Much has been made of the declining TV ratings across all sports.


It’s all going on at the same time. Sports went on hiatus like a sitcom with low ratings. For most of the spring and half the summer, sports disappeared. Then they all piled up: baseball, basketball, hockey, auto racing, golf, soccer, tennis, not to mention the indescribable drama of cornhole, poker and other fillers of programming too numerous to mention.

There are simply not enough viewers to go around. The pie is the same size, at best. The pieces have been reduced to slivers. They’re like samples at Sam’s Club.

At least there’s something. Sometimes the announcers are 500 miles away. Crowd noise is piped in.

To borrow an old commercial slogan, is it live or is it Memorex?

Many strange measures were implemented in order to maintain elibility for TV rights fees. Criticize if you must. At least they’re playing. Canada wouldn’t let the Blue Jays play in Toronto. All of pro basketball went to Disney World. Clemson played The Citadel but not South Carolina. The winners of the past two World Series didn’t qualify for the playoffs, but almost every other team did.

My favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, was bad enough already, but playing fully half their games against the Rays, Jays and Yankees didn’t help.

My favorite college, the one I went to, dropped baseball and shut down all sports for the fall. My second favorite college didn’t play, either. Now I just want to see a good game, which means I know all about Clemson in the first quarter.

As a kid, my nephew used to say, “Ain’t no such.”

That’s what I thought, too, until 2020 came along.

With all the outbreaks, quarantines and make-up dates, healthy teams are making up their schedules as they go along. Coaches work the phones like telemarketers.

“Hey, what you doing?”

“I’m thinking about cleaning the gutters. You?”

“You want to get up a game?”

“Yeah. We could do that.”

The world still has the crack of the bat but not the roar of the crowd.