New York Post


- Phil Mushnick

ONCE, as a matter of common sense and greater-good decency, it would have been impossible, but Tuesday’s Twins at Yankees AL wild-card game began at 8:10 p.m., ESPN-standard time. Eight and one-half innings later, it ended at midnight.

This is the new norm, hard, indisputab­le evidence of MLB leadership continuing to place money far ahead of the good and long-term welfare of The Game. Still, commission­er Rob Manfred shamelessl­y declares that MLB’s No. 1 priority is to ensure that America’s children become and remain baseball fans.

The hero of Tuesday’s game was reliever David Robertson, who allowed no runs and struck out five in 3 ¹/3 innings. Yet, as per MLB’s untreated statistica­l inanities, he was “credited” with a blown save. Thus, Robertson’s permanent 2017 wild-card performanc­e will be listed and read as a failure. The win he also was credited with is a common, bitter consolatio­n among relievers who blow saves.

As for the telecast, well, to allow ESPN, at any time of day, to have control of an MLB telecast also reflects the omnipotenc­e of money.

For the past two years, ESPN’s lead MLB trio of Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza, with generous portions of Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian “down on the field,” has been met with widespread disgust for the inability to allow even one groundout to occur without a full-blown, multiplesp­eakers analysis (steeped in “perhaps”) of what just happened and why it happened, and now to an ingame, split-screen taped feature about someone or something.

Surely, if ESPN’s geniuses can’t figure it out for themselves, they have been told. Thus, ESPN either doesn’t care or doesn’t believe it. Or is it that ESPN execs enjoy the way ESPN destroys baseball games?

During Tuesday’s third inning, the Twins, down a run, had first and second with no one out. Yet, for all the non-stop talk, that the Twins, under Paul Molitor, didn’t even at

tempt a sacrifice bunt — especially in a league with the DH — impossibly went unspoken!

But, as we all know, “The game has changed.” To that end, Terry Collins must be relieved he has been relieved of his pathetic duty to regularly defend Yoenis Cespedes for his reliable unreliabil­ity.

Fascinatin­g that while astute baseball fans and three previous teams well knew Cespedes as an in- different talent, the Mets determined to pay him $110 million over four years in exchange for his sustaining indifferen­ce.

Reader Ralph Caola notes that the Orioles last year broke the MLB record for fewest triples with six, but that record this season was broken by the Blue Jays, with five. That makes sense, now that running to first base has become optional.

The Brewers finished one game behind the Rockies for the NL wild card. From Day 1 of this season, when the Brewers turned a 5-4 lead into a 7-5 loss to the Rockies, Milwaukee was one of those “by the book” teams that regularly pulled effective relievers in successful search of one who would be clobbered.

And in Game 4 of their season, the Brewers again lost to the Rockies, this time, 2-1, when two straight relievers who had allowed a total of one hit, were pulled for the first of several 2017 Milwaukee by the book “closers,” who quickly threw a home-run ball to end the game.

But there’s nothing written above, from absurd, fantasy-based managing, to just-pay-us midnight finishes to the season’s biggest games, to lifetime-record statistics that punish the successful and reward the failed, to MLB-partner telecasts designed to assault the central nervous system, to the reverse logic of posing first and running second, to spending tens of millions of dollars on proven underachie­vers, that’s likely to change.

 ??  ?? SAVE YOUR BREATH! Yankees reliever David Robertson got the win — but also a blown save! — for his stellar outing in the AL wild-card game.
SAVE YOUR BREATH! Yankees reliever David Robertson got the win — but also a blown save! — for his stellar outing in the AL wild-card game.
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