With the Mets and Yanks planning to pipe in old crowd noise during their home games — fabricated excitement that should only inspire ridicule — I wonder if players will be called out of the dugout to tip their caps to cardboard cutouts.
And how about recorded “Boston Bleeps!” chants?
Anyway, these are a few of my favorite sports TV hocus-pocus capers:
1) During a Fox NFL pregame, when Marty Schottenheimer coached the Chiefs, Pam Oliver interviewed the coach, who gave her what she claimed was an unsatisfactory answer.
Oliver was then seen in a one-shot close-up scolding the coach for a disingenuous answer.
Following the segment, pregame host James Brown saluted Oliver for her dogged approach.
Just one problem: The Chiefs’ director of media relations called to say it never happened — that he sat in the background during that entire interview, and Oliver’s scold of Schottenheimer was not heard while he was still in the room.
Oliver’s firm slap at Schottenheimer apparently had been inserted after the interview.
2) ESPN showed highlights of a Mets game in which Japanese standout Kaz Matsui hit a late-game home run. The Little League champs from Japan were at the game and were seen on “SportsCenter” standing and cheering Matsui after the homer. Money shot!
One problem: When Matsui hit that home run, the Japanese kids had already left the park. The footage, from earlier in the game, was cut and pasted.
3) NBC’s coverage of an indoor track-and-field meet — likely the Millrose Games — years ago presented the pole vault out of order. The vaulter who won the event cleared the bar on his first try, failed on his next two.
But Don Ohlmeyer, NBC’s empirical producer, thought he knew what was best for NBC’s audience. It wasn’t the truth. So he showed the winning vault as his final try, Ohlmeyer explaining he wanted to “build the drama,” as per the preferred wishes of the audience.
4) The 2000 Paralympics in Sydney was made as ugly as it gets, a fraud of an unimaginably twisted conspiracy.
The team from Spain was suspiciously strong. Its basketball team, ostensibly comprised of mentally impaired players, easily won the gold.
Afterward, Carlos Ribagorda revealed he and nine other basketball teammates were not “mentally impaired,” as the rules stated they must be. They played with faked documents attesting to their intellectual deficiencies.
5) In 2012, Duke University, leading with its righteous indignation, rid its campus of all Chick-fil-A eateries to protest the company’s anti same-sex marriage position within top family ownership. The company claimed its position was on strict Baptist religious grounds.
A year later, Duke’s football team was invited to play in a bowl game. It eagerly accepted. The ACC’s cut was $4 million, from which Duke happily took its cut.
The game? The Chick-fil-A Bowl.
6) My favorite: Years ago, Ch. 11 picked up the independently produced Bluebonnet Bowl from Texas.
Ch. 11 and the production made no mention that the game was being seen on delayed tape, thus the game, in order, appeared thusly:
First quarter on tape. Second quarter on tape. Fourth quarter live. Then the telecast concluded with the third quarter on tape.
MLB to freelancers: Cover our game at your own risk
And here we thought the squeeze play was dead in MLB.
Scores of freelancers who work telecasts of sports events — members of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — have been out of work since March 10, due to COVID-19.
Typically IATSE workers are cameramen, videotape operators and providers of graphics. Locally, many work for SNY and YES.
But now, according to sourced documentation, MLB has decreed that unless they sign a waiver absolving MLB and its teams of all liability as it relates to COVID-19 infection, they will not be allowed to work.
Thus MLB, though ready to start the season more for TV money than because it’s safe, has decreed that IATSE employees choose between risking their health or continued loss of their jobs.
IATSE has advised that those who sign the waiver add that they’re doing so “under duress,” as MLB and its teams have made it clear that they may not be able “to provide a safe workplace.”
Wonder what Rob Manfred would advise a loved one to do.
David Halberstam, go-to-guy on all matters of radio and TV sports history and a regular blogger under Sports Broadcast Journal, has the stat of the week:
With this year’s MLB All-Star Game canceled, he notes that last year’s did a 5.2 TV rating, a record low, while 50 years ago the rating was 28.5.
In fact, not until 2002 did the All-Star Game register a single-digit rating. It hasn’t had a double-digit rating since.
NCAA offers pair of ‘gimmes’
Fantasy Football: The NCAA has ruled that major college football teams can automatically add two wins to their bowl-eligibility totals to reflect anticipated paid-to-lose easy wins against early season out of conference teams. So if all teams are granted two make-believe wins, why bother counting them?
Hard to argue with Charles Barkley’s claim last week that racial injustice issues have been lost as “a circus,” but therein lies a problem: Had a white celeb said that, he or she would be condemned as a racist.
Why, Friday, would NBC’s Golf Channel abandon live golf — with leaders on the course and others scrambling to make the cut — for a lengthy on-camera chat between Terry Gannon and Nick Faldo on the wind, which wasn’t a big factor? The wind couldn’t have been discussed over live golf?
It Can’t Happen Here: As MLB, the NBA and NHL ready for late starts and restarts, Tuesday 22 people — 15 jockeys and seven track workers — tested positive for coronavirus at California’s Del Mel Mar Racetrack. The track was then closed.
Happy 80th, Spencer Ross. Among many other things, in 1967 over WJRZ, he became the first Voice of the Nets.
Now golf’s TV announcers have replaced plain talk “the water” with “the penalty area.” As long as one can hit out of the water it is not a “penalty area.”
Reader Dominick LaVarco on Friday wrote that despite “a 10 percent chance of rain in my area, it’s now raining.” Thus the chance of rain went from 10 percent to 100 percent. That’s much like ESPN’s MLB and NFL silly “catch probability” stats that appear after good catches. The catches move from fictional and fractional to 100 percent.
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