One of the more low-key distressing aspects of this baseball postseason, the sort of low-hum gutterism that we’ve all learned to adjust our mental tuners to over the last 11 months, has been the constant advertisements for FS1’s wretched studio programming throughout the ALDS and the ALCS.
It’s hard not to pity (and also envy!) the poor baseball fan who has, up to this point, avoided the devolving discourse of our sports shouting world only to suddenly learn, during the most important baseball games of the season, that the competitions unfolding are viewed by the networking airing them simply to be grist for two morons screaming banalities at each other.
Somewhere, there is an elbow-patch-jacketed octogenarian Yankees fan — the kind that has only interacted with commentary through Roger Angell essays — who will discover this October that current conversations on athletic prowess revolve around “cyber humans” and the supposed libtard bias of sports telecommunications executives. This octogenarian will immediately alter the DNR orders for his friends and loved ones.
While the constant plugging of retrograde dipsh*ttery feels particularly abrasive and demoralizing in the age of Fox Sports and the pivot to sure-let’s-be-kind-and-actually-call-this-crap-“video,” it is worth remembering that the use of nightly baseball programming has long served mostly to take terrible programming and music and Clockwork Orange it into our skulls. The NBA Finals is spread out over what I believe to be several months; the Super Bowl is a one-shot extravaganza of Left Sharks.
But the World Series is unique in that it is nightly and incessant, which means when a network decided that it wants to promote something, you will not be able to escape it — not then, not tomorrow, not ever.
Thus, we bring you blasts from the past that never really left, the Ghosts of October Promotions Past, the pop cultural tidbits from old World Series and MLB postseasons that drove us insane back then and still rattle inside our skulls now.
You might still hate these songs and TV shows, but you do have to admit that they are decidedly not Jason Whitlock.
“Written in the stars … from a million miles away”
After hearing this every 10 seconds of the 2011 postseason, it was a legitimate surprise to learn that it was a real song, with a video and lyrics and a chorus and everything. (Piano guys must stay inside; rappers get to hang out on the roof.) The worst part about this song is that, as a Cardinals fan, the 2011 World Series was the best sporting event of my lifetime… but it is nearly impossible to think of it without remembering this song. I suppose it is ultimately apt punishment.
Oh, you didn’t forget your unofficial host of the 2007 postseason, did you? It’s Dane Cook! “October’s in the air!” he screams, which is not an actual thing; October is a month with a certain weather, and that’s what’s in the air, you dolt. “All the heart and soul has paid off,” he says, which wouldn’t make sense even if weren’t said by a leering smirk that has gained sentience. “There’s only one October,” he finishes, nailing the most defeatist tagline imaginable. Here is the month when we are playing our games. Next month, there will be a different month. Please enjoy the games. This was the same year that Cook made Good Luck Chuck, a movie in which he had sex with dozens of different women, including Jessica Alba. Remembering this about 2007 has made me feel better about 2017 for the first time since 2017 began.
Kid Rock was born free, don’t you know
Speaking of loathsome people, here’s Kid Rock, a human actually worse than Dane Cook. I would say this 2010 TBS earworm hasn’t aged well, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s Kid Rock’s first senatorial campaign ad verbatim.
That month where you briefly hated Conan O’Brien
Conan O’Brien’s popularity was at its zenith in 2010, when TBS signed him to a massive deal in the wake of “The Tonight Show” fiasco at NBC. Thus, you could not escape Conan that October, particularly the Conan Blimp, a conceit TBS clearly found a lot more amusing than the rest of us.
An answer to the question: “Is it possible to make old white sportswriters dislike Bruce Springsteen?” Turns out: Yes, but only temporarily. Gotta give it to Bruce, though: He clearly did no work for this promo other than to let some MLB people film him at a concert, and even during just that one song. Nice work if you can get it — certainly better than the poor schmuck who had to go film all those trains.
“His father is the district attorney!”
Do you remember the name of the show? The show was Skin. It aired in 2003 and lasted three episodes, but those six words are never leaving your brain or your soul. (Poor Ron Silver died a few years later. What a way to live on.)
Fox’s let’s-explain-baseball-to-the-stupidest-of-our-children! experiment was so despised that it is nearly impossible to find video of it on the Internet. Thus, instead of Scooter, I have embedded video of a Fox television reporter crashing a scooter live on air, which is still less painful than Scooter.
Here’s a photo of Scooter, though, in case you see him within 50 yards of an elementary school and thus have to call the police:
“Crazy’s What They Think About Me!”
The song is called “The Walker,” and I’ve been so beaten down by everything else on this list that I think I might actually like this song. I think this means I died in 2014 and am just now realizing it.
LIGHT A MUP
The pinnacle of this phenomenon, we’ll be screaming LIGHT A MUP for decades to come. This song is so evil and awful that Fall Out Boy will be singing it at MLB signature events for the rest of your life, and the rest of your children’s lives. And the lead singer will still be wearing that f*cking hat.
Yeah, still: None of these are worse than Skip Bayless.
Will Leitch is the senior writer for Sports On Earth, contributing editor for New York Magazine, film critic for Grierson & Leitch and the founder of Deadspin. You should subscribe to his weekly newsletter.