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HBO's Merchant can kick my butt any day

By Norman Chad

THESE ARE 23 (more) facts, tried and true, about the widening world of sports television:

  • 1. I firmly believe in a market-driven economy, but that doesn't mean I've got to like an economy driven by a market for televised high school football games.
  • 2. Fox NFL officiating guru Mike Pereira speaks with such authority, they should just put a black robe on him.
  • 3. Frankly, the only sideline reporters I respect are those at the Running of the Bulls.
  • 4. Ageless Marv Albert is doing NFL games again, making him the first man to broadcast pro football by TV (CBS), by radio ("Monday Night Football") and by telegraph (Western Union).
  • 5. I'd spot Bernie Madoff $10,000 'til next week before I'd go see "Moneyball."
  • 6. If you told yourself the new Coor Lights ad campaign with former NFL coaches could not be worse than the last one, you would be wrong.
  • 7. Question: How many times can Sports Illustrated/NBC's Peter King be wrong in one year? Answer: A lot.
  • 8. I'm such a fan of HBO's Larry Merchant, I'd let him kick my butt today, if he felt like it.
  • (Column Intermission I: I was reading a New York Times story recently about longtime Yankees radio broadcaster John Sterling. Among Sterling's inexplicable quirks is his penchant for going into his home run call - "It is high, it is far ..." - on balls that are caught. His explanation: "It is my style to be ahead of the play. You can do play-by-play after the fact, but I choose not to." Wow. Couch Slouch is speechless.)

  • 9. The Decline of American Civilization in a nutshell: Somehow, in the last half-century of television we've gone from Kitty Carlisle to Snooki.
  • 10. If Verne Lundquist lived next door to me, I'd go over to borrow a cup of sugar every other day.
  • 11. Nice to see Joe Piscopo back on TV, though I have no immediate interest in a 24-Karat Gold Leather Official Major League Baseball.
  • 12. I just heard Brent Musburger's call of Custer's Last Stand: "You're looking live at Little Bighorn ..."
  • 13. CNN's Piers Morgan is 46 and already has written three volumes of memoirs. I don't trust anyone on pace to write five volumes of memoirs.
  • 14. If the NFL were really concerned about player safety, they'd make sure no one on the field could ever hear what Fox's Tony Siragusa is saying.
  • 15. They say no two snowflakes are alike; I believe this also applies to Craig Sager's jackets.
  • 16. When ESPN flashes an in-game 'STAT ALERT," I sit up on my sofa.
  • (Column Intermission II: As someone who has bemoaned the cultural menace of "All My Rowdy Friends" kicking off "Monday Night Football" for two decades, I found it curious that the show opening died an unexpected death over Hank Williams Jr.'s impolitic political remarks. It was reminiscent of nailing Al Capone on tax evasion.)

  • 17. Considering the ever-widening landscape of late-night talk shows on TV, it's hard to believe the last black face hosting one of these programs was Orlando Jones in 2003. Orlando Jones?
  • 17a. Then again, there's probably not that many black comedians out there.
  • 18. Nancy Grace is on "Dancing With the Stars." What, Squeaky Fromme bailed?
  • 19. My dog Sapphire scampers under the table when she hears thunder, firecrackers or Gus Johnson.
  • 20. If Fox doesn't get rid of those hard-to-decipher team logos on its NFL in-game score graphic ASAP, I will hack into every one of Rupert Murdoch's phones, including his hot line to Margaret Thatcher.
  • 21. I thought I saw Jim Gray the other morning grilling one of the clerks at DMV.
  • 22. Two things I'll never understand: Why I always order tomato juice on airplanes and why I always watch "Point Break" on TNT.
  • 23. I now wear eye black when I write columns.
  • Ask The Slouch

    Q. What do you consider to be the purest form of American sports fandom - the guy who brings a "D" and a picket fence to a football game or the fellow who compels a putted golf ball to "get in the hole"? (Ed Pretzsch; Falls Church, Va.)

    A. The chap who wears a Mark McGwire jersey to his 25-year high school reunion.

    Q. The Vikings? You know nothing about football, you know nothing about poker, you appear to know nothing about everything. (Scott Long; Chicago)

    A. If it's any consolation, I believe taking the Lions as my Team of Destiny in 2009 was even a bigger blunder. On the other hand, my latest marital pick has been a solid one.

    Q. Is there is a limit to the number of hoodies per table at the World Series of Poker? (Craig Orndorff; Woodstock, Va.)

    A. Nine.

    Q. Does the Lingerie Football League have a fantasy league, or would that be redundant? (Dick Borzych; Mequon, Wis.)

    A. Pay the man, Shirley.

    You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!


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