Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How To Improve Racing's TV Coverage

As Deadspin's Media Approval Ratings are showing, to be a successful and well-regarded media personality, you should exhibit at least one of three qualities:

1. Be good at what you do. There's no substitute for extreme competency, especially when you're personable in the process. Examples: Ernie Johnson, Mike Breen, Vin Scully, Rob Neyer.

2. Be humorous. And in a good way, not in an ├╝ber ironic or know-it-all fashion. Examples: Charles Barkley, Kenny Mayne.

3. Be attractive. There's nothing wrong with being pretty. Example: Erin Andrews.

Failing on those 3 qualities, most media members shoot for bland and useful. Which is ok, the world needs a lot of Rece Davises. It's when you venture into the land of trying to be not-bland and lack one if the aforementioned qualities that you run into trouble. Let's take a look at a fine exhibit of this...

...Hank Goldberg. The Hammer is the resident gambler on the WorldWide Leader, and as he's quick to point out, a protege of Jimmy the Greek. ESPN drags him out for football picks, but I'm more interested in looking at how they use him for horse racing. Goldberg is presented as gambling savant with great insights as to how to play the races and win bundles of money while being a resident curmudgeon in the process. Does this pass the test? No. In short:

1. Goldberg offers no insight on gambling, as he's not instructive to the novice viewer and instead announces his bets as if they're proclamations from Mount Olympus. The problem is that his wagers suck and are at best, predictably bad. Nobody has ever made money aping the Hammers' selections.

2. Hank not only isn't funny, he's downright surly and condescending. He's very similar to Billy Packer, whose popularity in the blogosphere is between Mitch Albom's and Buzz Bissinger's.

3. Hank is...well, not easy on the eyes.

Given that horse racing could stand to up its Q rating, you'd think they'd try to get someone else. Fear not, for I have the perfect replacement for Hank... the Beulah Twins!

Originally these ladies were tellers at Beulah Park, a minor racetrack in Ohio. One day, the track president noticed them working and the fact that they're kinda cute, and let them do the pre-race paddock show. Handle increased by over 50% as a result. Since then, they've appeared in Playboy magazine and have spiked the attention of thousands of geriatrics at Gulfstream. And the kicker: they actually know something about racing. They at a minimum pass the threshold of the attractiveness quotient and can speak smartly about racing? What's wrong with this?

So here's the solution where everyone wins: ship Hank back to the football both, where he can concentrate on giving his silly teaser bets to Berman & Co during NFL Countdown. And get these girls on the horn. Lord knows they would definitely be happy to get the hell out of exurban Columbus, Ohio.


Corey said...

You know, once you get past the Ohio State fans, Columbus is a pretty nice town. Besides, any town with Graeters ice cream can't be that bad.

El Angelo said...

Fair point, though I have to say, I love Spudnuts Donuts, and I will state that Pekin, Illinois probably sucks.