Archive for the “Off-Topic” Category

Posts having nothing to do with the topic of this blog

crying-babyPardon me, Dear Reader, for yet another largely off-topic post. A lot needs to be said right now — and I’m going to say it.

First of all, let’s clear the air over what happened at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA. The rally hadn’t even formally begun before it became violent and police broke it up. Shortly after that, an angry white supremacist from Ohio drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19 others (Archive.Is cached article). The driver reportedly had longstanding Nazi sympathies (cached). In other words, he was a card-carrying member of the “alt right” which had assembled in what is, basically, Thomas Jefferson’s hometown, to bluster and fume about the impending removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a city park (cached).

Shortly after, on Saturday, the Groper-in-Chief made some comments condemning the violence at that rally, which had mostly been planned for him, but he added (twice!) an additional “on many sides,” entirely on his own (cached). In other words, he was blaming both sides for the violence and death — which was definitely not the case. He took some heat for that, from his own party, even (cached)! On Monday afternoon, he read a perfunctory condemnation of white nationalists, which he thought would end the matter (cached). But the hubbub triggered by his initial equivocation and false equivalence didn’t die down.

So today, the Apricot Wonder met with some assembled reporters and proceeded to launch into a full-blown, ten-alarm, all-hands-on-deck infantile meltdown (cached).

That’s the only description that fits this fucking debacle. Really. It’s juvenile beyond words. Quoting any of it would be pointless, and give it more dignity than it deserves. If you feel the need to, you can watch it, courtesy of PBS News Hour, via Youtube (cached):

You can also read a transcript, courtesy of CNBC (cached). Some of the more salient points of the Groper’s raging shit-show, are:

  1. He refused to say when he would speak with Ms Heyer’s family, but twice mentioned nice things her mother had said about him
  2. He refused to say when he’d go to Charlottesville, but mentioned his house — and winery — there
  3. He refused to call the car attack “terrorism,” claiming he needed more “facts,” even though he never previously let “facts” get in the way of venting his spleen
  4. His answer to the problem of racism in the US was talking about jobs, and everyone making so much money that it would just die out … somehow
  5. He invented a new word, “alt-left,” and claimed that the car driver had been responding to them “charging” at the alt-right

Honestly, this is about as fucked up a situation as I’ve ever seen from Washington — and I’m someone who remembers the Watergate scandal.

Turning away from the walking trainwreck that is our Groper-in-Chief, I came across something else hideous — and yes, it had to come from the Right-wing’s house organ, of course (cached):

The leader of a Ku Klux Klan group based in North Carolina said he was “glad” that a woman died and others were injured after a man allegedly drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters Saturday at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.…

Justin Moore, the leader of the Grand Dragon for the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, told WBTV’s Steve Crump in a voicemail that he was “glad” Heyer was killed and others were injured in the vehicle attack.

“I’m sorta glad that them people got hit and I’m glad that girl died,” Moore said. “They were a bunch of communists out there protesting against somebody’s freedom of speech, so it doesn’t bother me that they got hurt at all.”

Is this really what’s become of the United States of America? Can it really be that we have such an infantile president and people who actually think it’s justifiable to drive cars into crowds merely because of them have “communist flags”?

This country is fucked. Royally. Right up the goddamn ass.

Photo credit: Brandon Baunach, via Flickr.

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Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers kneels on the sideline during the anthem prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys on October 2, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)This might seem a bit off-topic for my blog, but it’s a sterling example of a common form of irrationality, and as such, is quite relevant. So here goes!

By now most of my readers have heard the controversy about NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who last year aroused the sanctimonious ire of football fans around the country by first sitting, and then kneeling, through the national anthem as it was played prior to the start of games (Archive.Is cached article). It’s not for me to say whether he ought to have done this or not — he said it was to protest the killings of blacks by white cops — but many fans were outraged that he would do something so horribly anti-American. He became a free agent at the end of the year, and now arguably has been blackballed by the NFL because of his protests (cached).

Even so, the guy is an experienced (if far from stellar) quarterback, and since this is such a crucial position, naturally some teams may have to consider signing him.

One of those, at the moment, is the Baltimore Ravens. The team faces a little uncertainty where their “franchise” quarterback, Joe Flacco, is concerned (cached). Thus, the Ravens’ coach and G.M. have considered hiring the “undesirable” Kaepernick (cached); but the team’s owner reportedly doesn’t want him signed (cached).

The Ravens have denied this report, as might be expected (cached).

But let’s be honest: If owner Steve Bisciotti has, in fact, expressed disapproval for Kaepernick’s hire, there’s good reason for it: As CBS Sports reports, the team’s fans are fiercely opposed to the unemployed quarterback (cached):

If the Ravens decide to sign Colin Kaepernick, it’s a decision that might not sit well with their fan base.

According to NFL.com’s Mike Silver, Ravens fans have spent the past 24 hours letting the team know that they don’t want Kaepernick in Baltimore….

If teams are afraid of fan backlash, the the reaction in Baltimore isn’t going to help things. Fans also had a similar reaction in New York. Back in May, Giants co-owner John Mara said that fans in New York threatened to boycott his team if they decided to sign Kaepernick [cached].

The irrationality of Baltimore Ravens fans getting their panties in bunches over the (possible) hiring of Kaepernick becomes obvious, when one considers this is the team that was home to linebacker Ray Lewis for over a decade and a half … much of that time after he’d been present for a double homicide in 2000 (cached). Yes, that’s right: A double homicide! Although he was never convicted of murder or manslaughter, he did plead guilty to obstruction of justice (since he’d lied to investigators), and he settled with survivors of the deceased (cached). Yet, the Ravens and their fans were saddened by his retirement following the 2012 season, and the team sold Ray Lewis tribute shirts at the time (cached). These folk, then, are the ones who can’t tolerate Colin Kaepernick being on their team after his protests. Wonderful people, no? I’d call them “raging hypocrites,” but that might give actual “raging hypocrites” a bad name.

By comparison with Lewis’s involvement in a double homicide, which doesn’t appear to have cost him the adoration of Ravens fans, their anger against the prospect of hiring Kaepernick makes no sense. In fact, the national outrage he kicked up is virtually incomprehensible. Whether or not one agrees with Kaepernick, makes no difference: This is the United States, for fuck’s sake, and he has a right to protest things if he wants to. Protests are not “anti-American.” They are, instead, “pro-American,” because in America, protests are permissible. The US has a very old tradition of protest, which goes back prior to the country’s founding. There’s nothing wrong with any protest in which no one is hurt and nothing is damaged. The same can’t be said of what Ray Lewis had been up to on the night of January 30, 2000 (cached).

Please note, I only mentioned Lewis here because he was a dearly-beloved Raven. The list of other well-loved NFL players who’ve engaged in all sorts of wrongdoing — including criminal offenses — is legion. Few of them stir up the kind of vicious rage that, to date, has prevented Kaepernick from being hired. The best example I can think of is Michael Vick, who appeared unhireable after serving a prison sentence for animal cruelty, and who also faced the nation’s ire … but even he wound up returning to the NFL (cached).

The kind of militant nationalism that has kept Colin Kaepernick from playing football merely because he sat and kneeled through the national anthem is simply bizarre, when compared with the fact that even convicted felons have been embraced by the league. It’s just that simple.

P.S. I’m aware that Kaepernick’s ability is disputable. He had a couple good seasons, but is certainly no star quarterback. Many teams will pass on him simply because they have no place for him, or because they don’t think he will succeed with them. Sometimes a player is just not good enough to stay in the NFL (Tim Tebow, anyone?) I get that. What’s less comprehensible is why the NFL could take back people like Vick — or Baltimore fans could embrace Lewis — when both were guilty of crimes; yet the NFL has virtually blackballed Kaepernick, and Ravens fans are nearly in revolt over him, when all he did was to sit and kneel through the national anthem.

