In an episode of the “Dobie Gillis” sitcom, circa 1960, Dobie, the son of a grocer, has a rival for the attention of his love interests. His name is Milton Armitage — the drop-dead handsome, fabulously wealthy, vain, selfish classmate played by Warren Beatty.
At the malt shop, Milton declares he’s prepared to run against Dobie in the high school election because, “I owe it to my class.”
“The Junior class?” he’s asked.
“No,” he answers, “the ruling class.”
Milton, meet Mike Francesa. Even in the throes of this pandemic, we’re blessed that his gasbag-packaged baloney is not an airborne infectious disease or we’d all be rye bread.
Francesa returned from vacation March 13, and within seconds of the start of his five-minute morning essay he framed the coronavirus pandemic as a matter of self.
“I apologize for being gone over this crazy time,” he said then left it there.
What did that mean? He had the power to prevent the disease, cure it or offer the kinds of solace and succor that would have made it so much easier to suffer?
He actually thinks things would have been better had he remained on the air?
Then he boasted that even he, with his superior expertise in stock market buys-and-sells — the all-knowing (but never right) tout — has suffered coronavirus losses.
Thursday, Francesa opened his show with the news that the next day, March 20, is his birthday, so the next day’s callers, especially those who figured he was born on Dec. 25, could wish him happy birthday as if they’d circled it on their calendars.
And now he must think of his birthday as a national holiday because all the schools were closed!
Meanwhile, he’s still the world’s foremost self-proclaimed expert on everything, though his career specialty has been to always be wrong, often colossally so — no next-day reminders.
As @backaftathis has chronicled on Twitter, he recently trashed a caller as a know-nothing for claiming the NFL will change to a 17-game regular season. Francesa hollered that this will not happen, as he knows this “as a fact!”
Holy lost tapes, Batman! The NFL has switched to a 17-game regular season.
But if Francesa is a diminished target due to his diminished on-air presence, @backaftathis has found a worthy successor in FS1’s Colin Cowherd.
Clips of Cowherd include last week’s, “So Carolina is basically cutting the cord with Cam Newton. I’ve never been a big fan of Cam Newton’s.” Yeah, he was way ahead of the pack.
But in an earlier clip, Cowherd gushed that Newton “is a transcendent mega-talent. … Big game? I’ll take Cam Newton over Aaron Rodgers.”
Also chronicled is Cowherd’s assertion that he didn’t like quarterback Vince Young when drafted out of Texas because his throwing motion reminded him of Tim Tebow’s.
“One problem” observes @backaftathis. “Tebow was in high school when Young was drafted.”
No good comes from Goodell gambling gambit
In 2009, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a solemn plea for Delaware to reject gambling on NFL games. Goodell declared, “The negative social impact of additional gambling cannot be minimized in a community.”
Now, with the NFL in up past its eyes for its cut of sports gambling based on losses incurred by NFL fans betting into bad odds, Goodell apparently now wishes that those communities go to hell.
Last week, the NFL was revealed to be searching for its first VP of gambling — perhaps an unemployed grinning, back-slapping casino host, your best pal until you’re tapped out.
But Goodell never has to answer for his duplicity — what my father, and perhaps yours, would punish as “lies.” In announcing the NFL will increase to a 17-game season, Goodell again asked the logical to swallow the preposterous:
“This will provide substantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football.”
How does more football aid player safety? New jobs? Will they outnumber the players lost to the season, or forever, to injuries? And who is filling those new jobs? Stars or scrubs? Makes you wonder how better football can be played by lesser players?
But he can say anything — “PSLs are good investments” — he chooses. Who is going to hold his feet to the fire? The forced-laughter panelists on the NFL pregame shows?
True or False: ESPN will present a six-hour show Sunday on Tom Brady?
False. The show will run seven hours. Seriously.
The sports pages view from Boston claim Brady could no longer suffer the dictates of Bill Belichick — not that Belichick has ever been inclined to explain himself.
Brady’s departure for the Buccaneers was described by The Globe as “Bobby Orr finishing his career as a Chicago Blackhawk.”
Chandler virus anger goes ‘viral’
Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA players’ union might consider attaching some of this NBA down time to encourage players to practice minimal public civility, prevail upon them to clean up their acts on behalf of the league, its fans and themselves.
Seems not a social media message is sent by a player that doesn’t include gratuitous vulgarities, often with a strong hint of semi-literacy.
Consider the F-word strewn, barely discernible tweet sent last week by 32-year-old Nets forward Wilson Chandler, a DePaul man. He angrily complained to whomever read it about the inconvenience his building manager caused him by the coronavirus.
He cursed her out — “F–k that lady, man” — for doing her job as if he figured we all knew and hated her, and agreed that with four teammates infected he’s above prevention requirements. He sure won my respect!
Virus Miscellaneous: “Wuhan virus” is racist? Then what about West Nile Virus, Legionnaires disease, the German measles, Montezuma’s revenge, and, of course, the open-to-all Irish flu?
Sneaker partners adidas and Reebok at first determined to stay opened, with this soulful nonsense: “Closing down is easy, staying open in a healthy environment requires courage, persistence and focus.”
Not to mention recklessness, gall and the desire to profit from being the only shops open in their towns.
Perhaps caught in their own greedy transparency, the sibling companies then decided to close their stores, citing “the health and safety of our employees, consumers and partners” as its “No. 1 priority” — as if that wasn’t a previous consideration.
Well-reasoned scheduling solutions upon the return of MLB? Save them, brothers and sisters. The first and only considerations will be on behalf of national TV money.
Reader Mitch Cabot: NBA players have long been practicing six-foot “social distancing” rules — on defense.
Thanks for reading. Now go wash your hands.