Have you ever been watching “Baseball Tonight” or any other studio show on ESPN and wondered if the anchors actually liked each other? I mean, I know I can’t stand most of the talking heads ESPN puts on the air so you have to figure there are times when Mike Ditka wants to reach across the desk and punch Stuart Scott right in his lazy eye when he says “Boo-ya!”
The one ESPN personality who I think has probably had it worse than anybody else is Karl Ravech. As host of Baseball Tonight he’s had to work with his fair share of idiots. Sure, dealing with Harold Reynolds wasn’t too bad — well, except for Harold’s insistence on post-show hugs — and Peter Gammons is an icon, but aside from those two there are a lot more Steve Phillips and John Kruks sitting behind that desk. There has to be occasions where Ravvy just wants to choke Krukker after he says something that makes no real sense, but if there have been, Karl isn’t talking.
When I first read the news that John Kruk lived with a bank robber during his playing days, I just assumed it was Mitch Williams. It somehow seemed fitting.
Turns out, this happened in 1987, while Kruk was with the Padres, and it was some dude named Roy Plummer, a high school acquaintance. So other than possibly stealing loot from banks patronized by Kruk’s teammates, Plummer had absolutely nothing to do with professional baseball.
Despite the large sums of money lying around the house, and Plummer having no visible means of employment, Kruk didn’t recognize the possibility that his new roomie might be up to no good.
STUFFED-CRUST COACHES FACE OFF IN A HEART-POUNDER: BIG TEN TAILGATE is polite to point out that this weekend college football’s most esteemed lardasses, Kansas Coach Mark Mangino and Toledo Coach Tom Amstutz, will be playing sideline seesaw during the Jayhawks-Rockets matchup in Lawrence, KS (if only we weren’t going to USC-Nebraska!).
ESPNERS WONDER IF BONDS IS BOYCOTTING THEIR GAMES: John Ryan of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS reports that Barry Bonds has not played in the three games in which the Giants have appeared on ESPN this season, leading some to wonder if he is “boycotting the Worldwide Leader.” (Bonds also sat out the ESPN-televised Home Run Derby last week)
After Bonds ducked out of the Giants-Cubs game on ESPN Monday, “Baseball Tonight” host Karl Ravech and analyst John Kruk had this convo:
Ravech: “Barry said yesterday, `I don’t need a day off.’ This is, I believe, Game 3 in a row that the ESPN cameras have been there and he hasn’t played. I can’t believe there’s any connection. That wouldn’t be right to the team.”
Kruk: “You would hope not.”
Ravech: “There’s no way.”
Kruk: “You would hope he doesn’t dislike us that much that he would sit out games.”
Why would Bonds dislike ESPN? Perhaps he was watching SportsCenter Monday when anchor Steve Levy, upon seeing Bonds behind a chain-link fence, remarked “There’s a behind-bars joke there somewhere“.
The comment was later edited out of the broadcast for morning replays.