Photo credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images, via CBS Boston.

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stop signI’ll have to ask you, Dear Reader, for another indulgence. I find I must address, for a second time, something that’s off-topic. But it’s something that urgently needs to be said.

A couple months ago, I said it was time for the mass media to enact a moratorium on reporting our Groper-in-Chief’s tweets. At that point, he’d already tweeted something that had triggered something of a crisis in the federal government, and sent people running to deal with it — even though what he’d tweeted was not based on any evidence, and turns out to have been untrue. It’s one thing for the insane and infantile GiC to tweet stuff; it’s another for the media to treat his drivel as though it’s worthy of being reported. Most of his tweets are not, and it was clear to me, then, that the media needed to act that way.

Well, they didn’t take my advice. Instead, they continue indulging the Apricot Wonder, treating his every utterance as worthy of being repeated, relayed, analyzed, and otherwise worthy of being read by Americans. The GiC, naturally — having been given so much deference by the media — managed to outdo himself in imbecility and immaturity. On Thursday he fired off a crude, childish tweet about a pair of cable-news hosts (WebCite cached article), and earlier today he tweeted a childish, manipulated video of him attacking “CNN,” the cable-news channel personified (cached).

The Groper’s deputy spokeswoman defended his nasty Thursday tweet as a natural, expected, “tit-for-tat” thing (cached):

“The president has been attacked mercilessly on personal accounts by members on that program, and I think he’s been very clear that when he gets attacked, he’s going to hit back,” [she] told reporters during the afternoon briefing.

The deputy spokeswoman lied. No one — and I do mean absolutely no one — “attacked” the Apricot Wonder. Have people criticized him? Sure they have. Of course! Why would they not? And why should they not? No one in the US, not even the president, is above critique! But even with that said, no one has “attacked” him … “mercilessly” or not. An “attack” would be if someone had punched him in the face, or held him up at gunpoint. Nothing of the sort has ever happened to the Groper. And it won’t — because the Secret Service would never stand for it. (And they shouldn’t.)

The “attacks” the GiC and his minion are complaining about, are simply the natural, expected consequences of his own immature words and actions. The Groper is not entitled to flattering press coverage. He is not entitled to never have his insanity or folly commented on. He is not entitled to never have to see or hear news reports, or commentary, he dislikes. No such entitlement exists — not even for the president of the US. It simply doesn’t.

Quite the opposite: As a public servant, the Groper’s job is to take criticism in stride, and react to it like a grown adult. That’s just how life is. He doesn’t have to like it, or be happy about it … nevertheless, he has to just take it, and walk away. That’s his fucking job!

The Groper himself laughably contends the media are actually trying to silence him (cached). Nothing, however, could be further from the truth! In reality the mass media actively comply with his wishes, by reporting on his every tweet instantly. They couldn’t do a better job of relaying and propagating his ridiculous, juvenile bullshit if he were paying them to do so.

The problem with the media relaying the GiC’s numerous tantrums, is that his fanbois in Flyover Country feed on them. They like that he tweeted a vile comment about two cable-news hosts (whom most of them have never seen or heard, but who somehow know — because they’ve been told so by their talk-radio and alt-right overlords — are dastardly commie Leftists deserving only of condemnation). They also thrive on the reactions they engender; they love seeing Democrats and “the Lame Stream Media” aka the “Bicoastal Media Elite” condemn the Groper’s childish bilge. They love seeing their ideological foes are outraged. They’re fueled by such things, which is why the GiC keeps spewing them. It makes them happy, which for him is the most important thing in the world.

The media could, if they wanted to, break this feeding cycle. By not reporting the Apricot Wonder’s juvenile tweets, his fanbois may not hear about them, but even if they do, there won’t be any reaction to them, so they’ll be deprived of the joy of watching that. A moratorium would starve the Groper for the attention he pathologically craves, and would starve his fanbois of the sanctimonious outrage they love to sense.

