Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Posted by el duque at 7:36 AM
The sport doesn't matter. They're all rancid from self-congratulation on a scale below awards shows and beauty pageants. No "game" matters when the players are doing interviews between at-bats. The only loser is if someone tweaks something. With no losers, there is no game, no story line... no interest. If rooting for the 2016 Yankees is a waste of my time - which it is, by the way - watching the MLB All-Star Game is a waste of my wasted time.
Nevertheless, in the spirit of a train wreck, I semi-watched a few innings last night. I didn't watch hard. No Yanks were playing, I cannot root for a Redsock, I detest Fox Sports, and when the bow tie announcer interviewed Big Papi, it was such a gay moment that he practically sang, "Your Body is a Wonderland," never mentioning the pharmaceuticals that made Mt. Ortiz possible. (Ah, but why am I so bitter? The ship sailed. He's already in Cooperstown.) Do I care if the Royals or Rangers have home field advantage this October? Of course, not. Still, at one point, I set down the pizza and watched, transfixed, as if witnessing an alien abduction.
The half-time show.
The lords of baseball have always yearned for a half-time show. Three-minute breaks between innings just aren't enough. A half-time offers 20 minutes of unbridled, flag-wrapped commercialism, a spectacle of patriotism and self-promotion that ties the sport to a worthy, can't miss cause. This one was like something out of North Korea.
Joe Buck took over the stadium p.a. system to announce that everyone was now going to "Stand Up Against Cancer!" The players assembled along the foul lines, holding cardboard plaques that said, "I Stand Up Against Cancer!" with names scribbled into appropriate spaces... like the "HI! MY NAME IS..." stickers at an auto dealers convention. Soon, everyone in the stadium was holding one - including Joe Buck and the bow-tie guy - though most fans mugged for the cameras that panned their way. I thought it was over - fine, no problem, back to the game. I was wrong.
Now, a hot blonde cowgirl in spray-on mini-shorts - the product of multiple personal trainers - sang an alt-country song full of junk philosophy - up there with "I hope you still feel small when you stand next to the ocean... " with the requisite American Idol vocalizations that long ago made us wince at the phrase "singer-songwriter." Surely, we were all there for the birth of a staggeringly awful, corporate radio, brain-worm hit. Does anybody feel manipulated?
Listen: I know an old, sorta-crazy doc who spends his time railing against the cancer establishment. Big Cancer wastes money, plays favorites, refuses to change, and - worst of all - stomps out anyone that remotely resembles competition. And the lords of Big Cancer cannot lose. I mean, who is against the war on cancer? Not me. It would be like rooting against baseball. In terms of morality, it's a layup. Fighting cancer is a perfect match for the phony billionaire humanitarians who run the sport.
So... we now have an all-star game half-time show. Progress, eh?
Oh, and Joggie Cano - second-stringer - make an out. He jogged. So did everybody.