Category Archives: Television

Say no to network “news”

Tonight, I realized just how much I dislike network news.

After eating with my parents, my father turned on the NBC Nightly News. The first thing they showed were students from the high school in Florida where 17 people were killed by a gunamn last week, as well as students from other high schools across the state, marching to the state capitol in Tallahassee, demanding the state legislature adopt gun control laws.

Throughout the piece, Savannh Guthrie, who was substituting as anchor for Lester Holt, was fawning all over the student protestors, implying that they were 100 percent right to demand gun control, and that those who were opposed to stricter gun control laws were dead wrong and supported mass murder.

Are you kidding me?

What ever happened to watching the news and making up our own minds? Savannah and her colleagues think the general public is too stupid to make up their own minds, and that you must believe their position, or else you are an uninformed idiot.

I only had to watch five minutes to realize just how much I cannot stand it. It was five mintues more than I should have watched, and I will do all I can to never, ever watch NBC, CBS or ABC news as long as I live.

I never watched NBC when I lived in Louisiana, nor did I watch it until my parents moved to Kansas 11 years ago. I was never a Tom Brokaw or Brian Williams fan, and I cannot stand Lester Holt, either. And don’t get me started about Savannah Guthrie. She is a confirmed marriage destroyer.

That’s one reason I don’t like eating with my parents on weekenights. I do not want to watch that crap.

I am so angry right now. Really angry. I’m trying my best not to let out a spew of nasty words. It’s not the way to do it. Also, I promised not to do so for Lent, and hopefully carry it over after that.

It was the first time I watched any sort of network newscast since the shooting. I am determined to make it my last, period.

I’m not going to take a side. I don’t want to. There are too many people I see out there taking sides, and I don’t think anything is achieved by spouting back and forth. One person in particular won’t shut up about it on social media. I won’t name this person, but I know who this person is.

For those of you who are watching the network news at 5:30 Central every weeknight, stop. Find something better to watch. Your brain will thank you.

Another reason not to watch NBC, especially right now: THE OLYMPICS.

I don’t watch the Olympics. I haven’t in 30 years, and I admit, I wasted too much time watching them when I was much younger. Then again, I did not know any better. I am sick of my mother talking about it.

Maybe there’s a good reason I’ve been watching Last Chance U, Bunk’d and Jessie over and over when I’m at home or in a hotel room, even though I’ve seen every episode multiple times. And I still have my complete series DVD sets of Monk, The OC and One Tree Hill, plus I can watch all 18 1/2 seasons of Law & Order: SVU on Hulu.

Thank God for streaming and DVDs. Or else I might have gone off the deep end.

Oh well something to talk about with Crista tomorrow. I hope for her sake her daughter hasn’t seen any of this ugliness. It’s not appropriate for children.

Happy birthday Caitlyn! I love you! 


Throwback Thursday: Scooba

In my post (late) last night, I mentioned watching Last Chance U, the Netflix series about the football team at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba.

The town is on Mississippi’s eastern border. Kemper County, where Scooba is located, has a little under 10,000 residents, and more than 60 percent are African-American. There are only two incorporated villages in Kemper County: Scooba and De Kalb, the county seat.

Kemper County was the birthplace and childhood home of John Stennis, a legendary politician who represented Mississippi in the United States Senate for 42 years (1947-1988). NASA’s test facility not too far from Bay St. Louis on the Gulf Coast is named in Stennis’ honor. My seventh grade science class at Arabi Park Middle ventured there in February 1989.

Scooba is only 40 miles east of the site of one of America’s darkest days of hatred.

Philadelphia, the seat of Neshoba County, was where civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner were arrested the afternoon on June 21, 1964 on trumped-up charges of speeding and disturbing the peace. After five hours in the county jail, the three young men were released and began to driving down Mississippi Highway 19 to Meridian.

Sadly, while Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner were in jail, a dastardly plot was hatched by Neshoba County Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price and numerous members of the Ku Klux Klan. The plan was to follow the civil rights workers down Highway 19 and eventually stop them, then murder them and bury them in an earthen dam.

Eventually Price and his minions, led by trigger man Alton Wayne Roberts, carried out the executions. It wasn’t until August that the bodies of the three murdered men were found.