The time for a moratorium on the GiC’s tweets has come. It’s time for the mass media to grow some cojones, stop indulging the Groper-in-Chief, and get off his fucking payroll already.

Photo credit: Clover Autrey, via Flickr.

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Radar loop of WS StellaLast Tuesday’s winter storm (named “Stella” by the Weather Channel, but “Eugene” by WFSB-TV here in Connecticut) turned out to be a bust, in the mid-Atlantic and New York City regions. And there’s been a lot of grumbling about how it was forecast. Those places all ended up getting much less snow than had been predicted.

Lots of people wonder how meteorologists could have been as wrong as they were. Well, it turns out, they actually knew — as the storm approached — the storm wouldn’t live up to their stated projections. Yet, as the New York Post reports, they chose not to change their forecasts to match what they knew would fall (cached):

On the eve of Tuesday’s Winter Storm Stella, the National Weather Service got reports that its dire prediction of up to 2 feet of snow for New York City may have been exaggerated — but decided not to change its forecast.

Fears of a massive blizzard led officials to close city public schools and for above-ground train service to be stopped — but in the end, only about 7 inches fell in Central Park.

After announcing that snow could reach record levels in the city, NWS meteorologists in New York and other Northeast cities held a conference call Monday afternoon about computer models that dramatically cut predicted totals.

But they decided to continue forecasting deep snow, claiming that they didn’t change their forecast for fear people would mistakenly think the storm was no longer dangerous.

Their excuse? They wanted to make sure people were still “cautious”:

[Chief of forecast operations at the Weather Prediction Center in Maryland, Greg] Carbin said a last-minute change downgrading snowfall totals might have caused people to let their guard down because ice was still a potential danger for cities such as New York and Washington.

Full disclosure: It may have seemed to New Yorkers that this storm was a dud, but that’s not quite true. Where I live, in northwestern Connecticut, we’d been told we could get between 16 and 24 inches of snow, and that turned out to be accurate. So not all the predictions failed to pan out … just some of them.

In the northeast, and especially here in the Nutmeg State, folks often joke that our weathermen punch up their forecasts to make them seem more dire than they ought to be, in order to glue the public to their TV sets, radios, whatever. Perhaps this is just a perception error, as well as a function of the basic uncertainty of weather forecasting. Or, maybe it really is the play for ratings it seems to be. But in this case — and in the case of the January 2015 blizzard — it’s clear this actually happened, and that meteorologists do exaggerate; and moreover that they feel entitled to do so whenever they see it as necessary.

We’re used to politicians lying to us, and have come to expect it. And maybe we kid around about weathermen grubbing for ratings by predicting cataclysm when none is on its way. But clearly, they lie. And they know they lie. And they admit they lie!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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'Ten time NCAA National Champions in Women's Basketball: UCONN' / via TrueBlueUConnPardon me, Dear Reader, for another off-topic post. As an alumnus of the University of Connecticut, things have reached the point where I just can’t help but weigh in on this topic. So here goes:

In case you didn’t know it, there’s a big basketball tournament underway. No, not the NCAA men’s tournament; I refer, instead, to the women’s NCAA tournament (WebCite cached version). Over the last few years there’s been a lot of grousing in the sports world over UConn’s dominance of this sport. They’ve won the last three national championships in a row, but even more than that, have been dominating in the games they play. Lately they’re 120-1 and have won all of those 120 by at least double digits. They haven’t just won a lot, they’ve blown people away … staggeringly. The main reason for this is that Breanna Stewart — who’s been called the best collegiate athlete in the country, male or female, in any sport — plays for them. But as someone who’s watched them since the 1980s (when they were really bad), I can tell you, it’s not just “Stewie.” The UConn women’s basketball team has a full complement of excellent players. There are no significant holes in their lineup.

