Monday, October 16, 2006

Steve Lyons Scapegoated: Announcer May Be A Lunkhead, But Is Fox Any Better For Pandering to Show How Enlightened It Is?

No Offense, Jose Mota
Steve Lyons shouldn't have been fired by Fox Sports for making comments offensive to Latinos on Friday night's ALCS broadcast. He should've been dumped long ago for being uninteresting, stating the obvious and not providing viewers much of a clue that he once made his living playing baseball.
Richard Sandomir in The New York Times summed up what led to Lyons's ouster:

Lou Piniella, a guest analyst working with Lyons and Thom Brennaman, noted that the Oakland Athletics could not expect shortstop Marco Scutaro to continue to produce runs as he did when he drove in six during the division series against Minnesota.
Piniella said that expecting similar production would be “like finding a wallet on a Friday night and looking for one on Sunday and Monday, too.” Four minutes later, they had moved to different subjects and Piniella said something in Spanish. “The bilingual Lou Piniella,” Brennaman said.
Lyons said: “Lou’s habla-ing some EspaƱol there, and I’m still looking for my wallet. I don’t understand him, and I don’t want to sit close to him now.” The three laughed and continued calling the game.

Dumb, yes. A firing offense? Debatable. Then again, Fox had already suspended Lyons once before for a lame-brained crack at Shawn Green, a Jewish player, for not practicing on Yom Kippur. Apparently at Fox, it's two strikes, yer out.
Lyons was replaced for what turned out to be the final game of the series on Saturday by Los Angeles (I first typed California, then Anaheim)Angels analyst Jose Mota, who does the color on the team's Spanish-language broadcsts, but also does some Fox gigs.
No knock on Mota, who knows his stuff and seamlessly blended into the booth with Brennaman and Piniella. Still, you have to wonder if Lyons had trash-talked another ethnic whether Mota would have been there.
Fox gave itself cover by quickly importing a seasoned and informed voice, but the ethnic link to Mota and the lunkhead Lyons' remarks were a little too obvious. Fox could find a better way to say it's sorry than by pandering.

Lyons could have company on the unemployment line. Lamar Thomas, the analyst on Comcast's airing of that Miami-F.I.U. free-for-all where 31 players were suspended for fighting, may be guilty of providing a little too much color to the broadcast.

To wit, this missive, which is among those being aired out of rebroadcasts of the game:

''Now, that's what I'm talking about. You come into our house, you should get your behind kicked. You don't come into the OB playing that stuff. You're across the ocean over there. You're across the city. You can't come over to our place talking noise like that. You'll get your butt beat. I was about to go down the elevator to get in that thing.''

So far, he's being promised with "disciplinary action." Stay tuned to see if Thomas is allowed to coming down with a bad case of brain freeze and do his best contrite routine before he's shown the door.

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