The Olympics That Wouldn’t End

Please tell me the Olympics are almost over. Every night with the swimming? I haven’t seen this many people swim since Ernest Borgnine and Shelley Winters starred in the Poseidon Adventure. And gymnastics? I mean, I admire what they do and all. But tiny teens in fondant cake-icing costumes, night after night? In the middle of a pennant race?

What’s your problem, Smitty? The Olympics are the biggest sporting event in the world. You love sports.

Yes they are. And yes I do. But the games are also among the biggest nuisances around. Ask anyone who lives in Rio if the Olympics will have any impact on life, besides two weeks of slighty less-gross water. How about Beijing? Or London? Boston was in the running this year for the 2024 Olympic Games. Until the people of Boston actually got a whiff of what it would take and what it would cost to host the Olympics. Hell no, they cried.

My idea of purgatory is watching prime-time coverage of Olympic gymnastics, complete with the same three commercials every 12 minutes.

I guess the part that bugs me the most about the Olympics, aside from the “U-S-A!” jingoism, is the overblown production and the announcing. The pressure to create a Jesse Owens moment in every event just makes them all ring kind of hollow.

Have you listened to NBC swimming commentator Rowdy Gaines? He shrieks like a jackal when an American gets within 40 meters of the wall. And poor old Al Trautwig got all tangled up in a mess about adoptive vs. biological parents. Who thinks the Poor Fan’s Marv Albert is equipped to handle that discussion?

Speaking of Albert, he’s doing basketball in Rio, the closest thing to a sporting a contest that I recognize. The US men’s team is so isolated that they live on a boat. I imagine them bathing in champagne like that cellphone commercial with Li’l Wayne in it.

Baseball is the marquee event of the summer. The races, the records, the stories, the trades. The Olympics just feel like an interruption.

So, put baseball back in the Olympics? Simple, right?

Not so fast. Past Olympics with baseball in them featured college players representing the US. Snoo-ooze. Why watch some kid from Tulane pitch when you can watch an actual major leaguer?

Then just put big-leaguers in the Olympics, like basketball and hockey.

That would require calling time out in mid season for an international all-star tournament. I watched a Dodger game on FS1 at some point recently. During the broadcast, unusually large-headed Eric Karros opined that, soon, major league baseball could stop its schedule, a la the National Hockey League, and play an Olympic tournament with big-league ballplayers.

No chance. Rob Manfred and company make far too much money to make a move as radical as that one.

Fortunately, Karros has no idea what he’s talking about. But just the thought of it makes my blood run cold. Imagine the all-star break, times three or four! Right in the middle of summer.

I guess the Olympics will  be over soon enough. And we’ll get back to regularly scheduled programming.


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