Price and Roberts were convicted of violating the civil rights of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner by an all-white Mississippi jury in October 1967. Unfortunately, nobody was prosecuted by the state or the feds for murder.

Scooba (permanent population 700, give or take; many more people are there during the school year) is one of the many places I ventured during my 14 months as the publicity person for Delgado Community College’s athletic teams.

Delgado is the largest community college in Louisiana, a state which has a woefully low number of two-year colleges, but an oversaturation of four-year colleges. For instance, there are so many four-year colleges within 100 miles of downtown New Orleans that I’m not going to sit here right now and try to figure it out. If it were only LSU, Tulane and the University of New Orleans, it would be plenty. But add in Nicholls (Thibodaux), Southeastern Louisiana (Hammond), Southern (Baton Rouge), plus numerous other smaller colleges, and it gets to be too much.

I think there are too many four-year schools in Kansas, but Kansas Wesleyan, Bethany, Bethel and the others in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference are private. SOuthern, Nicholls, Southeastern and UNO are all funded by the the state of Louisiana, as are several others. LSU complains about not getting enough funding, but if Louisiana had the guts to close some of the smaller universities or convert them to community colleges, it might help the flagship.

Delgado has only three athletic teams: men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball. The baseball program has been one of the best junior college programs in the United States since its founding in the mid-1970s under the leadership of Joe Scheuermann, who has been the Dolphins’ coach since 1991, and his father, Louis (Rags), who began the team in 1973 after Loyola University, another private four-year school located literally next door to Tulane, dropped its athletic program. Loyola restarted its program in 1989-90, but it was at a much lower level.

With an utter lack of two-year colleges in Louisiana–the only others with athletic teams are Bossier Parish near Shreveport, LSU-Eunice north and west of Lafayyette, and Baton Rouge Community College–Delgado must go into other states to find games.

Fortunately for the Dolphins, Mississippi has numerous two-year colleges, so they don’t have to travel long distances.

Delgado traditionally plays three Mississippi JUCOs every year: Gulf Coast, about 40 miles north of Gulfport; Pearl River, about halfway between New Orleans and Hattiesburg on Interstate 59; and Meridian, which does not play football nor does it compete in the same conference with the other Mississippi JUCOs due to its strong baseball team, one which has sent hundreds of players to Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss.

Scheuermann will rotate the other Mississippi JUCOs onto his schedule, and in my second baseball season there, one of those was East Mississippi.

The team had to stay in Meridian, 40 miles south of Scooba. Fortunately, US Highway 45 is four-laned throughout most of the state, and it provided easy access from Meridian. The original schedule was to play a single game on a Friday night and a single game the next afternoon.

I drove separately from the team. I like my freedom. I rented an SUV at the Baton Rouge airport and drove straight to Meridian. I didn’t rent from New Orleans because it is much easier to do so in Baton Rouge, where I parked my car, walked from the garage to the rental counter, then out to the rental car on the ground level of the garage. In New Orleans, you have to take a shuttle from the terminal to the rental car area, which is at the far western edge of the airport property. Pain in the butt.

It’s an easy drive from Baton :Rouge to Meridian: US 61 to Natchez, US 84 to Interstate 55 at Brookhaven, I-55 to I-20 at Jackson, then to Meridian. All four-lane highway. Much easier than driving from Russell to Norton (sorry, Peggy), especially if deer are congregating on the side of US 283.

The team drove north on US 45 to Scooba and arrived just before 4:30, with first pitch scheduled for 6:00. However, there were fierce thunderstorms gathering in east central Mississippi, and the coaches agreed to postpone the Friday night game and play two seven-inning games the next day. There was no option to play Sunday, since Delgado was going to be traveling to Wesson to play at Copiah-Lincoln Community College Sunday.

With thunderstorms on the horizon, I figured I’d better haul butt back to Meridian. I was doing much faster than the 65 MPH speed limit (I estimate a couple of times I was close to 90) as I tried to beat the thunderstorm back to Meridian.

While I was driving like a bat out of hell, I was also on my phone, talking to Jimmy Ott to discuss the LSU-Arkansas baseball series that weekend on his radio show. I don’t recommend that.

