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 SlouchQ. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!