If I were a rich man …
I don’t think I’d want to own a ball club. Writing fat checks to fellas who feel it beneath them to run to first or to catch with both hands — no matter how many easy outs they have dropped — and to sportsmen such as Draymond Green and Pacman Jones who would commit any incivility it takes to lose playoff games, doesn’t strike me as money well worn or well spent.
But if I did own a team, I know what I would want — insist upon — from my TV and radio announcers. I would demand what all the other team owners, for some senseless reason, disallow: unvarnished honesty.
There is no better public reflection on a team owner than treating his or her team’s fans, customers and even casual viewers and listeners with respect, especially those in the audience who would know they’re being treated as saps. And if I, the team owner, deserve a shot, fire away!
There is no downside to attaching your team to honest broadcasts. Who wouldn’t want to be known for providing candid TV and radio coverage? Heck, that one owner would stand out like the one light in the dark. How does such a smart approach escape the wisdom of fabulously wealthy team owners?
Since riches-inherited James Dolan first touched down in The Garden — 1995, the yearafter the Rangers won the Cup and the Knicks made the finals — MSG Network has been converted from a highly credible stop to an often-preposterous and frequently insulting propaganda mill.
Last week, on both MSG Network and MSG’s website, appeared “MSG Countdown,” this one providing a timeline of exciting, memorable — even if forgotten — successful achievements by Knicks in the 21st century.
Included are big scoring nights from Carmelo Anthony, the night the Knicks, still long-range-reliant, hit 20 3-point shots, and the time Kurt Thomas played with a broken foot.
However, the singularly most unexpected, extraordinarily exciting and successful 21st-century Knicks happenstance was omitted: Those three weeks when an undrafted scrub who was about to be cut, Jeremy Lin, took an injury- and star-depleted team and turned the Knicks and New York City and its environs into Holy Mackerel Land, those three weeks when “Linsanity” erupted with an all-in, run-and-pass offense that led to countless uncontested layups and an 8-15 team winning seven straight and eight-of-nine — including wins against the far more talented Lakers, Jazz and Mavericks.
From Feb. 4 through Feb. 29 (2012 was a leap year), New York City went Linsane. And while it’s impossible to forget what by far was the most exciting, successful thing about this century’s Knicks, it didn’t make MSG Network’s cut.
The night when Tim Hardaway scored 29? That was deemed a keeper. Lin’s 38 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals against the Lakers? Nope, not included. And that’s sad, sick and insulting.
It was no coincidence that the Linsanity outbreak was due to Anthony’s absence. The Dolan Knicks had thrown in with Anthony’s style — give him the money, then the ball, let him shoot, everyone else just loiter off to the sides — which was antithetical to what Lin’s style brought for three fantastic weeks.
So not only did Lin and five-man-go basketball have to go, Dolan’s MSG Network has made him disappear in the hope that we’ll forget and continue to regard Anthony as savior-in-still-waiting.
Surely, such blatant, dishonestly twisted revisionist history carries the mark of Dolan, or at least of MSG Network employees avoiding the risk of his wrath. Jeremy Lin? Linsanity? It never happened. Got that, stupid? Never.