Alex Rodriguez comparing himself to Hank Aaron stinks of ESPN hypocrisy

I wasn’t born skeptical. It’s both an acquired and required taste. I’m even suspicious of the word. Why with a k and not a c?

But when you spend 25 minutes on hold as a recorded voice repeats, “Your call is important to us,” you develop doubts.

Same thing every year, when WNBC’s “Storm Team 4” would have us panic when a little snow might fall in January, of all months.

Transparent cons were even committed in the name of ostensible public grief. This week and last in the name and game of Henry Aaron, who died last Friday.

On ESPN Radio-NY, Michael Kay hosted ESPN colleague Alex Rodriguez, who spoke of how much he had in common with Aaron — including achievements, desire and skills.

Not that Kay was going to say it or even suggest it, but they had nothing in common, nothing within.

Aaron played the game cleanly and with dignity. He earned historic respect. Rodriguez twice left The Game and his legacy in historic disrepute. He was a drug cheat and liar, though both ESPN and Fox tirelessly labor to promote the notion that all baseball fans love him.

But ESPN will not pass on any opportunity to cross-promote, to sell the network under any circumstances and for any reason, thus the Kay-Rodriguez session to discuss Aaron became only what it could become: an insult.

And Kay’s show continues to serve as an ESPN fashion show, or was it a mere coincidence that recent guests have included ESPNers Keyshawn Johnson, Dan Orlovsky, Tim Legler and Steve Young.

You’ll remember this time last year, when Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed, ESPN exploited that tragedy to give itself credit for breaking the story, only to add, later on in the story, that another network first had the story.

In Atlanta, at a memorial service, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred eulogized Aaron with, “It was a pleasure to know a man of such humility.”

Humility? Manfred has been the leading the charge to try to popularize baseball among kids by selling bat-flipping, home plate-posing and all forms of excessive in-game rank immodesty. Team? What team? It’s all about you, kid!

Aaron’s death inspired dozens of essays, columns and research pieces tracking the journeys of baseball’s racial pioneers — Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, Aaron. Almost all included the pain and suffering they felt from being called the N-word, the worst of slurs, as they played. And surely MLB is both aware and saddened by that.

Or might that also be a con?

Not once did I hear or read the indisputable truth: Despite the hard-won regard for these black players, those who rap the N-word in public have been invited, as special quests, to appear and/or perform at special events conducted by MLB, the NBA, NHL and NFL, including All-Star games and Super Bowls — often while grabbing their crotches.

Sunday the Buffalo Bills, as is their new habit, chose to remain in their locker room as the national anthem was heard. Unless there were threats to conform to this mob mentality, we’d have to assume that all 50-plus players plus staff unilaterally determined that they would turn their backs on our anthem and flag. Is this a football team or a radical political party in lockstep?

During the game, racial equality messages could be seen on the field and attached to the back of players’ helmets.

Yet the game ended as do so many — with a fight, a near brawl — and four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, thus all those “Respect” and “Unity” messages meant for us to read and consider again proved hollow, a con.

And then it was off to “social” media to curse out the other guys and throw down next-time challenges.

“Hey, Henry Aaron just died! Quick. Find Alex Rodriguez and plug him in to Michael Kay’s New York show so Kay can kiss A-Rod’s fanny while Rodriguez pretends he and Aaron were kindred souls joined at their shared goodness. No one will notice that it’s all another ESPN sell, another con.”

Media companies become experts at touting ‘experts’

As if WFAN isn’t already up to its gizzard in sucker-centric sports gambling, Entercom, its parent company — not that anyone would want parents like these — has invested in even more sports gambling enterprises and coast-to-coast gambling programming.

The press release is laughable as it references its gambling staff as “our deep collection of expert talent.” But there isn’t a regularly successful tout in the country, and if there were, he or she wouldn’t be telling you or Entercom.

The notion that the 3-point shot juices excitement is never true beyond sometimes.

Sunday, the Celtics beat the Cavaliers, 141-103, scoring a ton while taking just 28 3-pointers, below the NBA’s per team average of 35 — 20 years ago the average was 14.7. The next day the Nets beat the Heat, 98-85, the Heat scoring bupkis, hitting 11 of its 43 3-point attempts, more than half its 84 total field-goal tries.

Meantime, if Adam Silver feels that the Jazz’s 108-94 win over the Knicks on Tuesday was a basketball game, Roger Goodell has some PSLs he wants to discuss with him. The Jazz attempted 92 field goals, more than half, 48, were 3-point shots, finishing 15-for-48. If that’s basketball, we’ll quote the immigrant movie producer Adolph Zukor, who said, “Include me out.”

Pregame wins vs. shootout

Fixing what ain’t broken, continued: Last Friday, the Rangers-Penguins game was about to enter a shootout — they don’t last long, 10 minutes tops.

At that point, however, came Sam Rosen’s bizarre announcement that the rest of the game was now switching to MSG+ to accommodate the Knicks pregame show.

The start of that Knicks game was more than a half-hour away.

Tony Romo
Getty Images

Reader Mike Kiely: “CBS pays Tony Romo $17 million a year to come up with ‘arm talent’?”

Hey, Fox pays Colin Cowherd $6 million per to consistently revise past statements and predictions to appear insightful when the truth is anything but. Then there are senseless sentiments like last week, when he seriously suggested the NFL delay the Chiefs-Bills conference championship until Patrick Mahomes was fit.

By the way, was it just me or was the NFL’s safety-first, no-exceptions concussion protocol never an issue in Mahomes’ case, but a matter of who, what, where, when and TV ratings, as per Roger Goodell’s office?

I still can’t decide what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m leaning toward the expendable — a backup MLB infielder or maybe a bought-out SEC football coach.

Last season in 211 at-bats, A’s infielder Marcus Semien batted .223. This week he signed a one-year, $18 million deal to play for Toronto.

New York Post

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