Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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Weekend Links with Jon Marthaler: The strangeness of TVs at a gas pump

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional baseball Updated: May 11, 2013 - 10:57 AM

I recently was standing at the gas pump, quietly pouring my checking account into my vehicle, when I noticed that the pump itself was broadcasting ESPN on a video service that was helpfully labeled "GSTV." (I presume this stands for "Gas Station TV," though for all I know it could stand for Giant Slalom TV or Garbage Scow TV.) This was not live television; it appeared to be pre-taped talking-head bits from SportsCenter, though I can't confirm it because the designer seemed to have forgotten that gas stations are often conveniently located very near traffic, and that video would thus need either closed captioning or a sound level that could rise above the level of "mouse fart."

Presumably, this was the result of some advertising deal, in which a company had paid ESPN for short clips that they would use to grab my attention, which then might be used to subliminally influence me to buy gas-station nachos. I can't imagine ESPN paid for placement, unless they're trying to make SportsCenter seem even more inescapable than it already is. (And come to think of it, this might be an on-the-nose advertising slogan for whatever they introduce next. "ESPN: Not A Moment's Respite.")

The other possibility is that the gas station itself decided to implement something to keep its customers entertained at the pump, which seems even more horrifying, the result of some hellish corporate meeting.

BOSS: Jenkins! People are staring blankly off into the middle distance while filling their tanks!
JENKINS: I've got an idea, sir. Let's put two-day-old sports segments right on the gas pump! Plus, we could do a deal with HLN so that customers can also be frightened by the unfathomable whiteness of Robin Meade's teeth!

I'd like to say that I mention this because I have an important point to make about the intrusion of advertising into the public space, or about sports' inherent servitude to its broadcasters and advertisers. Really, though, I just wanted to say this: Skip Bayless isn't any more interesting with the sound off, but he's certainly a lot more tolerable.

*On with the links:

*You might not remember that Hall of Fame pitcher (and former Twin) Steve Carlton went what some would consider crazy. But the proof is in Pat Jordan's 1994 article for Philadelphia Magazine, which nearly two decades later is still fascinating.

*While we're on the subject of old articles -- the previous one and the following one are both from Deadspin -- here's a late-1982 Inside Sports profile of Glenn Burke, who quit baseball so he could stop leading a double life as a gay man.

*The Players Championship is this weekend, which gives Joe Posnanski a chance to look at the seventeenth at Sawgrass, the famed island green, and wonder: is it a great golf hole?

*There is bad language in Hamilton Nolan's recap of the Mayweather-Guerrero fight, but if you can get past that, it's also the best piece of boxing writing you will read all year.

*And finally: I'm pretty sure the TVFury blog has been spying on my dad, and your dad, and really all of our dads.


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