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The Dish: Nothing Korny
When ESPN announced that Tony Kornheiser would be hosting the Monday Night Football booth, I laughed.
I watched Pardon The Interruption over and over, and while its formula has grown old and tired (perhaps primarily because the wizards at ESPN Original Entertainment have sucked the life out of it by trying to apply it to almost every other network show), Kornheiser was and is his unquestionable star. Plus, Tony Goofy had a great radio show on ESPN radio, where he mostly refused to interview idiots, and he had real, you know, opinions on things. While Dennis Miller’s experiment failed (however, I hardly thought it was the disaster of many others), surely a more sports-minded Kornheiser would have brought some real sports humor to primetime.
Um, not that far.
Last Monday’s debut, featuring the Oakland Raiders at the Minnesota Vikings, was one of the worst telecasts I’ve ever seen. Mike Tirico gets a pass, because while he’s the ultimate jock sniffer, he’s a play-by-play guy, and as such has little opportunity to inject his own personality (which, by the way, seems to be precious little). But the combination of Kornheiser and insufferable idiot Joe Theismann (my favorite Theismann quote: “Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is someone like Norman Einstein”) had me reaching for the mute button faster than you could say “Mike Patrick and Paul Maguire”.
First, could someone tell Tony to attach the headphones more securely to his paw? While Tirico and Theismann sounded like they were, you know, actually in the building, Kornheiser sounded like he was broadcasting remotely from the aquarium in Washington. Next, these were the first two things Tony Tongue said: “You’re fumbling in a game on national television on the first at-bat, and you want to crawl into the hole!” and “Reggie Bush is the kind of player people pay money for.” Wow. That’s the real deal, Tony! Theismann, a broadcaster who never met a dead horse he couldn’t beat, looks like Norman Einstein by comparison. (By the way, did you know Theisman played the game? Of course he did, because he reminds you every 30 seconds.)
Kornheiser was meant to be a breath of fresh air in a profession – color commentary – too long dominated by a jockocracy: ex-players who have learned the 11 clichés necessary to sound competent to anyone who’s only half-listening. (Tune into a Fox show one day; without fail—and with the possible exception of Troy Aikman—a gorilla in a mesh blazer will say “he plays hard!” at least ten times.) Kornheiser has done it so far, though. swallowed his personality, and he’s caught halfway between being funny and having anything relevant to say. At least Dennis Miller went out of his way to talk about the Plantagenets.
Any important takeaways from the first full weekend of preseason football?
Bodog.com bookies, BoDog.com: Let’s start with a direct quote from Clinton Portis: “I got hurt in a game I had no business being in.” You said it, Clinton! The stars in these games are nothing more than sitting ducks. So while everyone who bet on Philly in the Hall of Fame game was throwing darts at Andy Reid posters (do they even make them?), can you blame him for playing his fourth CB Timmy Chang for much of the second half? Pre-season football is dangerous. The coaches will train scared until the first week.
What is happening with St. Louis Cardinals? Do you see them missing the playoffs? Do they even have a chance to go to the World Series?
BDB, BoDog.com: The Cards definitely still have a shot at the World Series. Yes, they are 4-6 in their last 10, but the Dodgers are 9-1. That’s just crazy, as is anyone who doubts the wild card bar. Just look at who’s on the hunt.
Can you give us some insight on who you think will be the American and National League MVPs, and tell us why?
BDB, BoDog.com: Close MVP races are usually decided in September, but who doesn’t love Big Papi right now? Ortiz and his legend-making clutch game will likely leave with it, as will Pujols in the NL. If only he hadn’t gotten hurt this year, we might have seen a run in the record books. Still, 35 home runs, 95 RBIs and 87 runs scored isn’t too shabby with a .329 average halfway through August.
What do you think of this weekend’s fourth round of golf, the PGA at Medinah? Is that Tiger and everyone else? Are people crazy about betting on guys who aren’t one of the few best golfers in the world?
BDB, BoDog.com: You’re never crazy about taking the big payouts in a golf tournament, but when it comes to the PGA Championship, the big boys definitely come to play. Tiger, Phil and Vijay shared five of the last eight.
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