Friday, January 8, 2010

Weekend words of wisdom

*I'm a late convert to HDTV. My old TVs produce bright, sharp pictures. Sure, HDTVs are better. But not that much, I've always declared. Then, over the holidays, after seeing even newer, brighter, sharper HDTVs, I made the jump and bought a couple. They'll be delivered next week. I'm set, no? Maybe not even for a couple of years. Now they're starting to push 3D-TVs. Mark it down: Not interested. I hope I don't have to eat my words ... again.

*Speaking of TV, how come everybody knew Jay Leno's shift to primetime was going to be a disaster, except the people at NBC who did the shifting? We told you in this blog the day after his debut that Leno's program was a dud. Then again, it's pretty much his old "Tonight Show", only 90 minutes earlier, and I didn't care for that either. But millions did, and they loyally tuned in every night after the late news. But NBC was too smart by half. Years ago they signed Conan O'Brien to replace Leno, figuring that by 2009, the latter would have run his course, and the former would bring in the next generation of viewers. But Leno was still at the top of his game - whatever that is - in 2009, yet he was pushed into a new and predictably vulnerable time slot. And O'Brien, while indeed drawing higher ratings than CBS' David Letterman in the youth market, overall is trailing by 2 million viewers a night. In short, NBC created its own mess. Now it appears Leno may go back to his old slot, but only for a half-hour, pushing O'Brien (and Jimmy Fallon behind him) to post-midnight. To my knowledge, no NBC executives have fallen on a sword ... yet. But it may not be long: NBC is being sold to Comcast.

*What typically sets apart the National Baseball Hall of Fame from other sports shrines is its exclusivity. Only the best and most dominant players get in. Maybe not. Take Andre Dawson, an excellent hitter-outfielder by any measurement. But who looks back on Dawson's era and says he was so exceptional as to be a Hall-worthy player? Few, I'd say. Yet there he was this week getting enough votes to punch a ticket to Cooperstown. By the way, the baseball writers/voters have to come to grips with designated hitters. For better or worse, the DH position has been part of the game for decades. Sure, DHs are incomplete players. But that's the job the American League has designed for them. So if they're part of the game, the absolute best should be cited. And in this case, Seattle's Edgar Martinez absolutely was the dominant DH during his playing days, so much so that the league's annual award for the best DH is named after him. Nonetheless, Martinez didn't come close to earning enough votes. Does that mean Mariano Rivera won't get in when the Yankees' closer's days are done? After all, he only pitches about an inning at a time. Incomplete by the voters' DH standards. No way, obviously.

* As I mentioned in the last blog, I'm not a violent man. But I'd pay for a ringside seat to see Bill O'Reilly slug it out with Keith Olbermann.
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