At any rate, several years of consistent blowouts has led many in the sports media to wonder if the UConn women’s basketball team is “ruining” their sport. Among the latest sports media figures to do so was Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who tweeted a week ago (cached):

Now, Shaughnessy’s sports beat is the Boston Red Sox, so expecting him to expound cogently on a women’s college basketball team is probably asking a bit much. Later on, he said he wasn’t really blaming the Huskies for what they were doing — even if the text of his tweet clearly says otherwise (i.e. “they are killing women’s game,” emphasis mine). He just objected to how lame the other teams are, I guess. UConn coach, Geno Auriemma, responded by telling Shaughnessy it’s fine if he doesn’t watch (cached). Since then, the rest of the sports world has weighed in on the matter. Some of it is ridiculous, such as these comments by Fred Toucher of WBZ-FM — on whose show Shaughnessy appeared, in an effort to rehabilitate himself after the tweet (cached):

Do you understand that you’re not allowed to have an opinion on something in your hotel room while watching something on television? It exists, so you must like it. That is what’s going on now.

“You don’t like it; you’re a hater!”

“Oh, you don’t like women’s college basketball?! You’re sexist!”

Nice to see how he was able to turn this into a childish, anti-political-correctness tirade. Well done, dude! You must be so proud!

As much as Toucher would like it to be otherwise, this isn’t about whether or not someone likes women’s basketball, and it’s not about misogyny. It’s about whether or not a Division I basketball team should be permitted to play to its full potential, against opponents who — by and large — simply don’t match up to them. You see, as this piece from Deadspin (cached) makes clear, the UConn women’s team itself pretty much doesn’t care. They’re going out to play … and that’s all there is to it. They’re not about to slow down, or worse, purposely throw a couple games, just to satisfy a bunch of whiney sports writers. Nor should they! This is the kind of professionalism that’s gotten them where they are, and it will help those on the team who get to the WNBA.

As I said, this isn’t about the UConn women’s team. What they’re doing is what they’ve been doing for over 20 years now, which is to go on the court and play their hearts out. And that’s precisely what they should do. No, the problem is the rest of women’s college basketball. Aside from a very small number of other teams which are really good (e.g. Notre Dame, Stanford, Baylor, South Carolina), women’s college basketball teams are really afterthoughts in the minds of athletic departments. Very few resources are assigned to them. It’s a program they’re obligated to provide by virtue of Title IX, but it’s not something they’re invested in.

Now, one factor here is marketing and television revenue. Few schools have contracts covering their women’s basketball games, aside from a handful each year that ESPN might pick up via conference contracts. UConn has a contract of its own with New York sports network SNY, which picks up all the women’s games not served by the American Athletic Conference contract with ESPN. Prior to that, this contract had been with CPTV, Connecticut’s public television outlet. It’s a luxury many schools don’t have … but it’s not something they can’t exploit, if they wanted to.

Another consideration here is that, back in the 1980s when Auriemma was hired, UConn women’s basketball was lousy. Auriemma and the rest of the athletic department built it up over the course of years. A tipping point came with the recruiting of Kerry Bascom (cached). UConn began its consistent run of NCAA tournament appearances once she was on board, and it hasn’t let up since. But before that, there was nothing to speak of. If little UConn, out in the wilderness of eastern Connecticut, can build a relentless women’s basketball powerhouse from literally nothing, there’s no reason other schools can’t do the same. Their athletic departments just have to work at it. Nothing can stop them, if they wish to. Some schools are doing this: South Carolina is the most recent example I can think of. There’s talent out there to be had — UConn can’t take on every McDonald’s All American every year. Schools just need to hire good coaches, then go get the athletes.

The bottom line is, it’s time for people like Shaughnessy and his friend Toucher to stop bellyaching that women’s college basketball isn’t interesting because UConn wins too often. That they win a lot isn’t the problem. That other schools don’t try as hard to compete, is. They need to get off their asses and work at it … just as UConn has done since 1985 when Geno Auriemma was hired.

