You don’t believe we’re on the eve of self-destruction?
If I were no longer surprised to hear anything, I would have driven off the road. Wednesday on WABC 770-AM, co-host Sid Rosenberg was heard excitedly pumping FanDuel as the best gambling site to place your NFL bets.
Rosenberg was a losing gambler — the overwhelming majority are — but a lucky man in that he resumed his radio career after several depths of degradation flings with addiction, including gambling.
And in September 2017, when his former pal and radio colleague Craig Carton was busted and eventually convicted for scamming millions to sustain a gambling habit, Rosenberg, speaking to The Post’s Paul Schwartz, said this:
“I know it sounds crazy, and I may be the only one in the country who feels sympathy for him, but that’s how I look at it because I’m a recovering addict, and I’ve had gambling issues in my life, as well. There’s a part of me that’s sympathetic. Like, this guy is so sick.
“I went to Gamblers Anonymous time and time again, been abstinent for a long time, then I’d fall off the cliff a little bit. But I know how deadly the disease is, man. It’s like drugs and alcohol, except those you can smell and see. Gambling is different. You can go years, no one is going to know. But you’re laying on your pillow at night and you’re like, ‘How do I come up with a million dollars?’ And it’s terrible.”
Yet Rosenberg is pumping what he knows to be poison. There’s no staff announcer who can handle such commercial assignments?
But this is where we’re at, and it’s growing worse. On the day Carton was arrested, his sorrow-filled WFAN partner, Boomer Esiason, dutifully read ads for gambling come-ons. Charles Barkley, an admitted problem gambler who ran out on a $400,000 Las Vegas casino debt, later shamelessly starred in get-rich-quick commercials for FanDuel.
And The Great Capitulator, Roger Goodell, who once testified that gambling destroys entire families, now certifies all forms of gambling on NFL games as long as the NFL receives its cut of NFL fans’ losses. And losing one’s money is what both the odds and the house guarantee.
There’s no running from it. The Jets are in the process of an ad campaign urging their fans to “enjoy this season” by gambling on games through its affiliated sportsbook.
Last week, University of Colorado athletic director Rick George was delighted to announce that his school is No. 1! — the first college to sign a sponsorship with an online sports gambling enterprise, PointsBet, an Australian-based operation that’s establishing a U.S. headquarters in Denver.
George claimed the NCAA and Pac-12 are good with the five-year deal. Of course they’re good with it. It’s about money, and all money is good, even if it betrays previous and still-standing values.
“There are casinos that are [adjacent to collegiate] venues,” George explained to the Denver Post, “some in our league and some in other leagues.”
But this is even easier than walking into a casino or a sportsbook; it’s online! It’s no further than one’s cell phone, which can’t inspect IDs, either legit or the bogus kind college kids flash to near-campus bar bouncers. Got a credit card? Fire away!
Meantime, the NCAA is playing both sides with its boiler-plated reminder that sports gambling “has the potential to undermine the integrity of sports contests and jeopardizes the well-being of student-athletes.”
By the way, if excitable WFAN host and tout John Jastremski actually bets his picks with vigor, which he leads listeners to believe he does, he’s in for a big fall. It’s a lock.
It can be hard to count all the millions of TV dollars
I still can’t grasp one mountain of money from another. Tony Romo will call NFL games for CBS at nearly $18 million per? That’s crazy! I mostly enjoy his work, but I wouldn’t have paid him a penny over $17 million.
That brings to mind the day in 1988 when NBC’s Kevin Monahan called with the sad news that NBC, so good at presenting baseball, had lost MLB rights to CBS.
“By how much?” I asked.
“By $400 million.”
“Is that a lot?”
“I don’t know,” he said.
You ever think in terms of what-ifs?
What if Doc Emrick had chosen MLB, NBA or NFL play-by-play broadcasting over the NHL? He’d be nationally cherished, right up there with Vin Scully, Marv Albert and Al Michaels.
Then there are what-ifs that inspire gratitude. What if, for example, Mike Francesa had chosen to become an air traffic controller?
A what-if applies to Richard Migliore. Had he been an accomplished baseball, football or basketball player, he’d likely be well known by now as an extra special, insightful TV or radio analyst.
But Migliore was an accomplished jockey, thus he stars, largely to small audiences, on MSG’s and FS1’s live NYRA racing TV shows — where he’s candid, pleasant, filled with applicable info and displays a sense of humor with modesty. He holds my interest in a sport he has helped me learn more about.
NFL makes a drop
A 16 percent drop in NFL opening game ratings? That’s huge, given that Texans-Chiefs was regarded as a good matchup and so many were shut in on a Thursday night due to COVID restrictions. Perhaps social activism works both ways.
The Rangers have called up catcher Sam Huff, no known kin to the Giants’ No. 70. The Giants’ Huff is now 85 and long afflicted by dementia.
The Blue Jays beat the Red Sox, 10-8, Sunday in a mere 4 hours, 25 minutes. Tuesday, in 8 ½-innings, the Jays beat the Yankees, 12-7, in 4:02. But neither game included that timesaving automatic intentional pass.
Gene Budig, the last president of the American League, died last week at 81. After being appointed by Bud Selig, Budig didn’t realize how deluded he sounded when he said that he welcomes his new job as protecting “a public trust.”
When will TV execs learn that it’s TV? We don’t need newer graphics, we need fewer graphics.
Ever hear cardboard cutouts boo? In a 6-2 loss to the Angels on Thursday, the Rangers batters struck out 15 times, six of them two or more times. … Interesting how many silly expressions seem to be played out then fade away. For the previous two MLB seasons, we couldn’t listen to a game without hearing about pitchers facing “high-leverage situations.” Now? Gone with the wind.
How is it that with all of LeBron James’ social activism and demands for justice he hasn’t spoken out against the arrests and incarcerations of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong by the racist, communist Chinese. Or do his expensive signature Nike sneakers, made for pennies in China, buy his silence?
Show of hands: Who here any longer gives a rat’s retina about what Odell Beckham Jr. says or thinks?
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