Jimmy Fallon and the art of the non-interview

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fallon_100112.jpgIf you need any more evidence that NBC is destroying its late night lineup by driving off Conan O’Brien, look no further than Monday night’s appearance by David Ortiz on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

(kudos to Dan Lamothe at Red Sox Monster)

We all know that celebrities use talk shows to promote things they are selling to the public, whether movies, or music, or, as in Ortiz’s case, a line of hot sauce.

But you’d think that on the day Mark McGwire admitted taking steroids, a prominent baseball player like Ortiz – who has himself been implicated in the use of performance-enhancing drugs – might have something to say on the topic. Or at least ask him about it and deal with the brush-off. You know Letterman would ask five or 10 times before giving up or running out of time.

But Fallon, as lovable and irrepressibly charming as he is, either was unable – or unwilling – to ask Ortiz any questions of substance. Instead he fawned over his Boston Red Sox hero, talked about the movie Fever Pitch, and generally wasted time.

Actual sequence from interview:

Ortiz: We have two more (hot sauce flavors) coming out.
Fallon: Two more? (stunned) Oh my gosh.

Wow. That’s some good stuff.

By the way, the fellas on Morning Joe had Papi on Tuesday morning (enough with the hot sauce!) and they managed to ask him about McGwire. Ortiz didn’t say a whole lot, but at least they tried. See Jimmy, that wasn’t so hard. He didn’t even get mad!

Watch the video below:

Nationals owner Mark Lerner had his left leg amputated

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Mark Lerner, son of Ted Lerner and a co-owner of the Washington Nationals, had his left leg amputated earlier this month. He was diagnosed earlier this year for a rare form of cancer that a attacks connective tissue and treatment had been ineffective, so doctors removed the limb.

The news was revealed in the form of a letter Lerner wrote to Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga, who had inquired about Lerner’s uncharacteristic absence from the ballpark of late. Lerner:

“With my doctors and medical team, we decided that amputation of that leg was my best choice to maintain the active and busy lifestyle that I have always enjoyed. The limb was removed in early August and I’m healing well, cancer-free, and looking forward to my eventual new prosthetic.”

Lerner, 63, has been known to dress up in a Nats uniform and shag fly balls with the team during batting practice. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery and, if his prosthetic allows, some more BP shagging at some point in the future.

New Marlins owners are going to dump David Samson, keep the home run sculpture

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The Miami Herald reports that the future Miami Marlins owners, Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, have informed Major League Baseball that they do not intend to retain current team president David Samson. Derek Jeter will replace him as the person in charge of baseball and business operations.

Samson has been a polarizing figure in Miami and has been seen as Jeff Loria’s front-facing presence in many ways. He led the effort for the team to get its new stadium, which led to political scandal and outrage in Miami (not that he didn’t get his stadium). In 2014, he appeared on “Survivor.” He did not survive.

What will survive, however, is the famous home run sculpture in the outfield at Marlins Park. You’ll recall some reports earlier this week that Sherman and Jeter were thinking about removing it. If so, they’ll have a lot of hurdles to jump, because yesterday the Miami-Dade County government reminded them that it was paid for by its Art in Public Places program, it is thus owned by the county and that it cannot be moved without prior approval from the county.

I know a lot of people hate that thing, but it has grown on me over the years. Not for its own aesthetic sake as much for its uniqueness and whimsy, which are two things that are in extraordinarily short supply across the Major League Baseball landscape. Like a lot of new and different bits of art and architecture over the course of history, I suspect its initial loathing will increasingly come to be replaced by respect and even pride. Especially if the Marlins ever make another World Series run, in which case everything associated with the club will be elevated in the eyes of fans.

On this score, Sherman and Jeter will thank Miami-Dade for saving themselves from themselves one day.