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Hey, Fox and Comcast Sports: Shut up and let us watch the game

I didn't think it was possible, but a sports network has come up with something even more irritating, distracting and irrelevant than the Hollywood celebrities who crowd into ESPN's Monday Night Football Pickens2 booth to plug their latest ABC shows. During the first half of the Washington State/Oklahoma State telecast that aired on about 20 Fox Sports and Comcast Sports channels Saturday afternoon, play-by-play men Ryan Davis and Tony Boselli suddenly went quiet. Instead, we heard a sideline interview (using the term very loosely) with billionaire corporate pirate T. Boone Pickens.

The nominal pretext for this is that Pickens donated $165 million to Oklahoma State's athletic department. But then the sideline reporter got to the real point. "Some people are calling you the savior to the American energy crisis with the energy Pickens Plan," he said. "Explain everything about that Pickens Plan."

The Pickens Plan is a scheme to spend $1 trillion on wind farms, funnel that energy into the electric grid, and use the natural gas saved to power vehicles. Who pays the $1 trillion? Well, you do, through taxes or outrageously priced electricity. How does the energy get from the wind farms to the power plants? The government will seize it through eminent domain. Who makes yet another fortune from all this? T. Boone Pickens, who owns a bunch of companies involved in wind-farming and natural-gas vehicles.

Unfortunately, not a single word of the information in that last paragraph made it onto the air. Though Pickens ranted on for well over one minute about what a genius he is ("I decided I was the one who knew the truth") and plugged his website several times, the "interview" was really just an exercise in windy self-promotion. Though, to be fair, it left at least two people in profound awe -- play-by-play men Davis and Boselli. Boselli breathlessly proclaimed that Pickens should be a member of the next American president's cabinet, while Davis squealed: "He's speaking the language out here!" He didn't precisely identify here, but I presume it to be the Grand Republic of Obfuscation and Plutocratic Windbaggery.

If Pickens has trouble making ends meet on his picayune $3 billion net worth and wants to lobby Americans to give him a few hundred billions more to tide him over, that's certainly his right. But let him buy an ad instead of interrupting a football game to hawk his three-card monte game. That way, we can quickly TiVo past it along with the rest of the baloney.


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