can bet $5 to win up to $150 in free bets, instantly!” As he spoke, a box loaded with tiny characters appeared. The long chances of reading it all before it disappears weren’t included.

Yes, the first one is free. Well, sort of.

A good ride ruined by the MLB

Wednesday’s game between the Rays and Yankees was delayed 16 minutes in the eighth inning while umpires determined whether Aaron Boone was allowed to walk (slowly) to the mound to remove reliever Miguel Castro.

The delay was whether the Yankees were allowed a second trip without a pitch being thrown. Pitching coach Matt Blake had visited Castro while the Rays tended to injure by pitching Randy Arozarena.

Even by modern MLB standards, it seemed like a colossal waste of time.

This brings us to reader Henry Blaukopf, a man with a practical solution: “Why does the manager have to visit the mound to change pitchers? Can’t he just use the paddock phone or make a gesture from outside the canoe?

“It’s quite exciting to see referees gathering around the phone talking to replay officials who have no idea. Some of us like to watch baseball.

MLB already saves a lot of time with its automatic intentional walking rule, about three minutes per season.

Ryan Weber, an unknown Yankees call-up as evidenced by number 85, is listed as 6-foot-1 and 31 years old although he appears to be around 5-10 years old with a baby face that smiles a lot. Weber had a marvelous throw in relief on Thursday. He allowed two hits and no walks in 3 ²/₃ innings, giving the Yankees the opportunity to win, 2-1.

As Weber was relieved, he walked towards the dugout. The crowd began to rise and applaud. This snap was well worth watching to see his reaction to both the fans and his teammates. The sight of feel-good moments was fully anticipated.

But YES cut for commercials. Cursed!

ryan weber
robert sabo

Maybe by the end of the commercials we would see what we missed.

Instead, we saw a reel of what we had seen many times before: Weber throwing well, scrambling to cover first and smiling, which is why he was about to receive a standing O from the fans. and Yankees. Double curse!

Like Rob Manfred’s all-in designated hitter rule change this season? Have you subscribed to Instant Analysis?

Well, both have helped produce (through Thursday) a .242 batting average for all players — two runs shy of last season and the lowest in MLB since 1968, “The Year of the Pitcher.” “. After the mound was lowered in 1969, the averages dropped from 0.237 to 0.248.

The last time it was 0.260 or better was in 2009, just before analytics was revealed as the secret to modern success.

Browns’ Clowney turns out to be a clown

Would you like to be a Browns fan, or worse, a ticket holder? Or even worse, a PSL tenant under contract? Last week, DE Jadeveon Clowney went public that he re-signed with Cleveland because he wanted to play “my boy,” QB Deshaun Watson. Does Clowney have a conscience beyond Clowney?

Jadeveon Clowney

Even on the bench, Nestor Cortes seems to be making the Yankees a better, more energetic, enthusiastic, entertaining team. Forgive me this reach, but until Carmelo Anthony reaffirms his rule, Cortes seems the equivalent of Jeremy Lin. And both came from so far and so deep that they didn’t even qualify as long shots.

After YES’s Michael Kay announced that Carlos Beltran will be with him when the Astros play the Yankees, reader Christopher Niemir asked if there would be a “Bring Your Own Trash Party.”

Too many uncontextual or misleading on-the-fly statistics from ESPN’s Sean McDonough on Stanley Cup telecasts. McDonough has the knowledge to debunk these stats – players’ plus-minus numbers can be very misapplied – rather than selling them.

Do you think Vince McMahon’s daughter is going to fire him?

Briar Patch, Redux: Reader Len Geller on this Rangers fan hitting on this Lightning fan: “I thought being banned from The Garden for life was a good thing.” And the dough he saves should easily cover the legal fees.

Phil Mickelson played the US Open as if betting against himself.