28 May 2006

Big Media Drops the Ball

Since briefly poking my head in the door last week, I was a bit more interested in the Indianapolis 500 this year than usual. When it comes to motorsports, I'm not so big on the roundy-round stuff, but I'd give it Anton's Loop another look see.

And then ABC stepped in. Where do I begin? First, they propped up old, dusty Brent Musburger to act as some sort of gameshow host for the event. As if, after 90 years, anyone needs that. His failure to properly pronounce the names of the Japanese and Brazilian drivers was almost as awful as his forced jive about today being the beginning of MarcoMania, in reference to 19-year old Marco Andretti, who finished second.

The preposterousness continued by introducing Rusty Wallace as a commentator. Sure he's raced at Indy . . . in fake doorslammers, but the only thing rhino NASCAR has in common with gazelle Indy is that they both go counter-clockwise. Maybe he's still really tight with Roger Penske, and that's how he skated into the booth, but Rusty talkin' open wheel is like Xavier McDaniel working the Stanley Cup Finals.

Before we even got the drivers to their cars, ABC heaped upon us some faux angry band called Staind or Trapt or Losr or some other non-word in need of a vowel. At least we got to hear Jim sing, have Mary tell the drivers to fire 'em up, and see good old-fashioned flyover by some military might.

Of course they fueled the predictable hype around Danica Patrick, all of which tends to make her a carnival attraction and takes away from her very real racing skills. Down in the pits, it was like a episode of Oprah as some runway model in a fire suit asked Mario Andretti and Chip Ganassi to bear their very vulnerable souls. Pass the tissue.

All throughout the race ABC pimped it's coverage of the NBA playoffs, PGA, WNBA and World Cup teasers. I don't know any race fan that gives a rip about this stuff. I mean, I'll be watching the World Cup, but I'm weird. Long gone are the days when "sports fans" would just accept and soak in an entire afternoon of whatever sport the benevolent network bothered to provide.

All that, and the cheap bastards didn't even produce it in high-definition.

Anyway, congrats to Sam for putting together two very good laps at the end to close the gap for the win.

See ya next year. Maybe. TV idiots . . .

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