Thursday, October 25, 2012
Posted by el duque at 7:06 AM
With the Tankees down by four, they interviewed Justin Verlander, wearing a Bill Belichick headset, in the Tiger dugout. Verlander had nothing to say. They talked with him anyway. That's TV. So be it. But while the listless conversation bloated onward, Verlander made no secret of his intentions: Since opening weekend, when a similar dugout interview launched a Tiger rally, Verlander has used these headset moments as personal juju... to trigger Tiger rallies. And the toady TV networks have complied.
So it went in last week's Game 4. Except this time, Verlander broke the rules. Ernie Johnson had asked all his questions, which were something slightly above the level of, "What kind of tree would you be?" He thanked Verlander for his time. At that point, the pitcher announced that he was not going to take off the headset. "You don't have to talk to me," Verlander said. But he intended to keep the interview alive, because it had "worked" all season.
An impartial organization would have told Verlander that national television is no venue for the practice of godless, vengeful anti-Yankee juju. So what did TBS do? They giggled with delight that Kate Upton's rumored boyfriend was willing to spend a few more minutes saying nothing with them. They went along with Verlander. They allowed him to prattle and whinny until the Tigers scored a run - in essence killing the Yankees chance of a comeback. On the final out of the inning, Verlander said, "My job is done." He yanked off the headset in triumph, knowing he had co-opted a major network and pulled off juju on national TV.
It's hard to imagine such one-sided bias on national TV in America - that is, until you turn to election coverage. Fox Sports is the Fox News of baseball, with the Yankees being Obama. But with the Yankees gone - thank you TBS - Fox tonight will have the opportunity to speak with Verlander. Obviously, the pitcher will be seeking to atone for his peformance last night.
Will Fox give him the soapbox, the juju bully pulpit, to change the outcome of the World Series?
Do they like tigers in "Cougar Town?"