Sports

Alex Rodriguez and ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball are can’t-stomach TV

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Alex Rodriguez hasn’t exactly been aware of his surroundings for a long time.

Alex Rodriguez hasn’t exactly been aware of his surroundings for a long time.
Photo: AP

Shohei Ohtani’s remarkable mound/plate performance last night helped mask what otherwise was a turgid, if not torturous, ESPN broadcast. The network’s Sunday Night Baseball show has been a bane to fans for pretty much its entire existence, spawning the one site that’s basically responsible for all the sites like this one. Unless Alex Rodriguez being completely oblivious/moronic is your thing.

Alex Rodriguez has spent his entire life observing humans in order to try and emulate them, and has failed at it for just as long. He’s fed more lines than Sinatra was on his last tour. I can almost excuse Rodriguez for not knowing what’s going on in the actual world, as he’s lived in such a knock-off, resort Olympus of his own making for so long that losing touch would have to be a side-effect. But to not understand why Texas should not be considered for an All-Star Game at the moment, in the midst of a discussion that was taking on a celebratory tone about the Rangers opening to full capacity crowd today, even though Texas’ positivity rate still hovers around 5 percent, puts him somewhere around Kushner-level imbecilic.

And then you have to add to that he’s only slightly more informed about what’s going on in baseball, and you have a total cypher as the lead analyst in the game (unless John Smoltz is, and then you just have the personification of the sound men over 40 make getting out of a chair).

And there is also the issue of the state of Texas having its own bills moving through its state legislature that would make it harder for minorities to vote.

There was a time, at least I’m sure I remember one, where Matt Vasgersian was a very good play-by-play man. But by being asked to be more a host on the WWE than a PBP guy, he’s turned into baseball’s version of whichever stooge is hosting Family Feud this week. Just give him the loud blazers, Richard Dawson’s truck full of booze, and let’s get it over with. It’s hucksterism on the scale of a medicine show. Then Buster Olney chimes in from whatever thick haze he spends his days in to be the broadcast’s personality-less Kazoo. His head is even shaped like it.

In between all of that ear-poison are enough graphics and gadgets to make you wonder if you haven’t slipped into a wormhole and ended up in a DisneyQuest (answer: you have).

It’s a wonder how MLB has allowed what is supposed to be its showcase game every week to be handled by this low-budget carnival, to the point that every baseball fan hates it with a passion. Just another reason the sport finds itself in a rut.

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