It absolutely poured once we got back to Meridian. But I was safe.

The next day, I drove from Meridian to Philadelphia on Highway 19. Made me think long and hard about just how backwards and cruel Mississippi was until the 1970s. There is a large Indian casino near Philadelphia, and the city has certainly modernized greatly since 1964, but it will always carry the shame of what happened to Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner that Father’s Day.

I remember getting ridiculously sunburned in Scooba. I had to sit outside because there was no press box, and silly me exposed my nearly bald head to the sun on a cloudless day.

Less than two months after my trip to Scooba and side excursion to Philadelphia, Edgar Ray “Preacher” Kilian, one of the members of the lynch mob that killed Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner, was convicted of murder. Kilian was acquitted during the 1967 federal trial because some jurors stated they could not convict a preacher, even though Kilian’s claim to be a preacher was dubious at best.

Coincidentally, the same day of the evil act in Neshoba County, Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game for the Phillies against the Mets in Shea Stadium. The next year, when Sandy Koufax threw a perfecto vs. the Cubs in Los Angeles, New Orleans was battered by Hurricane Betsy at the same time. And Woodstock was being held at the same time Hurricane Camille lay waste to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The third season of Last Chance U came to Kansas. The 2017 Independence Community College football team was highlighted, and episodes should be available for streaming in the spring. If the Netflix producers thought driving from Scooba to Wesson was a grind, I hope they were ready for Independence to Garden City. Russell to Norton is tough enough, though I will never complain, because two of my favorite people on earth call Norton home.

I’ve got to get some sleep. I’m supposed to have my first session with Crista in almost a month tomorrow at 8. Supposed to. I’ll leave it at that.

More than 57 channels and nothing on

Confession: I cannot stand Bruce Springsteen. I cannot stand his far left-wing views. I’m not big fan of Trump, but Bruce’s hatred knows no bounds. I have ZERO Springsteen songs on my iPod, and I have played exactly ZERO Springsteen songs in my more than 10,000 plays of TouchTunes jukeboxes at Buffalo Wild Wings over the past four and a half years. Liz, Lisa, Tori and others at B-Dubs have never asked me to play Springsteen, and I’m not going to bring it up.

However, the title of this post is a take on a Springsteen song title because it’s appropriate here.

Weekday television in January is torture.

I cannot stand regular season college basketball. It’s mostly pointless. I want LSU to do well, of course, and I also follow Kentucky very closely. I love rubbing the SEC in the faces of the Kansas, K_State and Wichita State fatalists here.

I quit watching the NBA almost 30 years ago, and I will never start watching again. I follow the Milwaukee Bucks, but I do not watch games, period. The only reason I know how the Bucks are doing is because I get text alerts on their games.

The NHL isn’t on enough to watch, and besides, NBC only wants to show American teams. I really cannot stand many American teams, especially those in the south: Arizona, Carolina, Nashville, Florida, Tampa Bay and Dallas are all high on my shit list. The Stars are there mostly because of the way they fucked the fans in Minnesota by moving in 1993. The only other option is to buy the NHL’s streaming package, but that’s a little expensive. I’m not that invested in the game that I want to drop that kind of money. If the Quebec Nordiques ever return, that may change.

Thank God for streaming.

I have been known to binge watch a few shows on Hulu, Netflix and iTunes. Two of my guiltiest pleasures are a pair of Disney shows starring Peyton List, Jessie and Bunk’d. However, I’m more into stars other than List on those shows: Debby Ryan, the titular Jessie Prescott on Jessie; and Miranda May, who plays goofy farm girl Lou Hockhauser on Bunk’d.

I saw in the Jessie wikia where the character’s birthday was October 13, 1993. That happens to be the same day Tiffany Trump was born. It also was my 17th birthday.

I feel bad for Tiffany. Hopefully Debby is not cursed by this, even if it was just a character she played (FYI, Debby’s real life birthday is May 13, 1993).

Also, List co-starred in a TV movie, A Sister’s Nightmare, with Natasha Henstridge and Kelly Rutherford, in 2013. It’s worth checking out.

Tonight, I began to watch Last Chance U on Netflix. It chronicles the football program at East Mississippi Community College, where many players who could not make it a Division I university transfer to the school in tiny Scooba (think Russell if it had a JUCO) in hopes of getting back to the big time.

