Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Public Enemy #1: Jeff Brantley

Now it's one thing to have to watch the Red Sox blow another game to the Yankees primarily due to miscues, but to have to listen to Jeff Brantley explain why the Red Sox stink is almost too much.

Before I go any further, let me say that before the 7th inning, I was thinking that I don't care if David Ortiz makes a bushel of errors at first base, I'd take anything over Millar playing the position. Well, lo and behold, my wish was granted about fifteen minutes later when Ortiz's error led to two Yankees run.

Luckily, Brantley described the line drive off the bat of Tony Clark not as ricocheting off of Ortiz's glove (as everyone -- even people without televisions -- could see), but instead, he insisted that it went through his glove. Genius.

Earlier in the game, Brantley shared this little nugget: "This is a must win game for the Red Sox." For effect (a few innings later), ESPN went to the studios to get the perspectives of Rob Dibble and Peter Gammons. The first point Gammons made was that this is by no means a "must-win" game for the Red Sox -- which I'm sure is pretty much the consensus among those people still walking around with brains in their heads.

And why exactly would this be a "must-win" game on June 30? Did Bud Selig change the schedule and the season now ends with the All-Star game? I really have a hard time understanding why networks hire former players as game commentators when it's not clear, despite their professional experiences, they know what they're talking about.

If ESPN is going to continue to hire guys like Brantley, I suggest they don't half-ass it. If they're going to do it, do it right. For instance, why not hire Deion Sanders to join him in the booth and while you're at it, get Mike Tyson to do the on-the-field/in-the-stands interviews. The entertainment this trio would provide could at least ease the pain of watching the Red Sox kick balls around the field.