Tennis coverage, football’s musical chairs and a baseball hall of shame?

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ESPN has been in business since September 7, 1979, almost 40 years, but its tennis production is still amateur time. Since it took over, it has never figured out that the crowd noise is background to its commentators. Apparently they haven’t been able to find any sound engineers who know how to modulate the crowd noise. The result is that John McEnroe’s expert commentary is more often than not inaudible. Obviously the suits at ESPN either don’t ever watch its tennis coverage or just don’t care. Whatever the reason, I plead for whoever runs tennis to take the tennis coverage away from ESPN and find someone who knows what they are doing. The best coverage tennis ever got was from the USA Network. It was a dark day for tennis fans when they lost the contract to the clowns at ESPN, whose ratings continue to descend drastically.

It’s not just old soldiers who never die: Football coaches might get fired, but they continue to find life after such seeming death. Joe Philbin, who failed as Miami’s head coach from 2012-2015 (never a winning year), returned to his old job with the Green Bay Packers as offensive coordinator, a job he held from 2007-2011. Mike Pettine, who failed as coach of the Cleveland Browns (7-9 in 2013; 3-13 in 2014) was also hired by the Packers as defensive coordinator. Todd Haley, who had a touchy relationship with his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger during his six years with the Steelers, and was fired by the Steelers after his horrible 4th quarter call of a 17-yard pass attempt when the Steelers had a 4th and 1 on Jacksonville’s 39- yard line with the playoff game in the balance, was hired by the Cleveland Browns. Why Cleveland would think this failed coach could help them rebound from a 0-16 season is anybody’s guess but maybe it explains why they were 0-16.

Steroid creeps: Baseball has admitted a few more people to its Hall of Fame. Fortunately, none of those who flagrantly used steroids have been admitted (as far as we know, anyway), but it’s reported that people like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemons are gaining favor. This is mainly because the age of the writers who vote is getting lower. That means that the opinions those of us who remember when baseball was the shining game on the hill with records that were meaningful are getting less and less representation.

When I was growing up, records like 60 home runs in one season (of 154 games) were sacrosanct. PR people prayed for the appearance of the man who would hit that 61st home run because they thought that feat would be worth millions.

Then came steroids and creeps like Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. The excuse for voting for Bonds is that even without steroids he would be HOF material. That’s like excusing Willie Sutton by saying that even if he hadn’t robbed banks he would have been a success in business. The facts are that Sutton robbed banks and Bonds and Rodriguez and mediocrities like Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire used steroids.

While McGuire and Sosa hit 50 home runs in a season four times each, it has only happened four times since steroid use stopped 10 years ago (versus 24 times during 1990-2007). Sutton belonged in jail and Bonds and the rest of his miscreant buddies who used steroids belong on the outside of the HOF looking in. They ruined the purity of baseball’s records and it will never be the same again.

I maintain my position that the records set during the steroid era should be expunged from the books.

Finally, it’s absurd that membership in the HOF is determined by sportswriters. I suggest that membership in the HOF should be determined by the members themselves. Who better to judge the quality of baseball players than baseball players?

Tony Medley is the author of three books including “UCLA Basketball: The Real Story,” the first book written on UCLA basketball. Visit


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