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The Dish: Nothing Korny
When ESPN announced that Tony Kornheiser would be manning the Monday Night Football booth, I smiled.
I used to watch Pardon The Interruption all the time, and although its formula has grown old and tired (perhaps mainly because the wizards at ESPN Original Entertainment sucked life out of it trying to apply it to almost every other show on the network), Kornheiser was and is its undisputed star. Plus, Tony the Tone-Deaf had a great radio show on ESPN Radio, where he mostly refused to interview dumb jocks, and had real, you know, opinions on things. While Dennis Miller’s experiment didn’t work out (I didn’t think it was many others’ disaster, though), the sportier Kornheiser would bring real goofy sports humor to prime time.
Uh, not that far.
Last Monday’s debut, which featured the Oakland Raiders against the Minnesota Vikings, was one of the worst TV shows I’ve ever seen. Mike Tirico gets a pass because while he’s the ultimate jock sniffer, he’s the play-by-play guy and as such has little opportunity to inject his own personality (which, of elsewhere there seem to be very few). But the combination of Kornheiser and the insufferable idiot Joe Theismann (my favorite quote from Theismann: “No one in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is someone like Norman Einstein”) pushed me to press the mute button faster than you could say “Mike Patrick and Paul Maguire”.
First of all, could someone please tell Tony to fix the helmet more securely against his noggin? While Tirico and Theismann sounded like they were, you know, inside the building, Kornheiser seemed to be broadcasting from a distance from a Washington DC area aquarium. Then here are the first two things Tony the Tongue-Tied said: “You’re fumbling a kickoff on a nationally televised game on the opening kickoff, and you want to crawl into a hole !” and “Reggie Bush is the kind of player people will pay to see.” Wow. Way out on a branch there, Tone! Theismann, a broadcaster who never encountered a dead horse he couldn’t beat, looks like Norman Einstein in comparison. (By the way, did you know Theismann was playing the game? Sure, because he reminds you every 30 seconds.)
Kornheiser would be a breath of fresh air in a profession – color commentary – too long dominated by jock-ocracy: ex-players who learned the 11 shots needed to appear competent to anyone who only half listens . (Grant a Fox show one day; for sure – and with the possible exception of Troy Aikman – the stuffed gorilla in a network blazer will say “he’s playing hard!” at least ten times.) So far , however, Kornheiser has swallowed his personality and is caught halfway between being fun and having something relevant to say. At least Dennis Miller had a blast and talked about the Plantagenets.
Any important conclusions we could draw from the first full weekend of pre-season football?
Bodog.com Bookmakers, BoDog.com: Let’s start the conclusions with a direct quote from Clinton Portis: “I hurt myself in a game that I don’t have to play. You said it, Clinton! The stars are just sitting ducks in these games. So even if anyone who bet on Philly in the Hall of Fame Game threw darts at Andy Reid’s posters (do they even do that?), can you blame him for playing his fourth string QB? Timmy Chang for much of the second half? Pre-season football is dangerous. Coaches will be scared until Week 1.
What’s going on with the St. Louis Cardinals? Can you see them missing the playoffs? Do they have a chance of going 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 games, but the Dodgers are 9-1. It’s just crazy, just like anyone who doubts at least one Wild Card place for the cards. Look who’s in the hunt.
Can you give us a rundown of who you think will be the US and National League MVP, 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 legendary clutch play will likely walk away with it, as will Pujols in NL. If only he hadn’t been injured this year, we might have seen a run in the record books. Still, 35 homers, 95 ribbies and 87 runs aren’t too shabby with an average of .329 in mid-August.
What are your thoughts ahead of golf’s fourth major tournament this weekend, the PGA in Medina? Is it Tiger and all the others? Are people crazy to bet on guys who aren’t among the best golfers in the world?
BDB, BoDog.com: You’re never crazy about taking the big hits in a golf tournament, but when it comes to the PGA Championship, the big guys definitely come to play. Tiger, Phil and Vijay have shared five of the last eight.
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