These are 23 (more) facts, tried and true, about the widening world of sports television:
1. If the South had won the Civil War, I can’t even imagine how conference realignment would’ve played out.
2. Went to a Bar Mitzvah last month that had not just one, but two sideline reporters.
3. I realized the programming challenges NBC Sports Network faced last week while watching “Monday Night Backgammon.”
4. It’s just a start, but this is what I’d do if I were “The NFL Today” on CBS: Send Shannon Sharpe and Norman Esiason out for coffee, then switch studios before either gets back.
5. Remember, the “E” in ESPN stands for “Entertainment” – why else would they show poker?
6. Just saw previously unseen home video in which Skip Bayless, at age 8, is berating a school crosswalk guard for “choking.”
7. Fox’s college football studio talent: Erin Andrews, Eddie George and Joey Harrington. I guess there weren’t open auditions.
8. Sure, I miss the NHL on TV as much as the next guy, but it has allowed me to rekindle my love affair with air hockey.
(Column Intermission I: Stat of the Year – according to a new book by author Stuart Laycock, “All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To,” Great Britain has invaded nearly 90 percent of the nations in the world at some point. Of 193 countries, Britain has invaded 171. America is a distant second, at about 60 or so, but it’s entirely possible we invaded someone this morning.)
9. CNN used to air “Crossfire.” ESPN could start an entire network called ESPN Crossfire.
10. If Stephen A. Smith delivers the eulogy at my funeral, I just might find the strength to get up and get out of my coffin.
11. “Mike Mayock: Conversations With Myself” debuts on NFL Network Jan. 2.
12. True story: Stephen A. Smith once was kicked out of Sunday church services for sermonizing during the preacher’s sermon.
13. I have no doubt Mike Mayock knows what he’s talking about. The problem is: The rest of us don’t.
14. I guess the biggest difference between ESPN Deportes and Tony Siragusa is that I actually understand what they’re saying on ESPN Deportes.
15. Curious fact: Thomas Jefferson was pro-slavery and anti-replay.
16. I never text-and-drive, but I have installed a flat-screen TV on the dashboard of my 1999 Honda Accord.
(Column Intermission II: Among the 22 nations Great Britain has not invaded are Andorra, Belarus, Guatemala, Ivory Coast, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Mongolia, Sweden, Uzbekistan and Vatican City. Somehow, I think you’re also safe if you live in Mississippi.)
17. If the Mayans are right, I wonder what “SportsCenter” will lead with The Day After.
17a. If the Mayans are right, it will put programs like “Around the Horn” in perspective.
18. I don’t need an exit poll to tell me that, at this very moment, Mitt Romney is watching The Golf Channel while President Obama is tuned to NBA League Pass.
19. “Nashville” vs. “Vegas” – advantage, “Nashville.” One’s a clinic in storytelling and character development, the other’s a cartoon.
20. I’ve been watching “Jim Rome on Showtime” – man, he’s got the widest batting stance in sports.
21. I would love to “break contain,” but I wasn’t raised that way.
22. The next time you wonder about your cable bill rising, consider this – ESPN has an on-air “injury analyst,” physical therapist Stephania Bell, on the payroll.
23. What if I don’t want to talk and surf?
Ask The Slouch
Q. The day after you trashed the Washington Wizards and projected them to finish 5-77, they beat the Miami Heat. Do you get paid for your insights? (Dom Bellucci; Lynchburg, Va.)
A. Yes, I do – and I bring donuts to the office every Friday.
Q. Wasn’t it professional malfeasance to write about how bad the Washington Wizards are without mentioning general manager Ernie Grunfeld? (Michael Gross; Wilmington, Del.)
A. Yes, it was – I’m not exactly sure how Grunfeld is still the GM, though I understand he also brings donuts to the office every Friday.
Q. I was wondering – since you have been over the fiscal cliff so many times in post-nuptial negotiations and seem to be still doing all right, shouldn’t you be appointed to any committee from Congress dealing with how to handle the looming debt crisis? (Tony DiBiase; Damascus, Md.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. Do you find it odd that national ratings for the NHL are virtually the same as last year? (Mark Puskar; Pittsburgh)
A. That’s $1.25 gold, baby.