Perhaps I’m a party-pooper by nature and nurture. When I was a kid I heard the music from the ice cream truck then excitedly asked my father for a quarter.
“No,” he said, “they play that music when they’re out of ice cream.”
Unless you never heard that one, it’s an old one. Otherwise, it’s mine. But the risk of being condemned as a killjoy makes me defensive. “Our” team won, didn’t it? That’s what counts! USA! USA!
It’s a relentless insult: TV demands intelligent viewers ignore what they see to believe only what they’re told. Seconds after the US team won the Women’s World Cup on Sunday, Fox’s lead analyst Aly Wagner, former US World Cupper, gushed this:
“The way they’ve lifted a nation! They way they’ve lifted a gender! It’s something to behold! … They’ve done so much more and against all odds!” Was that for our ears or our pancakes?
Against all odds? The US was the overwhelming, odds-on favorite.
They lifted a gender? It was the Women’s World Cup! Even Mike Francesa could accurately tout the winners would be a women’s team.
They lifted a nation? How so? Was Wagner unaware that this team invited scorn, turning off so many who would have normally and naturally fully supported it? Could Wagner have been unaware that “we” were represented by those wearing Team USA uniforms while performing acts of choreographed immodesty and mockery of opponents?
Or was Wagner under the impression Americans can’t distinguish right from wrong, and thus provided blind, drooling, unconditional love?
USWNT ticker-tape parade draws huge crowds
They’re already champions — and now they’re heroes. The US…
In Sunday’s 2-0 final over the Netherlands, let’s examine “our” goals.
The second goal was scored in traffic by Rose Lavelle, who next awaited the arrival of teammates for a group celebration — a classy, welcome scene given what we’d seen.
The first goal was the work of Alex Morgan, who drew a penalty kick when nearly kicked in the head. But all-about-me Megan Rapinoe was the beneficiary. She was assigned and made the PK, which, at this level, was fully expected.
As her teammates rushed toward her to celebrate a goal that didn’t singularly belong to her, Rapinoe ran from them, to the far sideline to stand alone while striking an all-about-me diva pose.
The team’s captain, starting when Rapinoe ran half the field to demonstrate nauseating self-regard after her goal against Thailand made it, geez, 9-0, should have had a chat with Rapinoe, suggesting she play with a tad more class.
But Rapinoe, a foul-mouthed stage hog who gave the national anthem her kiss-off in protest of President Tweet — as if it were her duty to exploit US World Cup matches for that purpose — is the captain!
Small wonder those champs at Nike gave Colin Kaepernick the week off to anoint Rapinoe the commercial face of the victorious US team.
As it did four years ago, this team’s win inspired just-dropped-in media to chorus how American girls will now be inspired to play and excel at soccer.
But where, if not the playing fields of the US, did they think the last two championship teams came from, Estonia? Girls’ soccer has been a huge participation sport here the past 30 years.
I encouraged my daughters toward competitive, organized sports. They played tennis, field hockey, soccer and basketball.
But I’m no more willing to issue female athletes pandering, back-slapping, flag-waving blindness than I have to the deteriorating social condition of our men’s sports.
The 1973 Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs tennis match was a made-for-TV novelty act never designed or intended to be taken seriously. It began with King carried into the Astrodome in a sedan shouldered by muscular, brightly feathered gladiators.
And it wasn’t taken seriously until years later, when wishful, revisionist media and moviemakers seized it as the day of dead-reckoning emancipation for young females of all endeavors.
Jim Spence, an ABC exec who helped put together the event, has spoken of hearing, reading and watching the King-Riggs match assigned greater historical importance — when it had none.
But whether it’s 1973 or 2019, we’re relied upon to believe what we’re told, not what we saw, not what we see.
This US team did nothing to advance “the gender,” did not succeed “against all odds” and, because many Americans found it impossible to embrace Team USA, did little to “lift the nation.”
MLB striking out into all-or-nothing territory
Given that the DH was intended to increase batted balls rather than add strikeouts by AL pitchers when they batted, the DH is now a place in the order from which to strikeout while swinging hard at Mr. Manfred’s Country Mile Meatballs that turn pop-ups into mortars.
Twins 7, Rangers 4 in 8 ¹/₂ innings Saturday: 23 strikeouts, five from the DH spot. Rays 2, Yankees 1 in 8½ Sunday: 27 strikeouts against nine pitchers. The DH’s K’d six times, Tampa Bay’s Nate Lowe four, Gary Sanchez twice.
Further, to address the record number of home runs being hit without addressing the record number of strikeouts is to miss half the story. As hitting homers has become easier, swinging for them has become the primary goal.
And if the balls are as “fixed” as they seem, such marketing genius has conspicuously reduced The Game to HRs or strikeouts.
Advice for Manfred in ending this baseball hell
CLEVELAND — Lord help us with all of this talk…
Worse, if the balls are manufactured for maximum HRs, to fix that, causing a sudden drop in HRs, would be a tacit admission by MLB that it covertly contaminated and compromised the product, thus MLB may be stuck with its own thoughtless devices.
Can’t shame the shameless, continued: Saturday’s Red Sox-Tigers game, scheduled to begin at 4:10 p.m., ended after midnight. The game ran a ridiculous 3:51 — not including a preposterous 4:07 rain delay!
The Mets no longer play Saturday home games in the afternoon, big TV market Sunday games are played at night and teams have holidays off while Uncle Rob Manfred declares kids to be MLB’s top target priority.
Tuesday’s All-Star Game laid it on thick, with kids escorting players from the dugouts. What a con.
If, for $330 million, the Phillies’ Bryce Harper doesn’t give a rat’s rectum, why should you?
Sunday against the Mets, Harper hit a high fly over the third-base line. After it was caught by Todd Frazier, inches foul, SNY aired video showing that Harper never left the plate. He just stood and watched, as if, despite regularly costing his teams by not bothering to even trot toward first, he still doesn’t care.
“That’s just inexcusable,” Keith Hernandez said.
But Harper has an excuse: He doesn’t care. And he’s not alone. Hardly. And major league managers keep kicking baseball’s can down the road to needless ruin.