I should have been watching from the start, because my past took me to Scooba and many other points on the map in Mississippi.

I would go into it now, but it’s almost midnight. There’s only so many Jessie episodes I can watch in one day. Until then…

UCF update: an electronic billboard greeted motorists in Tuscaloosa today, begging national champion Alabama to schedule a home and home series against the Knights. If UCF is looking for sympathy for going 13-0 and not being selected for the CFP, this is not the way to go about it. ENOUGH ALREADY.

Could Daytona 500 be about something else? Maybe

About an hour after I wrote yesterday’s post, I realized a funny moment relating to the Daytona 500.

During a 2005 episode of Fox’s great animated series, King of the Hill, Joseph Gribble tells his best friend, Bobby Hill, about a program called “Daytona 500”. Joseph says he thinks it’s about a “chick pouring champagne on a dude”. Bobby then asks “500 what? 500 bachelors? 500 dwarves?”, then exclaims, “Oh God, I’m so excited!”.

Bobby and Joseph have to find out the password to Hank and Peggy’s parental controls, since they have locked the Fox network outside of the NFL season. Bobby correctly guesses “propane” and unlocks Fox. The boys avoid detection by Luanne, Peggy’s niece, and they settle in to watch “Daytona 500”.

The boys find out it’s “just a bunch of cars going around in circles”. They are keenly disappointed until there’s a crash. The boys love it.

It was pretty funny for the boys to think Daytona 500 was a broadcast from spring break in Daytona Beach. If Daytona 500 were about spring break, I would have even less reason to watch than I do the race.

The episode where Bobby and Joseph watch the Daytona 500 features one of the most hilarious moments in King of the Hill history.

During the episode, Hank is pouring fresh concrete in his driveway. Bill, Dale and Boomhauer beg to help, and Hank agrees. Hank rents a jackhammer to tear up the driveway, and lets each of his pals use it. Instead of using the tool for its intended purpose, the guys try to “ride” the vibrating jackhammer.

Boomhauer lasts nine seconds before he is thrown into a bush, a reference to the eight seconds a rodeo cowboy attempts to last on a bucking bronc. When Bill tries, he immediately gets hit in the groin.

King of the Hill was one of my favorite shows. Still is. Of Fox’s animated shows, King of the Hill is a clear #1, followed by American Dad (which is now on TBS), then Family Guy a distant third. I watched The Simpsons early in its run, but haven’t in 20 years. I don’t miss it one bit. I haven’t taken to Bob’s Burgers, and I didn’t watch Futurama when it was on Fox.

I’m about to leave. Caitlyn is playing with her Norton teammates at Beloit. It’s the postseason, win or go home. Hopefully the Bluejays won’t be going home.

Ending a long silence, take 32

I haven’t posted anything in too long. I had something terrible happen to me the afternoon of August 10, about five hours after I arrived at home following my latest trip to Kansas City. The drive from Kansas City to Russell was smooth, but after that, my life descended into deep hell.

I cried almost all throughout my session with Crista the next day. My eyes were red as, ironically, I stopped in at Dr. Jones’ office to pick up my contact lenses and get a pair of reading glasses, because I’ve been having trouble seeing small print up close. The reading glasses have helped, but I still made an appointment for this coming Thursday, the 25th, to check out my prescription.

I went off my sleep machine for a couple of nights. I was going to go off my meds, too, but Dr. Custer kicked my tail a bit when I saw her the day after my appointment with Crista. I agreed for her to go back on my meds and sleep machine.

Now I have a problem with the sleep machine. Not the machine itself, but the mask. There are way too many straps to keep up with. I am seriously considering a full face mask. The nasal mask is nice, but I might feel better with a different one. My health insurance will pay for it.

I had another session with Crista this past Wednesday. Told her I’m scared about what might be coming, but she also told me that I needed to see Catilyn play her first match on the 30th. Norton’s home playing Hill City and Ellis, which is good for me, since I will get to see someone else I don’t see enough, Linda Nighswonger, who coaches the Ringnecks. I also need to see Peggy, obviously.

