ESPN’s Pat McAfee certainly knows the douchebag playbook

When you hand a bloated gas bag a Brink’s truck to work for your company, it can’t be much of a surprise when he acts like a bloated gas bag. People tend to keep doing whatever made them rich. Pat McAfee at least figured out that much, and ESPN is almost certainly getting what it paid for, whatever that is.

McAfee unquestionably stepped in it on Sunday by making a Larry Nassar joke on Twitter when it came to deriding some Michigan State uniforms. It was obviously tasteless and offensive, because the 100+ survivors of Nassar’s abuse would rather not see him connected to anything ever again. He’s not a punchline, and neither are they.

It would have been pretty simple for McAfee to simply delete it, say sorry, say he crossed the line, and show anything resembling human decency. But see, the likes of McAfee can’t do that, because their fanbase demands to feel superior at every turn. That’s why they tune in after all, to be part of some tiny (though obviously still too large) corner of the world where they can ignore their insecurities and vulnerability to feel like the bastion of machoness they dreamed of when they were a child. A maturity level they never moved beyond.

The key to these fucksticks is never admitting to be wrong or showing any solace, because that’s confused with weakness. Seeing as how McAfee is talking, he must be right, because that’s the only calculation he’s ever done. It’s no secret why his show has become the fortress of assholedom that Aaron Rodgers prefers, as he also is convinced as long as he’s talking he’s right and sees no way that he could ever be wrong or have to backtrack. No one’s going to question him on the show, obviously, as both Rodgers and McAfee celebrate their ability to spout a constant stream of horseshit without any recrimination or rebuttal.

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So there was McAfee diving headfirst into an empty pool, matching the density of material between his ears, on Monday over his tweet and joke, and following the douchebag playbook down to the index. First, he blamed everyone else for being offended. Then he claimed he was doing a service, that he’s the good guy. And it’s our wider problem if we see something wrong with what McAfee said, because he has the bullhorn and we don’t. We’re merely plebes because ESPN isn’t paying us.

It’ll be manna for his followers, who also never want to feel like they have to apologize for anything or really put much thought into anything they say either. Nothing is ever any of these people’s fault, it’s always everyone else’s for changing the standards that people and what they say are held to. Which is what happens in any society as it evolves, but this crowd is still holding onto the hope that it can turn back the clock.

This is pretty much what ESPN has been for a couple decades now, the natural evolution of the place that gave the world Skip Bayless saying anything as long as it was contrarian to whatever was the prevailing story of the day whether it made any sense or not. If the starting point was that there was always a second side to everything, it shouldn’t have been hard to figure out they would eventually get to that second side always being right. Once it stops being controversial to zig when all logic dictates a zag, the only way to push it farther is to wield that like a weapon.

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Anyway, we’ll sit around and wait for more people in Bristol to lose their job so McAfee can continue to huff his own farts and then get even more righteous when anyone points out that A. smells and B. is toxic. It’s never his problem. He’s got a mic and he’s rich, which is all it takes these days.

Justin Verlander on the move?

The MLB trade deadline hits today at 6 p.m. EST, and the biggest name that has started to float out there is Justin Verlander, with the Astros supposedly being intrigued. It’s always a little funny when a team lets a player walk in free agency and then wants to get him back in a trade when they could have had him for just money. But the Astros have four World Series appearances and two titles to their name, so they can get away with it we guess.

It puts the Mets in something of a bind. Verlander may throw a fit about not getting what was promised when he signed in Queens, but the Mets wouldn’t have much reason to think they can’t be a part of the playoff discussion in 2024. Trading Verlander would only leave the Mets looking for someone to top their rotation next year, and this winter’s free agency class is chock full of tumbleweeds after the list goes past Shohei Ohtani. Lucas Giolito is not going to placate the Citi Field faithful.

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They will get Edwin Diaz back next year, but they’ll still have holes in the corners of the outfield, and possibly third. They did attempt to sign Carlos Correa to solve that this year, and Brett Baty hasn’t exactly taken any bull by any horns since that fell through.

Maybe the Mets think they can duck Verlander going through his Scherzer phase, as Verlander’s fastball has lost a tick and his whiff rate has declined every year for a few now. Even Father Time will eventually catch up to Verlander, and the Mets see an off-ramp now. But this isn’t a team set-up to reset for a push in 2025 or beyond, as Lindor, McNeil, and Nimmo are all over 30 already and Pete Alonso will be 29 next year. The Mets are kind of bound to try and slingshot back up next season.

Juan Soto certainly won’t be winning a Gold Glove

Anyway, let’s watch Juan Soto try to play some defense before we go:

In the interest of balance, here’s how JP Crawford ended last night’s Mariners win:

Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate and on Bluesky