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NBA and ESPN make viewers focus on gambling, not finals

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

So, the network boss calls his top sportscasters to an important meeting. He or she comes to the center of the stage, adjusts the microphone and says:

“Today I want to make a very interesting announcement, and I wanted you, our most visible, famous and even beloved employees, to be among the first to know about this.

“We have acquired a significant stake in the gambling business. This business—now our business—has one purpose: to do whatever it takes, including making false promises of getting rich overnight so that our clients lose their money by investing in this business.

“This whole enterprise that we now share is based solely on the fact that the public is losing their money by being deceived into believing they can make money. And now we get a piece of this money pie!

“So let’s give this proud addition to our online inventory a testament to our vision and financial acumen 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 act as the most visible men and women, turn as many people as possible into losing their money. betting on games and players, the odds are, of course, strongly in our favor.

NBA
Steven A. Smith, Mike Greenberg, Michael Wilbon and Jalen Rose on the set of the NBA countdown ahead of the NBA Finals.
NBAE via Getty Images

“I see a raised hand. Yes?”

“But isn’t this a scam, and why do you want us to be involved in this?”

“Fraud? Not at all! Fraud backfires, leading to criminal charges. It’s better; it’s government-sanctioned theft without guilt, a legitimized scam.

– Another question, back there.

“What if we ask to be excluded from participating in such a business, you know, on moral grounds? It doesn’t pass the stink test.”

Like the lunch we serve, but should it be cancelled?

“Besides, disloyalty to a corporation is your choice, but it comes with risk, personal risk, if you understand me.

“Any more questions? No? Good. Now go out and sell your losing investments. Oh, and stress parlays, they have worse odds and really excite younger suckers like the ones in the TV ads with their caps back to front. Got it ?

“The dinner is served”.

So on Thursday night, shortly before Game 6, which was the last game of the 2022 NBA Finals, two gaming segments appeared on ABC/ESPN featuring the NBA and ESPN business partner DraftKings. The NBA and ESPN sold their souls, credibility, logos and certifications for their share of guaranteed game losses.

The second segment began with Jalen Rose tuned in by Mike Greenberg: “Now it’s time for today’s DraftkKings Sportsbook predictions, Jalen.”

The two ESPN regulars then focused on three side bets, one for each of the three Celtics or Warriors starting players. Whether these were the same over/under numbers published by DraftKings is unclear.

NBA
The Warriors celebrate winning the NBA championship.
AP

But it was very clear:

Moments before the start of Game 6 of the NBA Finals, spectators were urged not to watch the game, but to watch them in action, focusing on three players. The game—the most important of the season—became an afterthought with significant help from Greenberg and Rose. No shame, no vice.

Apparently, neither of them had the ability or the conviction to refuse it, to tell their superiors that they refused to be barkers who encourage viewers to lose their money in pursuit of easy money. And these are just two of the dozens of people who inhabit television and radio.

“And during the finale,” Greenberg squeaked, “new customers can wager $5 to instantly win up to $150 in free bets!” As he spoke, a box appeared with a tiny font. The long chances of reading it in its entirety before it disappears didn’t count.

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

Nice walk ruined by MLB

Wednesday’s game between the Rays and Yankees was delayed 16 minutes in the eighth inning while the amps figured out if Aaron Boone was allowed to (slowly) go to the mound to remove reliever Miguel Castro.

The delay was due to whether the Yankees were eligible for a second ride without filing. Pitching coach Matt Blake visited Castro while the Rays were handling injured Randy Arozarena.

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

This brings us to reader Henri Blaukopf, the man with the practical solution: “Why does a manager have to come to the mound to change pitchers? Can’t he just use the phone in the bullpen or gesticulate from outside the dugout?

“It’s interesting enough to watch the judges gather around the phone and talk to clueless replay judges. Some of us like to watch baseball.”

MLB is already saving tons of time with its automatic deliberate walking rule, roughly three minutes per season.


Ryan Weber, an unknown Yankee caller, as evidenced by number 85, is listed as 6ft 1in and 31 years old, despite appearing to be around 5-10 years old with a baby face that smiles a lot. Weber pitched wonderfully in relief on Thursday. He allowed two hits and no walks in 3²/₃ innings, giving the Yankees a 2-1 win.

When Weber felt relieved, he headed for the dugout. The crowd began to rise and applaud. It was worth stopping at this shot to see his reaction to both fans and teammates. The kind of pleasant moments were totally expected.

But YES cut out for advertising. Curses!

yankees
Ryan Weber
Robert Sabo

Perhaps when the commercial ends, we will see what we missed.

Instead, we saw something we’ve already seen several times: Weber serves well, rushes first, and smiles, all of which are reasons why he’s about to receive consistent praise from fans and Yankees alike. Double curses!


Are you enjoying Rob Manfred’s change to the designated hitter rule this season? Are you subscribed to operational analytics?

Well, both contributed to (through Thursday) a .242 average for all players—two points lower than last season and the lowest MLB record since 1968, Pitcher’s Year. After the mound was lowered in 1969, the averages rose from 0.237 to 0.248.

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

Browns clown turns out to be a clown

Would you like to be a Browns fan, or worse, a ticket holder? Or, even worse, a contracted PSL tenant? Last week, DE Jadeveon Clooney publicly stated that he re-signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers because he wants to play with “my boy,” QB Deshawn Watson. Does Clony have any knowledge besides Clony himself?

browns
Jadevon Clooney
AP

Even on the bench, Nestor Cortez seems to be making the Yankees a better team, more energetic, enthusiastic and interesting. Forgive me for the grandeur, but until Carmelo Anthony has confirmed his reign, Cortez seems to be the equivalent of Jeremy Lyne. And both came so far and so far that they couldn’t even qualify as long shots.


After Michael Kay in YES announced that Carlos Beltran would be with him when the Astros were here to play the Yankees, reader Christopher Niemir asked if “The Night Bring Your Own Dumpster” would be.


Too many live statistics that are out of context or misleading from ESPN’s Sean McDonough during Stanley Cup TV broadcasts. McDonough has the knowledge to debunk such statistics – plus or minus player numbers can be misapplied – instead of selling them.


Do you think Vince McMahon’s daughter will fire him?


Briar Patch, Redux: Reader Len Geller on that Rangers fan who stabbed a Lightning fan: “I thought a lifetime ban from the Garden was a good thing.” And the money he saves will easily cover legal costs.


Phil Mickelson played the US Open like he was betting against himself.

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