ESPN is great … on mute

I’m trying to finish off the weekend with a little more baseball on TV and I’ve come to the realization that more often than not, I’d probably be a lot better off if I watched ESPN on mute.

I’ve already had to listen to Joe Morgan and Jon Miller go back and forth tonight about whether you should call a slider a “slide piece” or a “slide ball.” Miller filled air time during Padres catcher Luke Carlin by repeating, “Luke, feel the force” and Morgan was clearly amused by the fact that Reds manager Dusty Baker was recently quoted saying that the team isn’t his, it’s the former GM’s team.

At least ESPN’s Jayson Stark acknowledges that Baker should, at a bare minimum, share the blame for Cincinnati’s terrible record this season. Morgan just sits back and chuckles. Dodging responsibility for a terrible managing job is hilarious, right Joe?

Right now Morgan is babbling about his daughter getting into Stanford as a gymnast. Hey Joe, why in the world would I care? Try calling the ballgame.

Now that the NFL season is right around the corner it means that blowhard Chris Berman will be getting regular air time again which is bad news. At least he seems a little more calm on the NFL show than when he screams his lungs out while calling the All-Star home run derby or when he’s biting people’s heads off behind the scenes in Bristol, Conn.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TLG_LtWhj4.

ESPN also provides us with the not-so-soothing sound of Dick Vitale’s voice during college basketball season. I always feel sorry for Jay Bilas when he has to be on the same set as Vitale. Bilas is calm, cool and collected while Vitale acts like a little kid who scarfed down a handful of chocolate covered espresso beans after forgetting to take his Ritalin in the morning.

The “Baseball Tonight” crew fits in well with the rest of ESPN’s cast of clowns. Eric Young’s “Souvenir City” home run call is almost as annoying as the “Phil Thine Horn with Oil” call they use when the Phillies go deep.

Steve Phillips, a terrible GM back when he could actually land a major league job, shares his wisdom on “Baseball Tonight ” by knocking the Angels’ trade for Mark Teixeira because they traded away the far more affordable (yet far less talented) Casey Kotchman.

I hope Phillips doesn’t spend much time sitting by the phone waiting for a team to call him about being a GM again. Then again, if Jim Bowden can still have a job in the bigs I guess Phillips still has a snowball’s chance in hell of drawing a major league paycheck again.

The mute button is a life saver. It’s the only way to watch a baseball game being called by Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on Fox, the only way to watch a Giants game without Krukow and Kuiper getting in the way on local TV and the only way to watch ESPN without getting a migraine.

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