Archive for Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Smith: TV softball game fails to live up to hype

July 16, 2008

Dateline: The comfort of my apartment couch.

While lounging and flipping listlessly through my channel guide Monday night during a break in the Home Run Derby (by the way, my new synonym for going yard might be "pulling a Josh Hamilton" from here on out after watching the Texas Rangers' outfielder hit 28 bombs in the first round), I realized that the guide claimed I was watching softball on ESPN even though I clearly was watching the MLB's long-distance experts clash.

Obviously, the derby was running long, but what softball game was going to try to follow this?

For a savvy couching expert, the answer is a thumb twitch away. Ahhh, the INFO button - the lazy man's oracle.

Let's see what the magic remote says. The All-Star Legends and Celebrity Game. Hmm, what kind of celebrities and legends are on the card, exactly?

Billy Crystal. The man did bat for the Yankees during a spring training game, and this is the final year for Yankee Stadium, where my info box tells me this game is being played. We should have seen this coming.

Spike Lee. I wonder if he'll be wearing a Knicks jersey.

Chris Rock, Andy Roddick, Whoopi Goldberg. Funny. Fiery. Is she still working?

George Lopez. As long as he's not doing stand-up, I guess I can stomach him.

James Denton. Who? Seriously.

Time to scan for the baseball legends. Wade Boggs, Goose Gossage, Dave Winfield, Ernie Banks. Now we're talking.

Hold the phone - I don't know what that means, but hold it anyway. I just read two words that always have and always will spark my interest. George. Brett.

I'm officially watching this. The Royals' Hall of Famer is my favorite player of all time. The man won a batting title in the '70s, '80s and '90s. He had 3,154 career hits, 317 home runs and batted .305 during his storied career for Kansas City.

Meanwhile, the Twins' Justin Morneau just beat Hamilton in the final round of the Home Run Derby. I can't believe that or this: I'm watching this softball game.

It's coming on. And it is somehow light outside in New York at 10 p.m. Hello, tape delay.

All right, I'm beginning to doubt the power of the INFO button. How did it fail to tell me Ozzie Smith, Rollie Fingers and Paul Molitor were playing in this thing? And I don't see Roddick anywhere.

OK, this James Denton guy is up. Who are you? According to the on-screen graphic, he is on "Desperate Housewives."

Cue ESPN analyst Rick Sutcliffe: "How about this guy's job? He gets paid to make out with Teri Hatcher."

Good point. He deserves to be here. Even though I've already forgotten his name.

Here we go. Brett is up. The mandatory pine tar joke is happening. And : he flies out to left fielder/New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck. Oh well, he'll get 'em next time.

Fast forward to Brett's next at bat in this five-inning made-for-TV affair. (Don't worry, you didn't miss much. Spike Lee wasn't wearing a Knicks jersey, but looked kind of legit, and Chris Rock flailed pathetically at every pitch he saw. Antics ensued, etc.)

It's the bottom of the fifth. The Royals legend swings, and : he grounds out to the pitcher. Some guy named James Denton. Who?

Ugh. I just wasted another hour of my life on my couch.

How could you do this, George? Wait a second. Take a deep breath. Brett's not to blame. It was the INFO button that got you into this.

Oracle, schmoracle. Thanks for nothing, remote control. You can't be trusted.

Who am I kidding? I can't stay mad at you.

Let's see what else is on.

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