Above, A-Rod and his “friend” Biff Henderson

By Rex O’Rourke

Sacramento, Ca. – Let’s face it boys and girls, the national pastime is no longer the national pastime. The NFL has defeated MLB, or at the very best, it’s 42-14 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. If it was a fight they would have stopped it.

Now you know how much I love baseball, and I’m pretty keen on pigskin as well, but the NFL has done such a good job penetrating every aspect of our sports lives that I can’t envision a day when it’s not numero uno. On Wednesday, two days after the last game of NFL week seven, and four days before week eight commences, with the start of the World Series just hours away (contested by two big market teams I might add) Pardon the Interruption went to four other topics before getting to the Fall Classic. Brett Favre’s return to Green Bay and Andre Agassi’s book topped a list of mostly NFL stories that sent baseball into the background, yet again. Around the Horn had pretty much the same pecking order and SportsCenter led with a World Series tease and then got to it on story six. A Mike Ditka lookalike contest gets more press than Yankees/Phillies.

Could it be that we’re all asleep at the end of playoff games, that the series isn’t good theatre, or that we’re punch drunk from the coverage that, let’s face it, is nothing more than a four hour promo for Fox programming? To that end, Bud Selig has done some good things among many awful things during his tenure that drives the casual fan away. The most egregious is still scheduling. Games are on too late, too late in the year, and most importantly, too late in the NFL season. I’ll give him credit for limited interleague play, and the wildcard as well. At first, I thought playoff rounds were like breasts; one’s not enough and three’s too many, but I’ve come around on the playoff system. Just give off days for travel only, give the wild card winner only one home game in the LDS, and give home field to the team with the best record in the World Series, period! Bud’s been claiming that the home city has to be determined months in advance, yet every other pro sport does it right, except for baseball. Why?

Our game is under siege folks, and I don’t see it getting better anytime soon. For the record, when a half inning ends I go immediately, to HBO (I have 12 of them me thinks) and watch three minutes of Charlie Wilson’s War, or Naked Gun, or any movie I’ve seen and like, and use the picture in picture feature so I know precisely when to return to the game. I refuse to watch a single commercial. During the 2001 World Series, Fox hit me so hard with promos for their then new show “24”, that I vowed to never watch it and I never will. I don’t care how many Emmys it wins.

Well enough ranting. I’m a living breathing conflict of interest. Here are this week’s picks. I stand at 16-4-1 despite what the Matts think. I love The Texans (-3.5) at THE BILLS, THE LIONS (-3.5) hosting The Rams in a game that shouldn’t even be played, and The Jaguars (+3) at THE TITANS in a Vince Young turnover fest.

Until next week,

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