Barry Jackson

Lewis Brinson an All-Star? Yes, if the Le Batard Show gets its way

Miami Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson (9) hits a ground ball to third and reaches first base on an throwing error by San Diego Padres third baseman Cory Spangenberg (15) in the ninth inning of the game at Marlins Park last Saturday. Members of the Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN are pushing to vote Brinson, a .168 hitter, into the All-Star Game.
Miami Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson (9) hits a ground ball to third and reaches first base on an throwing error by San Diego Padres third baseman Cory Spangenberg (15) in the ninth inning of the game at Marlins Park last Saturday. Members of the Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN are pushing to vote Brinson, a .168 hitter, into the All-Star Game. snavarro@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of media notes on a Thursday:

Fans of The Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN need an incredible late push if they’re going to succeed in their diabolically whimsical – and whimsically diabolical - long shot scheme to get Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson voted into the All-Star game.

Members of the Le Batard Show – including @billygil and @MichaelRyanRuiz – have encouraged people to vote for Brinson, who entered Wednesday hitting .168 with nine homers and 24 RBI.

But in voting released this week, Brinson wasn’t among the top 15 vote-getters among National League outfielders. So this will take a lot more effort to pull off the greatest prank in All-Star history.

Brinson, when informed of this, posted on Instagram: “Haha, I appreciate the support guys, but ya’all go vote for J.T. Realmuto or Starlin Castro.”

Then, when pressed further about it by local reporters, Brinson said sheepishly: “I appreciate the love,” while acknowledging “I haven’t done my job.”

There are limits to ballot stuffing. Gil and others have tweeted this automated message they received when they attempted extreme Brinson ballot stuffing: “You can cast five ballots per 24 hours – up to 35 ballots.”

Brinson spoke about playing in front of friends and family in his Marlins debut on Thursday during Miami’s 8-4 loss to the Cubs.

So what’s the point of all this?

Alex Putterman of awfulannouncing.com put it well: “In many ways, this is the perfect Le Batard Show troll job. It mocks the hometown Marlins for continuing to play a guy hitting [.168], (partially for lack of better options); it pokes fun at the seriousness of All-Star voting across sports, with teams putting together all kinds of over-the-top promotional materials; and it taunts the type of old fogey columnist who will inevitably grouse that Brinson is taking votes from someone who actually deserves to start the All-Star Game.”

Ballots can be cast here for All-Star selections:

2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

Voting ends July 5.

Meanwhile, ex-Marlins president David Samson made a surprising admission on his regular segment on Le Batard's show, revealing that the Marlins - under the former regime - would sometimes buy tickets for $1 to boost attendance figures "if the numbers are lower than we would like."

The point of this? To create buzz about the team and convince sponsors and potential sponsors that there's interest in the Marlins.

"We're talking about thousands [of tickets], not millions," Samson said.

Is four years of the same NBA Finals diminishing interest in the sport?

There’s absolutely no evidence of that.

Despite the sweep, Warriors-Cavaliers averaged 17.65 million viewers – crushing the 9.29 million viewership average for the last NBA Finals sweep – Spurs-Cavaliers in 2007.

What’s more, the average audience for this year’s Finals topped three of the Heat Finals ratings during the Big Three era. The seven-game Heat-Spurs series in 2013 averaged a smidgen above this year’s Finals (17.67 million compared with 17.65).

Personnel items: Fox is using MLS announcer John Strong and former U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden as its lead announcing team on the World Cup, with Alexi Lalas among those in studio. Fox originally planned to groom Gus Johnson for the play-by- play job but ended that experiment years ago. Most games will be played in the morning, midday or at 2 p.m. Miami time…

Former NBC 6 sportscaster Kristina Pink got a big gig, as Thursday night sideline reporter (along with Erin Andrews) on Fox’s NFL package…

Allie LaForce and CBS couldn’t agree on a contract for her to continue doing sideline reporting on SEC football games, and she’s expected to join Turner for NBA and NCAA Tournament games, according to The Sporting News… Jamie Erdahl will replace her on CBS’ lead SEC team.

Good to see the Marlins rehire Tommy Hutton for 45 studio appearances this season. Now the Heat should do the same with Tony Fiorentino, who was replaced by John Crotty as game analyst.

Fiorentino would be the best choice to move into Crotty’s old chair alongside Jason Jackson on postgame shows, in tandem with Fiorentino’s buddy, Ron Rothstein.

Craig Minervini is calling this entire Marlins-Giants series because Fox Sports Florida officials decided before the season that the capable Minervini would do play by play for 10 games, which would reward him for his work and lessen the load in Paul Severino’s first season as Marlins TV voice.

Hank Goldberg, a longtime Miami radio host and a former Dolphins radio analyst for 15 years, is moving to Las Vegas at the end of the month after spending the past 52 years in South Florida.

With the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a federal ban on gambling, Goldberg, 77, notes: “I have a lot of contacts in the sports gambling industry, and there are work opportunities out there.”

Goldberg, who is doing work for CBS Interactive and CBS Sportsline, has another significant reason for relocating:

“I’m on dialysis and it’s a shorter list for kidneys out there,” he said, noting his sister also has moved to Vegas.

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