Can you believe these baseball games of late? They are tension-filled, comeback-laden, back-and-forth, down-to-the-last-out sporting gems. And they are unwatchable.
There are two problems.
(Note: There are always two problems -- three if you're wearing bad shoes.)
1. Uh, the games run a little long.
2. They have been Foxified beyond recognition.
When this baseball postseason began, I was still a young man; by Game 6 of the Yankees-Red Sox series, I was subscribing to AARP Magazine.
Game 1 of the World Series took four hours -- if it had gone to extra innings, it would not be finished yet. The games have gotten so long, they're going to have to move the seventh-inning stretch up to the fourth inning. I now set my alarm for midnight so I can watch the final couple of innings.
The only thing on TV more tedious than a Morgan Ensberg at-bat is a Charlie Rose question.
Naturally, the longer the games go, the more the broadcasters talk.
Like I want to listen to Tim McCarver blather on about Tony La Russa's small ball.
Actually, I no longer complain about McCarver, because I have programmed my inner voice to start droning Gregorian chants any time it hears McCarver's voice.
Besides, McCarver is no longer the biggest viewer threat to Fox; rather, Fox itself is.
By the time you're done watching a baseball game on Fox, you feel like you've walked through a car wash with Metallica on your back.
Somewhere along the way, they turned a baseball game into a pinball machine.
They obliterate the senses, with clamoring bells and irritating whistles and exploding stats and animated crawls. If Fox Sports covered a state funeral, they'd have a Coffin Cam. Baseball on Fox feels like a music video, only with less sex and more spit.
It's tough to follow all the faux activity. I can stay with the program when they go to that in-sync split box, but recently they went to four boxes at once! It's a good thing I wear glasses, because you need four eyes to keep up with four screens.
More disturbingly, this postseason Fox has obsessed on fan shots. We're not only shown endless close-ups of fans, we're shown replays of endless close-ups of fans. Heck, if I wanted to see close-ups of a fan watching a game, I'd just bring a hand mirror with me to the sofa.
Meantime, Fox is absolutely reckless -- and I usually only use the term "reckless" to describe my Aunt Imelda's seasoning in her signature burger-and-Tots casserole -- with replays. For instance, in Game 1 of the World Series, there were eight replays of David Ortiz's grounder that hit Cardinals second baseman Tony Womack in the left collarbone. By inning's end, I'm surprised we didn't see a Zapruder film of the incident.
Then there's Fox's "RIGHT NOW!" graphic. It tells you what's happening RIGHT NOW! I'm glad they're clear about that, because once in a while they might put up information about, say, August 1939, and due to the length of the game and my diminished mental capacity, I might think that stuff pertains to RIGHT NOW.
(Heisman Update: RIGHT NOW Timmy Chang is just 241 yards shy of Ty Detmer's NCAA career record for passing yards after completing 25 of 39 passes for 318 yards in Hawaii's 46-28 victory over San Jose State. How good is he? I once turned off "Citizen Kane" on Fox Movie Channel to watch Timmy Chang on Fox SportsNet.)
P.S. Enough already with these long-suffering Red Sox fans. They're not the ones suffering, we are. Man, it's worse than sitting next to some guy at a dinner party going on about the fossil fuel shortage in Antigua.
Believe you me, if I see Fox interview one more 86-year-old Bostonian recalling tales of woe, I will throw my remote into the nearest recycle bin -- well, that is, if I'm still awake.
Ask The Slouch
Q. An old adage says that it "is better to have loved and lost than to never loved at all, but then a rock song by Yes states that "owner of a lonely heart/much better than an/owner of a broken heart." Being a man who has loved and lost, but most likely had times with no love, could you please clarify this for me? (Erik Solberg; Bellingham, Wash.)
A. See Chad v. Chad I, District of Columbia Court Docket No. 368273-B.
Q. When will the East Coast finally come up with a defense to stop the West Coast offense? (Evan Streusand; Houston)
A. At this very moment Jets Coach Herm Edwards is developing an "East Coast offense," which is predicated on Edwards standing on the sideline shouting out bingo numbers.
Q. With Daylight Savings Time ending soon, what will Couch Slouch do with the extra hour? (Sherry Gordon; Palos Hills, Ill.)
A. I'll pop in a bowling videotape and crack a Rolling Rock.
Q. Is it true that the 2008 Summer Olympics will introduce a synchronized fishing rod-casting event? (Dan Weninger; Waupun, Wis.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!