Dawn Amos’ birthday was last Sunday. I feel bad I couldn’t go to Kansas City to see her. I promised Robb I would come back soon, hopefully next week. I can’t go Thursday due to my appointments, but Tuesday is a possibility. I won’t be able to on Tuesdays until late October if I want to see Caitlyn play.

Speaking of birthdays, a very important one is next Friday. I’ll explain in an upcoming post.

I’ve been watching The O.C. way too much. Today is a very good day to be watching, as the man who gave us Sandy Cohen, Peter Gallagher, turns 61. He looks fabulous. Hard to believe yesterday marked the 27th anniversary of the nationwide premiere of Sex. Lies and Videotape, which starred Gallagher, Andie MacDowell, Laura San Giacomo and James Spader. The movie was shot in Baton Rouge in late 1988, a year after another film, Everybody’s All-American, was filmed in Louisiana’s capital.

Today, Baton Rouge is a real-life horror movie. Most of the city and surrounding area is reeling from devastating floods which have left 13 dead and tens of thousands homeless. It will go down as one of the worst non-hurricane natural disasters in Louisiana’s history.

Livingston Parish, east of Baton Rouge along Interstate 12, was hit much worse than the big city. Denham Springs, the largest community in Livingston, was swamped. Schools in Denham Springs won’t open until at least late September, and Denham Springs High may be closed until mid-October. I once covered a basketball game there. The hometown Yellow Jackets bombed Baton Rouge Catholic 85-59, shooting 60 percent from the field.

Another place I’m familiar with which was badly flooded was St. Amant, a tight-knit community in southeastern Ascension Parish, about 40 minutes south of where I used to live in Baton Rouge. I saw an aerial photo of St. Amant High, and it was completely underwater. The Pit, the football stadium at St. Amant Primary, fared no better. I spent many a Friday night at The Pit, including one where O. Perry Walker of New Orleans gained 707 yards and LOST. Twenty-one penalties for 182 yards and a defense which gave up 51 points will do that.

I am sick and tired of the Olympics. SICK AND TIRED. Come Monday morning, the world will be a better place. No more Olympics until the 2018 Winter Games, and no more summer crap until 2020. And hopefully Ryan Lochte and his pals will never be heard from again.

Avoiding the heat

The heat is still as intense as it was earlier in the week on this Thursday afternoon. Thankfully, I’m inside my air conditioned basement, which is colder than the main floor of the residence at 1224 North Brooks.

I left for my appointment with Crista before 8. I rarely do that. Most of the time, I’m scrambling to make it there for 9. Today, though, I wanted to get my things at Walmart and get out before it got hotter. I did just that, getting in and out in less than 15 minutes.

I had some extra time after getting out of Wally World, so I opted to get back on I-70 and take the last Hays exit, which passes by the outer edge of the Fort Hays State University campus, notably Gross Memorial Coliseum. I had 20 minutes before I had to be at High Plains Mental Health for my appointment, and I really did not want to fight the red lights on Vine Street (US 183), the main north-south artery in Hays.

I almost paid the price. Literally.

As I passed 41st Street on the US 183 bypass, I saw a Kansas Highway Patrol car going north. He pulled up and then turned around. Now he was right behind me going south.

I was scared to death that once I crossed the overpass near the Bickle-Schmidt sports complex, he would pull me over and give me a tcket, either for following too closely–a yellow Mustang was in front of me–or for speeding. I dropped my speed to 55, the speed limit, after the patrol car turned around, but he may have caught me between 60 and 65 before that.

Fortunately, I was not the motorist the trooper was after. The yellow Mustang was pulled over after it turned left at the bottom of the overpass. I felt a bit tight in the chest right as I passed Gross Coliseum–home to the Class 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament–but once I got to the turn at Main Street, it was all better.

There really wasn’t much to report this week with Crista, since we met last week. However, the traffic incident provided some conversation, as did Hope Solo, LSU in the College World Series, and Brittany Davidson’s upcoming wedding reception. We’ll meet again on June 25.

Nothing on. What is on a Thursday afternoon in June? Watching the Shark Tank episodes I recorded last night, plus a TV movie starring one of my favorite actresses, Daphne Zuniga, who played JoBeth Reynolds on Melrose Place and Victoria Davis on One Tree Hill. Daphne was outstanding in the role on OTH, playing the perfect foil to Sophia Bush’s Brooke Davis.