I won’t even get into the fact that dominance of any given sport by a team is something the sports media usually likes. For example, they’ve largely praised the Golden State Warriors, who are nearing the end of a possibly record-breaking season (cached). Each year there’s talk about which college football teams have been unbeaten. And on and on it goes. But they just can’t seem to view UConn the same way. Is it because it’s a women’s sport we’re talking about? Maybe. There are a lot of people who think all women’s sports are, by definition, lame. Is it because of geography? A lot of Americans can’t place Connecticut on a map. For some reason, New England sports teams get little or no respect in other parts of the country (I can’t travel outside the region with Red Sox, Bruins, or Patriots garb, without putting up with some nasty comment or other). I seriously wonder if that has something to do with it, as well.

But really, it shouldn’t matter. People who work in the sports media ought to be above their own petty subjective tastes. The problem is not with the sport of women’s college basketball, it’s how schools run their programs. And it needs to change — the sooner, the better.

Update: The UConn women’s basketball team defeated Syracuse, by a score of 82-51, last night to end the tournament (cached). It’s their 11th national championship, their 4th in a row, and it capped their 6th perfect season. Seniors Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, and Morgan Tuck have played to 4 championships, something no other college athletes have done before.

Photo credit: TrueBlueUConn.

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Red Sox logo (upside-down to show their miserable performance and crazed management)Sorry, folks. This is yet another off-topic post about the Red Sox, the team I followed for years but which has crumbled into oblivion, as far as I’m concerned.

This weekend, the Red Sox achieved a new high in low. And no, I’m not referring to their likely second consecutive and thrice-in-four-years last-place finish. Although that’s bad enough, I’m not referring to their lackadaisical play on the field. No, I’m referring to their continued shabby treatment of their TV play-by-play announcer, Don Orsillo. It’s bad enough they blamed him — not the horror that is the team itself — for lousy ratings and decided to let him go. That, all by itself, is ridiculous beyond words. I’m also not referring to how they asked Orsillo to lie for them after word of his firing leaked (WebCite cached link).

Both of those moves were idiotic and insulting, but right now I’m referring to yet another move which was even more insulting and childish. The Springfield, MA Republican tells the sad story of how the Sox have kept up their campaign of retribution against Orsillo (cached):

On Sunday, the Red Sox honored NESN play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo in his final game at Fenway Park with a video tribute at the park.

NESN, which did not renew Orsillo’s contract for next season, did not air the tribute on the broadcast, angering a fanbase that has already been vocal about the dismissal of Orsillo.

On Monday, NESN released a statement indicating it plans to air its own tribute to Orsillo for the final game of the season on Sunday.

NESN offered no reason why this tribute was an either/or thing; i.e. they could either play it at Fenway or air it on NESN, but not both. At this point, I can only conclude that Orsillo must have royally pissed someone off at NESN or in Sox management. There can’t really be any other explanation for the nasty way they’ve treated him. Not only did they knock the guy down, they proceeded to kick him while he was on the ground, then they kicked him some more. Yeah, the Red Sox management are a class act, all right.

It’s possible NESN will air something during Orsillo’s last broadcast with them this coming Sunday, but as things stand, we’ll never know if they’d actually planned it or if it will have merely been a reaction to yet another scandalous story.

I blame Tom Werner, Red Sox chairman, who heads its media operations (which includes NESN, in which the Sox are by far the majority owner). His inability to comprehend how baseball works has been obvious since Terry Francona revealed he’d demanded the Sox win their games “in more exciting fashion” (cached). His disclosed excuse for letting Orsillo go … which had to be dragged out of him after several days of fan outrage … was that he wanted to “re-energize the broadcasts” (cached). Seriously!? What the fuck does that even mean? Werner doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. He has no damned idea what’s wrong with the team he helps run.

The real problem with the Red Sox is on the field. At the moment, that’s best personified by a deadweight slug by the name of Hanley Ramirez. He’s been useless since the day he arrived and hasn’t gotten any better. The Sox decided to send him home even before the season’s over (cached), because they have no idea what the hell to do with him and he has no interest in playing. They’re paying a piece of shit tens of millions of dollars to wander around in the field and swing away at every pitch that goes by him … and they don’t even care that all of it’s being wasted. On the other hand, they do seem to care that Don Orsillo somehow isn’t “energetic” enough. Fuck that.

