What’s left for the Knicks to sell?
A battle for point guard supremacy between Frank Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay?
Sorry, that won’t cut it. And that’s a big problem for James (Guitar Jimmy) Dolan and Knicks marketing suits. Just as there is no one to blame for Kristaps Porzingis going down with a torn ACL, which puts his basketball future in major doubt, there is no way to spin it either.
Now, even with their decades of darkness and poor performance on track to continue, there is a difference. Through the years, the Knicks were a soap opera of dysfunction. The drama, combined with an iconic building and an “event” people wanted to be a part of, never left. Plenty of tickets were sold and the ratings on the MSG Network did not tank.
Whether it was the chaotic Isiah Thomas regime, Dolan’s dance with Donnie Walsh, the coming of Carmelo Anthony and his star-crossed years here, the brief star shine of Linsanity or Guitar Jimmy giving Phil Jackson the keys to the organization allowing him to wreck it further, there was always intrigue surrounding this team. The storyline of these losers attracted national attention. While it was never good for the growth of the Knicks it sold.
Now, the team is bad AND boring. That’s a terrible combination.
The only hope being cheerfully sold by Valley of the Stupid Gasbags is about players who the Knicks might draft with a lottery pick. Or the same tired lines about how you can rebuild in New York. These are sickening soliloquies heard before. What they all won’t admit is an organization that sells some of the highest priced tickets in the NBA, and owns a network that charges one of the highest carriage fees in the country, is starting all over again for the umpty-umpth time.
Why should anyone believe this time around will be any different? Will the fact Steve Mills and Scott Perry are running the Knicks change anything? The media covering the Knicks, many skilled in the art of Twinkie Munch, are giving them the benefit of the doubt. How long will that last?
More importantly to Dolan, what kind of financial hit will the Knicks take while Mills and Perry try to dig out of this mess? Will fans continue paying high ticket prices to watch a team without a gate attraction? Will they continue paying the price for a team that has little chance to win when they step on the court? And will fans continue watching the Knicks on MSG when there is no buzz surrounding the team?
Even in the Knicks’ darkest hour, Dolan does have something going for him. There are enough fans and Fan Boys and Girls in the media operating with blind faith who will give the organization the benefit of the doubt. They believe this time will be different. They tell the Free World this time around, the organization will strip it down and do it the right way. That history won’t repeat itself.
Don’t hold your breath.
If Michael Smith was so angered by ESPN “muting” him and Jemele Hill on “SC6,” why didn’t he just follow his co-host out the door when she split the scene on Feb. 2?
Judging by his comments on James Miller’s “Origins” podcast, Smith is not a happy fella. He said ESPN ultimately didn’t want the show to be the personality-driven production it was created to be. He said he was told one of the strengths of the show was the chemistry, “…But (now) Michael and Jemele don’t f—— talk to each other? How does that make sense?” Smith asked on the podcast.
Then again, “SC6’s” ratings were down double digits from the start. The ratings began rising out of the toilet and were actually going up when ESPN changed the format to make it more news driven, relying less and less on the personalities of Smith and Hill. Until further notice, the object of TV shows is to get the highest ratings possible, not to satisfy the talent’s egos.
Hill left the show with both her and ESPN saying she wanted to do other things. Hill now handles a variety of ESPN assignments including writing for The Undefeated website. However, the way her departure went down leads us to believe she was pushed out the “SC6” door.
After Smith’s soliloquy, we doubt he will be hanging out at “SC6,” or SportsCenter,”much longer.
While Cris Collinsworth was trying to figure out whether Corey Clement and Zach Ertz made legitimate touchdown catches during Super Bowl LII, we wondered why NBC did not use a rules analyst on such a big game.
It’s not like networks airing Super Bowls never have brought in different elements (a special camera, etc.) for the big game. Turns out NBC had trained ref eyeballs on hand. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Fred Gaudelli, NBC’s “SNF” producer who produced the Super Bowl telecast, said a “former referee” and an NFL “officiating supervisor” were both in the booth.
Then why not put them on the air? Part of Collinsworth’s “problem” was he had seen so many interpretations of what a catch was during the season, even he could not be sure. Having a former ref or supervisor delivering their judgement on the air would have been a service to viewers.
Also, during the week leading into a Super Bowl, the announcers have a lot of ancillary appearances to make as well as preparing for the game. Having a rules analyst on site to make these calls would’ve taken some added pressure — one less thing to worry about — off Collinsworth and Al Michaels.
NBC’s Supe crew had the officials in place. They should have used them.
Don’t look for Joe Girardi to be too candid during his new gig on MLB Network.
When he worked for the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network and Fox Sports, Girardi rarely criticized players.
Now, it is clear Girardi wants to manage again. This will make him even more reluctant to criticize anyone, including other managers, GMs and team owners. It will be up to one of his studio partners to bring the “worst” out of him.
No shortage of media outlets went gaga over the Rangers sending season ticket holders a heads-up letter about tearing down the team at the trade deadline. Unfortunately, this missive came two days after the same folks got a letter from MSG telling them they had a deadline of March 9 (kind of early) to renew their Rangers season tickets for next season… Interesting that in the new Thursday Night Football five-year deal with Fox, the Foxies are not required to use their No. 1 NFL broadcast team (as CBS and NBC were) on the telecasts. Ya think Fox might want to team Kevin Burkhardt with Peyton Manning on TNF? Ya think ESPN might want Manning to replace Jon Gruden on “MNF?” Bet the ranch both Fox and ESPN have contacted Manning but it still looks like he’s not ready for the booth… WOR-AM suits have finally set Sal Licata free. He’s on an 11-day solo sportstalk run without Whathisname, aka Pete McCarthy.
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DUDE OF THE WEEK: NICK FOLES
The Eagles QB wrote a storybook ending to a roller NFL season full of turbulence, accusations, mistrust, misunderstanding and even some misinterpretation. Foles played his butt off in the biggest game of the year, taking down a team that many felt had the game locked up the moment the programs were printed. Also, Foles’ humility and compassion makes him a standout performer with or without the jersey.
DWEEB OF THE WEEK: JOSH MCDANIELS
OK, some of us have backed out on a lease, auto purchase, perhaps even a house, so changing one’s mind is no crime. But the Pats offensive coordinator had more than a month to ponder a potential move to Indianapolis since the Colts fired Chuck Pagano. How much time does a coach as experienced and accomplished as McDaniels need to know he isn’t right for the job? Isn’t it ironic this is the same man who has to decide on crucial play calls, under pressure, within about five seconds after each play?
What Massahiro Tanaka said: “My thought (when I decided not to opt out of my contract) was I want to go out and battle with these guys again and try to really get where we want to get.”
What Massahiro Tanaka meant to say: “What, me opt out of the contract? I’m no fool. In this market I would have wound up taking a paycut!”