Craig Carton offers truth that doesn’t fit WFAN’s gambling narrative
Legend has it that upon the surrender of the British at Yorktown in 1781, Lt. Gen. Cornwallis had his fife and drum corps salute the Americans with a 1640’s English song, “The World Turned Upside Down.”
If buttercups buzz’d after the bee,
If boats were on land, churches on sea,
If ponies rode men and if grass ate the cows,
And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse,
If the mamas sold their babies
To the gypsies for half a crown;
If summer were spring and the other way round,
Then all the world would be upside down.
Monday afternoon on WFAN, a week after the Craig Carton-Evan Roberts union had been inaugurated, the discussion, perhaps inevitably, turned to gambling. And a good, apparently honest conversation ensued about a world suddenly turned upside down.
Carton correctly reasoned that there is no famous successful tout because there has never been one and never will be. Their picks would move betting lines; that doesn’t happen. Those who advertise differently are, simply put, boiler room confidence men, thieves out to procure the credit card numbers of the gullible or desperate.
Roberts, slightly reluctantly, nevertheless agreed: Gambling operations, even legal, are not out to make money for anyone other than themselves.
We were therefore left to glean that the “make it rain” and “get-rich-quick” commercial promises, mostly aimed at young adults, target the vulnerable.
Carton, for his post-prison part and millions owed in fraud restitution, has chosen to socially distance from all the station’s gambling come-ons.
So we’re left with this: Why has WFAN — among dozens of sports, media and government entities — chosen to so heavily partner with drum-bangers who will leave many more listeners poor than rich? Or are such questions — the choice of money over morality and nonsense over common sense — so Pollyannaish that only an old fuddy-duddy would ask them?
And though Carton and, to a lesser degree, Roberts spoke of gambling in terms of extreme caution bordering on poison, WFAN’s parent company, Entercom, had just purchased a gambling data service for $32 million after entering a six-year deal with FanDuel.
This week a gambling newsletter carried the headline, “No Fans, But Gambling On Golf About To Become The Next Big Thing.” The report included, “Golf superstar Bryson DeChambeau has signed a promotional deal with DraftKings” — as if he doesn’t invite enough suspicion.
Sunday, Browns running back Nick Chubb, en route to a touchdown, wisely ran out of bounds to ensure that the Texans would not get the ball back. The Browns, four-point favorites, won by three, inspiring many who bet Cleveland to holler — with the NFL’s encouragement — “Fix!”
CBS’s website last Saturday included this shamelessly pathetic double come-on: “The best football bets to make while watching the Masters [on CBS].” Strike up the band, Gen. Cornwallis!
Back to WFAN’s Roberts, who puts his name, fame, voice, reputation and touts to pots-of-gold-promising FanDuel ads — “promo code: Evan.” Will he continue to play both sides, even if he knows one side entails holding his nose? I suspect he’ll do what management tells him.
In the meantime, as long as WFAN is going to be saturated in gambling ads in order to accrue gambling revenues — as long as it’s “the house” — why not hire a house man to read the gambling ads and allow its hosts their dignity and credibility?
Anyway, Carton was back in cheap radio character Thursday, back to his reliance on vulgar crotch talk as per the tacit terms of his agreement. It was a lock.
Moss delivers predictable venom on ESPN
Randy Moss acted like a desensitized juvenile bashing a high school QB during ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” pregame show? Yes, but don’t blame Moss, blame ESPN for allowing him a seat at the table.
Moss arrived as another creep-with-portfolio, an ESPN specialty. And ESPN recruited him from Fox!
An enormously talented 6-foot-4 wide receiver, Moss was headed for Notre Dame until he was arrested for battery. He diverted to Florida State, then was given the boot after violating his probation. He ultimately landed and starred at Marshall, a school that in 1970 lost its football team in a plane crash. Of that tragedy, Moss said it meant nothing to him: “It really wasn’t nothing big.”
His NFL career reflected a player whose misconduct, on and off the field — another arrest and selfish behavior — became so impossible to suffer he changed teams seven times.
Of course, what once would have disqualified a player from a TV gig, now creates demand. Thus his ridicule of a kid on ESPN on Monday should have come as no surprise.
There’s even network precedent. ESPN several times showed a 12-year-old Little League pitcher, knocked out of a game early, sobbing in the corner of his dugout. And for those who missed it, ESPN showed it again that night on “SportsCenter.”
Televised golf increasingly appears as a con.
CBS was eager Sunday to show how only Tiger Woods, among last year’s Masters leaders, avoided the pond on No. 12. See those other guys? Wet. Tiger’s too good for that! See? (That must’ve been why he was the runaway leader Sunday, among those 10 back!)
But soon, Woods made a 10 on 12, three balls — a sleeve — in the water, though this, suspiciously, was one of the rare times TV did not show every shot taken by Woods. Hmmm.
Reader JT Merwin recalls the 7 that Jordan Spieth made at No. 12 in 2016. “CBS had no trouble humiliating him with replay after replay.”
Surprise! No stats until you play
Saturday, early in the first quarter of Cal’s first game (due to COVID-19), Fox’s Brady Quinn said Cal cornerback Camryn Bynum had just made “his first interception of the season!”
Stay off Twitter! ESPN’s Linda Cohn tweeted Saturday that the Steelers should trade backup QB Mason Rudolph to Miami for Ryan Fitzpatrick to back up Ben Roethlisberger. Saturday was Nov. 15. The NFL trade deadline was Nov. 3.
The Giants had a TD called back Sunday after OT Andrew Thomas was called for holding. Fox analyst Chris Spielman explained that Thomas’s infraction allowed QB Daniel Jones to run left then score from the 14. No matter, play-by-player Kevin Kugler, in TV’s usual simplistic application, said the hold cost the Giants a TD — when it appeared to have caused it.
Geez, players are bolting the NBA’s Rockets, owned by a Donald Trump supporter, as if they’re political refugees.
After returning from his first PED bust, baseball-indifferent Robinson Cano was issued a smiley-face free pass by media, especially SNY, selling Cano as a valued mentor to young players. That wishful baloney persisted until this week, when he was busted again, for the “performance enhancing drug” known as jogztafurst.
Don’t want to suggest that this will be a bad mix, but several Nets are already unhappy with their minutes.
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