The WNBA takes full advantage of a TV time slot.
by Clay Kallam
What we’d really like the announcers to say in Tuesday’s WNBA Game of the Weak:
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and thanks for giving up on the that lame exhibition, MLB’s All-Star Game, to watch two of the most dismal teams ever to play in the WNBA.
“Yes, tonight we have Tulsa, winners of three out of 17 games and run by the clueless Nolan Richardson, against the what-me-worry Los Angeles Sparks, a collection of veterans who lost their way when Candace Parker got hurt. (Of course, they weren’t that good before her shoulder went out, but we’re searching for anything positive tonight, let me tell you.)
“So your first question has to be ‘Why this game?’ Why not two teams that don’t need a nine-game winning streak to get to .500?’ I’ll let my color analyst, Carolyn Lobo, answer that for you.”
“Thanks, Greg. Well, TV schedules are made long in advance, and anytime we can show Candace Parker, we’re all for it. She’s a great player, she’s not a lesbian and she’s really pretty.
“As for Tulsa, well, we sort of hoped Cheryl Ford would be healthy so we could roll tape of Karl Malone (her father, you remember, Greg?) or maybe talk about Katie Smith or Deanna Nolan. Unfortunately, none of them wanted anything to do with Tulsa, and Richardson then dumped Plenette Pierson for a tube of Tiger Balm, and so we can’t even show the ‘fight’ between her and CP3.
‘Of course, there’s always the Marion Jones story, but it’s getting harder and harder to sell that one. Still, we figure we can get at least 10 shots of her sitting on the bench watching younger, more skilled players try to win their first game since, oh, I don’t know, May.
“What? Oh, the producer says the Shock beat Minnesota 92-79 on June 4. And they only lost to Atlanta by six on June 23.
“They do have an excuse, though – they’re just not very good. Since the best Shock players didn’t come to Tulsa, and Richardson traded the rest, this is like watching an expansion team. Back to you, Greg, to explain the Sparks.”
“Ummm … well played, Carolyn. Lisa Leslie retired, Candace Parker’s hurt, and well, the two other Olympians on the roster are getting older. Will that do?
“I guess not, as one would think the combination of Tina Thompson and DeLisha Milton-Jones would be worth more than four wins in 17 tries. A lot of people blame Jen Gillom, who spent last winter coaching Xavier Prep in Phoenix, and a lot of other people blame Penny Toler, the general manager who assembled the group that Gillom can’t seem to motivate.
“Then again, conspiracy theorists believe that the Sparks are tanking, just as they did in 2008, when they lost on the last day of the season to tie Minnesota for the worst record. They then won a perfectly fair and square lottery and landed Candace Parker.
“So if L.A. finishes last again, the Sparks would be in the hunt for Maya Moore, the prize of the 2011 Draft who’s a UConn winning streak better than anyone else available. The only problem is that New York will also probably be in the lottery, meaning the league offices will have a tough time deciding which major media market gets Maya Moore – I mean, the Sparks will only have a one-in-four chance.”
“So we’re going to get a good one tonight, right, Greg? Someone does have to win, don’t they? We can’t just play indefinitely, can we?”
“No, ESPN’s got re-runs of the 2001 poker championships, and with this primo match-up, watching old fat guys turn over cards is going to kick the WNBA’s tail in the ratings’ game.”
“Look, Carolyn – there’s Candace Parker with her baby. See, we’ve got plenty of married players in the league.”
“And there’s Marion Jones. What a great story. Let’s watch her warm up for a while.”
“Well, those are the highlights. I guess we’ll have to show the game after this commercial break.”