Photo credit: Based on Red Sox logo.

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Red Sox logo (upside-down to show their miserable performance and crazed management)Note: Today there was some news on this; see below.

Pardon me, Dear Reader, for going off-topic to discuss the debacle that is the Boston Red Sox. I haven’t blogged about them for a year now, nor for a couple years prior to that, but this is another of those occasions when they’ve done something terrible enough that I simply must speak out about it.

Right now, as tonight’s game in Chicago against the White Sox begins, their record is 57-69; they’re 13½ games behind the division-leading Blue Jays and 8½ behind the 4th place Tampa Bay Rays. Even with just over a month of baseball left to play, the Sox are almost guaranteed to finish in last place, for the second year in a row.

Their horrible play this year has led to the firing of pitching coach Juan Nieves (cached), the departures of CEO Larry Lucchino (cached) and general manager Ben Cherington (cached). 2013 championship heroes Shane Victorino (cached) and Mike Napoli (cached) flamed out and are gone.

What’s more, unsurprisingly and in a repeat of previous seasons, Clay Buchholz is hurt and unlikely to pitch again this season (cached). The injured Dustin Pedroia might be back before the season is over — if he’s lucky (cached). The past off-season’s big acquisitions Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval have fizzled spectacularly and embarrassingly (cached).

Poor play is a team-wide phenomenon: Starting pitching, the bullpen, fielding, and the hitting all suck. There have been a few positive outliers: Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, and … well, I guess they’re it. Holt was the lone Red Sox at the All Star Game — and he’s a fucking utility player, fercryinoutloud (cached).

In light of all of this, the team made another decision … one which is so bad that I can only assume Red Sox management has gone completely fucking insane: NESN (which is controlled by the Sox) fired television play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo (cached). He’s been calling games for NESN for many years now, alongside color man and former Red Sox second baseman Jerry Remy. They’re a team known for their beside-the-game antics and laughter, as seen in the following:

Granted, both Orsillo and Remy have their detractors. But I’ve watched them call a lot of Red Sox games over many years and overall can’t really complain about their ability to entertain even when the baseball is boring. It’s not unusual to hear fans say Orsillo makes it worth their time to watch the debacle which is Red Sox baseball. The outrage over his firing has become palpable enough to get national attention (cached).

Yes, I get that NESN’s ratings are down. But that’s not because of Don Orsillo. It’s because the fucking Red Sox fucking suck at fucking baseball! Lunatics have clearly taken charge at Fenway, if the team’s management really thinks jettisoning Orsillo is going to fix anything. I have nothing against Dave O’Brien, the radio guy who’s going to replace him, but I just don’t see how he’s going to turn around NESN’s flagging performance. The only thing that will do that is if the Red Sox field a team worth watching. That’s not going to happen, though, if the team’s management is crazy enough to think firing Orsillo is a solution.

Final note: There’s a Change.Org petition going around demanding Orsillo’s reinstatement. I doubt it’ll make the lunatics who run the team change their minds, but I’ve signed it, and you may as well, too.

Update: Earlier today, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner finally broke down and discussed Orsillo’s firing with Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald (cached):

The answer, in the opinion of Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and NESN president/CEO Sean McGrail, is that they believe Dave O’Brien, currently the play-by-play man on the radio side, will be an upgrade [to Don Orsillo].

It has nothing to do with ratings, they said, though Werner and McGrail both concede that ratings are down this season. It’s just that they want O’Brien.

As for Jerry Remy, it’s not clear what his role will be or how long he’ll remain where he is, even though Werner and McGrail promised that “he will be with us for sure.” Although it’s nice the Sox finally opened up about this, what they said doesn’t make them seem much less insane than before.

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