Melrose Place, which debuted in July 1992 as a spinoff of Beverly Hills, 90210was one of those trashy shows you didn’t want to admit you watched, but couldn’t stay away from. Marcia Cross, who went on to great stardom as Bree van de Kamp on Desperate Housewives, played psycho killer doctor Kimberly Shaw, who appeared to be dead in a drunk driving accident, only to come back and terrorize everyone. Two other female stars went on to bigger and better things after Melrose: Courtney Thorne-Smith, who went from Allison Parker to a co-starring role alongside Jim Belushi on According to Jim; and Kristin Davis, who went from a manipulative woman who drove a wedge between Throne-Smith’s Allison and Andrew Shue’s Billy to Charlotte York, by far my favorite of the ladies of Sex and the City.

Speaking of Sex and the City, I watched the first episode of that show with my dad in a hotel in Cape Girardeau, Mo. We were returning from the 1998 College World Series and drove from Omaha to Cape Girardeau, where we stayed overnight before completing the return to Baton Rouge. I actually had the entire DVD collection of Sex and the City in Louisiana, but it was flooded by Katrina.  I saw the first Sex and the City movie in theaters and have the DVD, and I have the second on Blu-Ray, although I have never watched it. How strange is that?

Game 4 of the NBA Finals are tonight in Cleveland. Not sure how much I’ll watch, but there are only two Shark Tank episodes on CNBC tonight at 7 and 8. I have an appointment with Dr. Patriarca at High Plains tomorrow at 9, so it’s likely I’m going to bed early. And probably tomorrow night as well.

Oh what I wouldn’t give to be a kid again…

This cartoon cat was a big part of my childhood. I enjoyed watching the cartoon he appeared in. Can you name the cat and the cartoon he appeared in? 

Hold on here

So much for another late-night sojourn from Kansas City to Russell. Mother Nature has decreed I should stay until tomorrow morning through her epic lightning display, which was followed by another outpouring of the heavens.

Fortunately, I packed for such a potential, and I will be trekking two miles north on I-29 to the Holiday Inn Express. I had the points to stay for free, and I do not care for the Courtyard on the other side of I-29 on Tiffany Springs Parkway, given the lack of hot water for shaving and housekeepers who can’t understand a Do Not Disturb sign.

Besides, I’m getting to spend extra time with some of my favorite people on earth, especially Elizabeth Psenski, Brittany Davidson and Jaclyn Blankenship all of whom are working this Labor Day evening. I’m also bonding with young Raymie, one of the newer servers. She’s a cutie and is going to break a lot of hearts. But I’m an old man by comparison.

Louisville is beating Miami 24-13. Ugh. I have never liked Louisville, and I cannot stand Bobby Petrino, who has all the morals of Barabbas, the man who was freed by Pontius Pilate instead of Jesus Christ before the Sanhedrin. He used Louisville in an attempt to get jobs at Auburn and LSU, quit the Atlanta Falcons by attaching a form letter to the players’ lockers, then showed up 24 hours after a Monday Night Football game as Arkansas’ new coach, then blew the gig in Fayetteville not only by carrying on an affair with an engaged intern, but lying about it after the two were in a motorcycle accident.

Louisville has never been beyond shady ethics, so it didn’t surprise me one bit when they re-hired Petrino after Charlie Strong went to Texas. Then again, Strong may have a better moral compass, but Petrino runs circles around him as a football coach. I guarantee there’s no way Louisville loses to Central Florida last year with Petrino coaching.

I not only dislike Louisville and Petrino, I want Miami to win, because that is the alma mater of the sweetest and most talented sports broadcaster around, Jill Arrington of Fox Sports 1. Jill graduated from Miami in 1994 before going into broadcasting, where she was the sideline reporter for SEC football on CBS for five years in the early 2000s. She came back to TV this year on Fox Sports 1, and it is great to have her back. I also remember Jill doing a turn as a television news reporter on Monk in 2009.

