MLB playoff broadcasts have become dare to change channel

Dear executive producers:

It’s a matter of betrayed trust. You beg us to watch. We comply. Then you challenge us to watch through and around absurd disturbances and distractions, many freshly added as if you’ve come up with something brilliant, when you’ve re-invented the flat tire.

We’ve kept our side of the deal — we’re watching. Now let us watch! It’s TV, remember? Our big-screen, high-def TV’s look like illuminated, overhead menus in McDonald’s!

Game 2 of the Blue Jays-Indians ALCS, Saturday on TBS. Cleveland leads, 2-1, bottom of the sixth, two out. Carlos Santana, who homered earlier, awaiting a 3-1 pitch. We’re yours.

But at that moment, like horizontal lightning along the top of the screen, appeared a string of names: the next three batters due up for Cleveland.

Why? There was not one person who at that moment wanted to know who would bat if Santana, then the next batter, then the next, didn’t make the third out. Why not post the coordinates of Cleveland’s position in the solar system in the next three days?

And such indiscriminately posted strips have repeatedly appeared.

It isn’t enough that TBS’s computerized strike-zone box, made even more intrusive with an all-time graphic cleverly identifying it as “tbstrike Zone” — who knew? — has seized the right side of the screen?

Yet, both of the above have become a standard “enhancement” the intelligent would reject to allow the best possible view of the game. “The best seat in the house” was a promise TV once fulfilled.

The epidemic of foolish — or just plain stupid — additives is such that TBS’s all-time score, inning, count, box includes three blank circles that are illuminated in yellow as per the number of outs in the half-inning.

Cubs second baseman Javier Baez watches his double in the sixth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS.Photo: AP

Why three circles instead of two? That’s so if one of the teams tries to send up a batter after three outs we’ll detect it before the umpires and opponents! It’s like one of those whispered Jim Gaffigan routines: “Hey, wait a second, that guy’s batting with three outs. I think he’s cheating.”

Naturally, TBS barely has time to yellow that third circle before it’s off to commercials — that, and the other team leaving the field, a pretty good indication that the third out was just made.

And at big spots in games, both TBS and FOX apparently have assigned postseason cameramen to scour the crowd to find a man or woman on the verge of great despair who has turned to prayer. Claude Osteen traded for Joel Osteen.

Even the expert commentary relies on our blinded faith. Relieved of Harold Reynolds’ endless, often contradictory prattle, John Smoltz took over, working FS1’s Game 1 of Dodgers-Cubs on Saturday.

After L.A.’s Corey Seager lined a first-pitch, first-inning single against Jon Lester, Smoltz said, “He likes the first pitch, as do most young hitters.”

Perhaps, but in this postseason case, in the NLDS, Dodgers of all ages didn’t allow the Nationals’ Max Scherzer, like Lester an accomplished starter with good control, to throw strike one unchallenged. Adrian Gonzalez, 34, led off the top of the second with a single on a 1-0 pitch, and on and on.

In the bottom of the second, after a slide-in bloop double by Javier Baez, Smoltz, over a replay, said, “He knows, as soon as he hits this, he’s going to turn on the burners.” Nonsense! Baez, as per his postseason norm, was seen watching, jogging before running.

Then there were TBS’s cutaways to Cal Ripken, stationed here, there and everywhere in a stadium, for his obligatory, mostly superfluous comments. Paging Tony Siragusa! That’s another “enhancement” designed to diminish our attention and view of the game — more proof the best seat in the house is not in our houses.

Is this football or a comedy show?

Sunday’s Ravens-Giants game was laced with perverse comedy. The Giants, for example, likely established a franchise record for me-dancing, prancing and preening by a team with a losing record.

Giants wide receiver Roger Lewis Jr. (left) celebrates after a touchdown Sunday.Photo: Anthony J. Causi

Wide receiver Roger Lewis Jr. — a Ravens DB wore a jersey identifying himself as [Anthony] Levine Sr. (guess he’s the first) — caught his first NFL touchdown then did an extended, contorted bit he must’ve rehearsed for months. Naturally, CBS later rewarded him with a slo-mo cameo.

And Odell Beckham Jr., despite vows to change his spoiled- brat ways, remains a counter productive, please-penalize-me fool.

But it was CBS’s graphics that won Funniest In Show. First, on a third-and-9, we saw the Ravens’ percentage and NFL rank on third-down conversions. Yep, all third downs are the same. Soon, the Ravens had a third-and-27 — that counted the same as third-and-1 and third-and-9.

Later, with a third-and-24, a CBS graphic noted the Ravens, this game, are 4-for-10 on third down! They’re all the same!

On a first-and-goal from the one, CBS posted Baltimore’s Red Zone efficiency and NFL rank. Yep, first-and-goal from the one, fourth-and-10 from the 19 — they’re the same!

Perhaps the nuttiest watch of the college football weekend was North Carolina-Miami on ESPN2.

In the second quarter, as UNC punter Tom Sheldon prepared to take the snap, play-by-player Dave Pasch told us Sheldon’s “a true freshman.”

Late in a close game, Sheldon about to punt, analyst Greg McElroy, ex-Alabama and Jets’ QB, said there’s great pressure on Sheldon because it’s raining and he’s “a true freshman.”

Stop! Sheldon is 27! He was recruited from Australia, where he was a professional Aussie rules football player! While it’s true, he’s a freshman, if he’s on course to graduate with a legit degree — does UNC still offer a no-show, A’s-for-all student-athletes curriculum? — he’d become a 31-year-old “true senior.”

In the first half, the plug was pulled on the game for seven minutes. That’s how long it took to first determine via replay rule which team had the ball, then figure out where the next play should begin.

FS1 should have taken a pass on Broussard

With the addition of ESPN NBA “Insider” Chris Broussard, FS1 continues its streak of senseless hires. Broussard’s well-earned rep for self-promotional dishonesty — bogus reports, taking full credit for the good work of others, even lifting a Dallas newspaper reporter’s courtside cellphone photo as his heads-up work — places him at zero on the integrity scale.

ESPN sideliner Jerry Punch, after Nebraska barely won at Indiana to go to 6-0, asked Nebraska coach Mike Riley, ”What does this mean to you and this program?” Yep, that question, again. Sanctuary! Get this: Riley answered, “It’s great.”

Despite the new 23 cents per gallon tax on gasoline, things are looking up for New Jersey taxpayers. Saturday, Rutgers scored!

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