This past year outfielder/pitcher Shohei Ohtani pulled off the most remarkable season of baseball in living memory, becoming the first real two-way star since Babe Ruth. But on this occasion of the MLB’s postseason, I’m here to talk about another two-way star: Keith Olbermann, who is quite possibly both the most obnoxious liberal in America and most obnoxious baseball fan in the world at the same time. Wow!
Olbermann is a former SportsCenter host whose show at MSNBC began the same month as the Iraq War. He was the liberal torchbearer of MSNBC for almost eight years. After being fired by Al Gore’s Current TV following a two-season run that was considered a complete disaster by everyone involved, Olbermann—like a lot of Bush-era media liberals—was basically in the wilderness for several years.
During the 2016 election he started a GQ web show that later became known as The Resistance With Keith Olbermann, which was memorable for exactly two reasons: declaring “Trump is Finished” in his final episode, which aired on November 27, 2017, and this:
Olbermann later went back to ESPN for a few years, then resigned in November to start a daily YouTube politics show, which he called Olbermann vs. Trump, but it appears to have mostly fizzled out at this point. Over the past year, his most notable political output has been horrible tweets, just absolute dogshit no one should ever be forced to read.
But while dialing up the outrage and contrarianism is part of the gig for TV pundits, Olbermann on baseball might be even worse because it’s an utterly humorless and joyless expression of fandom for a game that he believes he loves, but does not actually love. The fact that Olbermann stands out in the field of pedantic baseball fandom is a testament to his excellence, because this is a very crowded field. Take it from me, an obnoxious baseball fan who somehow convinced my parents to take me to Cooperstown, New York for summer vacation when I was 12.
Take this tweet from last Thursday, for example:
Why was this Athletic reporter’s tweet “shameful” and “un-journalistic”? Because Baggarly did not specify that the Dodgers and Giants played each other in what would now be described as postseason matchups in 1889, 1951, and 1962. (The postseason as we know it today was created in the late 1960s; before that, the "postseason" consisted of the World Series and nothing else. The 1951 and 1962 series happened because the Giants and Dodgers were tied for first place in the National League at the end of the regular season; if they hadn't been, there would have been no series. The 1889 series happened over a decade before the World Series as we know it was invented, the Dodgers weren't called the Dodgers back then, and the games are not even recognized by the MLB as part of its official historical record.)
Olbermann went after his old network for this transgression as well. “Bullshit,” he declared, when ESPN promoted the Dodgers-Giants game as the “first time” they’d meet in the playoffs. He also used the word “slovenliness.”
He just kept going, and going, and going.
In case it wasn’t obvious, Olbermann is also the kind of guy who earnestly believes that players busted for using steroids would have been nothing without steroids, which is very obviously not true. He has a particular vendetta against Barry Bonds, who was arguably one of the greatest hitters to ever live before he began hitting thousands of home runs every year.
Imagine me yawning so hard that one of my ribs cracked while I say this: For sure, man.
Olbermann’s online presence is useful for one thing and one thing only: boosting awareness of lost dogs and posting pleas to adopt dogs from kill shelters. Fewer tweets about the Cheeto Mussolini and Altoona Goodfellows outfielder Algernon “Lippy” Lipschitz (1869-1933 RIP gone but never forgotten), more dog posts. Thank you, Keith.