I’m eventually going to leave Buffalo Wild Wings, but this time, I have an even shorter drive to the hotel than I had over the weekend from Briarcliff. And it’s easy out to M-152 to I-435. I figure I’ll leave between 9:30 and 10, visit with Jack, then turn around and go to Beloit.

Royal spotlight

The Royals are taking on the Indians in the final game of the weekend series at Kauffman Stadium. Cleveland won the first two games of the series, 6-1 Friday and 3-2 in 11 innings last night.

Why is this significant? It’s not because the Royals are playing the Indians, it’s WHEN the Royals are playing the Indians.

Sunday night.

For the first time that I can remember, the Kansas City Royals are featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, meaning people from San Diego to Bangor and Seattle to Key West can flip their televisions to ESPN and watch Major League Baseball live from the City of Fountains and its beautiful ballpark, which looks a heck of a lot different than the last time ESPN broadcast a Sunday night game from Kansas City.

The Sunday Night game invariably is skewed to feature the popular teams of Major League Baseball. The Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Cubs, Braves and Mets all make multiple appearances per season. In fact, if the Yankees and Red Sox play a weekend series, you can almost be certain the Sunday game will air on ESPN.

The Royals have been so bad for so long ESPN has had no compelling reason to put them in the Sunday night slot. Since ESPN began televising Major League Baseball in 1990, the Royals have had only FOUR winning seasons out of 24, and one of those was the strike-shortened year of 1994, when the final 47 games and the playoffs were wiped out. The four winning seasons matches the number of 100-loss seasons the Royals have suffered through in that period; those occurred within five years (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006).

Tonight, the Royals get to strut their stuff for the sporting public. And tonight is a good night to do it, since starting next week, most sports fans will tune to NBC for Sunday Night Football, and baseball will be on the back burner, except for St. Louis and a couple of other places.

The Royals lead 1-0 n the top of the third. They’d better get this game in, because there is a line of very heavy rain marching east. The leading edge is at Manhattan right now, meaning it should arrive in Kansas City between 9:30 and 10. Yikes.

Labor Day in front of the tube

The proliferation of football on television has made Labor Day weekend viewing very palatable.

This was not always the case.

On the Labor Day weekends when the NFL season opened, at least there were three games on Sunday, except if the Saints played at home, which limited New Orleans to two, since no game can go up head-to-head against the local team in that team’s market. Kansas City is under the same limitations when the Chiefs are at home.

However, if the NFL did not start its season until after Labor Day, it meant there was hardly anything on television worth a darn, and it was made worse by two things I had, or still have, no earthly interest in viewing.

One is the U.S. Open tennis tournament. CBS devoted nearly all of Saturday and Monday to coverage of the event through the 1980s and 1990s, and would have a full day on Sunday as well if there were no NFL games on Labor Day weekend. If there were NFL games that Sunday, CBS would televise all of them at noon Central and then switch to tennis at 3:30.

CBS now only televises the singles championship matches on the Saturday and Sunday after Labor Day, and that ends this year. Starting next year, the entire tournament will air on ESPN, meaning tennis’ four Grand Slam tournaments–Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open–will now air exclusively on the cable sports giant in the United States.

The other event which used to be a staple of Labor Day weekend was the Jerry Lewis telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I wholeheartedly support the efforts of Lews and the thousands of celebrities who appeared on the telethon through the decades, but i didn’t think it needed to be televised to the point where it would wipe out 24 hours of regularly scheduled programming.

At least New Orleans, the telethon aired on independent station WGNO through 1995, which meant no network programming was preempted. However, on January 1, 1996, WGNO became an ABC affiliate, and that meant a lot of soap opera fans were angry on Labor Day when All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital were knocked off the air. The telethon usually ran from 8;30 p.m. to 6 p.m., which meant it was off the air in time for Monday Night Football if there was a game that night at 8 p.m. Labor Day night.

The long telethon ran through 2010, the last year Jerry Lewis hosted it.  In 2011, with Lewis’ health failing, Nancy O’Dell assumed hosting duties, and the telethon was shortened considerably to six hours. In 2012, the telethon ended, and it became a two-hour telecast on Sunday night. With online donating, there’s no need for a telethon today.

With the NFL waiting to start its season, there are now college football games for five straight days, Thursday through Monday. Not always the best games, but it beats the alternatives.