THE COUCH SLOUCH

23 observations on sports and media you won't want to miss

Getty Images

These are 23 (more) facts, tried and true, about the widening world of sports television:

1. They say that nobody gets out alive – I assume they are referring to ESPN's First Take.

2. Every time I go to the Cheesecake Factory, I can't believe how long the wait is – the food's good, but not that good. College football on TV is sort of the same thing.

3. I would compare Norman Esiason's 18-year run on CBS's The NFL Today favorably with J. Edgar Hoover's 37-year run as FBI director.

4. Here's the thing about ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball: It's unwatchable and unlistenable, which, put in layman's terms, means it's hard to watch and hard to listen to.

5. All I do is tell people to watch more bowling on TV, and all people do is ignore me.

6. I wanted to invite ESPN's Jeremy Schaap and his wife Joclyn over for dinner recently, but we couldn't rent a butler in time.

7. Fellow Terp Scott Van Pelt is so good on SportsCenter, I almost forgive him his blind spot on University of Maryland athletics.

8. Bob Costas is growing on me.

(Column Intermission I: Virtually completing our descent into cultural hell, cbssports.com's Chris Trapasso now offers regular power rankings of NFL practice-squad players. This is likely the final piece in the puzzle for the fast-growing NFL practice-squad fantasy sports industry. For the record, Cardinals quarterback Kyle Sloter – boy, the kid's got great arm talent and eye discipline – currently is ranked No. 1.)

9. If it's all about "launch angle," I suspect Albert Einstein would've been an incredible baseball GM and sports bettor.

10. I always read Barstool Sports' website while on the can to cut out the middleman.

11. One day FS1's Doug Gottlieb will say something that I write down, and when I look at it a bit later, I'll actually think, "Yeah, that makes sense."

12. If Woodstock had morphed into an annual music festival, I'm guessing Joe Lunardi would have another specialty.

13. I understand that MTV doesn't show music videos anymore, but how come every time I turn on the Golf Channel to watch a golf tournament, they're not showing any golf?

14. I hate to state the obvious, but why wouldn't the NFL consider Tuesday Night Football and Wednesday Night Football as well?

15. It is a statistical improbability that no one from esports, cornhole or darts telecasts has called me to provide commentary.

16. The day that synchronized swimming incorporates replay challenges, I'll know it's all but over.

(Column Intermission II: Here is verbatim analysis from Alex Rodriguez during a recent Phillies-Mets game on ESPN: "You always want even leads, versus odd leads. Why? The solo home run doesn't tie it and the grand slam does not beat you." I don't know where to start, so I won't.)

17. In medieval times, every town had a village idiot. Now, there is FS1's Speak for Yourself.

18. While in the middle of a recent appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, NBC's Peter King was ticketed for talking on his cellphone while driving. Actually, I think the cop gave King a ticket for polluting the airwaves.

19. Toni and I never argue over who gets the clicker because we can never find it.

20. I'd bet Jeremy Schaap's last Argyle sock that one day there will be a sports betting show on TV called, No Gamble No Future.

21. 7-Eleven never closes, which makes me wonder if the place ever gets cleaned up really good; I worry about ESPN in the same way.

22. TMZ Sports? Uh, no.

23. Perhaps you could cite my own self-interest in this matter and perhaps I am wrong, but I firmly believe that poker on TV saves lives.

Ask The Slouch

Q. So the Jaguars, your NFL Team of Destiny, now have Gardner Minshew, the "Stache" at Washington State, starting at quarterback. As the "Stache" in the sports writing community, how do you figure this will turn out? (Steve Hintyesz; Spokane, Wash.)

A. I have known about Minshew ever since meeting him at a mustache mixer in 2018. He is destined for greatness and the Jags are still destined for Super Bowl 54.

Q. Does Odell Beckham Jr. wearing a $190,000 watch during games offend you? (Radu Marinescu; Glendale, Ariz.)

A. Critics fail to realize that, by wearing a watch during games, Beckham is the only one on the field to know the time of day after every play.

Q. Sam Darnold out with mononucleosis? Really? (Ben Whitman; St. Petersburg, Fla.)

A. It's an odd ailment attached commonly to New York Jets quarterbacks – didn't Joe Namath have mono after kissing Suzy Kolber?

Q. Historically, which has been the greater jinx: Appearing on a Sports Illustrated cover or being selected as the Couch Slouch Team of Destiny? "Doc" Scoville; Fairfax, Va.)

A. Listen, pal, I have overcome the jinx of working for Sports Illustrated to be here today, of almost sound mind and body.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome