I'm sure someone has an answer for me, and I'd be delighted to learn. But I was just watching Around the Horn, and Woody Paige answered the question, "Which quarterback would you rather have for the future: Michael Vick or Eli Manning?" by saying the following:
1. The producers are asking an unfair question. 2. Michael Vick is the better athlete. 3. This is like choosing between my two children. 4. Hey, they didn't say WHERE you'd want to have the QB for the future: you could have them in Chicago, where New York pressure wouldn't affect Eli Manning, and he'd be better. 5. But all around, Michael Vick is the better athlete. 6. So, for the future, I'd pick Eli Manning. 7. But for now I'm picking Michael Vick [despite the fact that the question pertained to the future -- just my note].
This took about 45 seconds, but felt like about 5 minutes. Also, someone had already made the case that Michael Vick was a better all-around athlete, so he repeated things unnecessarily. It was a poor conclusion poorly delivered. So, of course, Tony Reali gave him 2 points as award for his wheezing. (And Paige does wheeze. He sounds like someone who smoked two packs over a long night of yelling and boozing... then showed up to a screaming match with a two-inch-thick pad of gauze taped over his mouth.)
So why is this guy on TV? He's verbally incontinent and gesticulates madly like a guy coming up to you on the street and asking if you've seen his Magneto-CIA-Powered-DOOM-Feet. Perhaps his columns are fantastic (and I'm told that, when he gets to deliver quick prepared points on Cold Pizza, he's actually quite good). But excellent writing and prepped speaking don't necessarily transfer to improvised speech/discussion. In Paige's case, it pretty much doesn't. So why keep him on ATH?
And, another question: is Tony Reali obligated to give him points on ATH? The first thing I thought tonight, after Paige's incoherent monologue and the two-point award, was, "There's gotta be a contract somewhere that says Reali HAS to give him points." I almost NEVER see Paige fail to get to round #2 of ATH, regardless of his being a total loon half the time.
I think it's part gimmick part real. Around the Horn is just a really bad show and I'm really shocked that it's still around after all this time. If it was just another talking head sports show then I could give it a pass but the scoring looks like it's done at random half the time. As to why the keep him on the show he's the only one who is at least kind of entertaining even if he is a moron more then half the time. Everyone loves the village idiot.
The scoring is done totally at the whim of Reali, and it gets to be painfully obvious when he wants to keep someone out of a round or get someone in (usually at Mariotti's expense).
With a good host, ATH can be a good show; not as good as PTI, but good. The problem is that Reali is a terrible host.
Paige is kept around because Reali likes him, he's moderately entertaining, and if he hasn't met his quota of "too far in the forest to see the trees" and "the producers have come up with a bad question."
Even without Paige and Reali, though, ATH can never be as good as PTI or I, Max, the latter of which is rapidly becoming the best sports show on television.
"He is the most overrated piece of crap in the league. He bitched and whined after he got his ass beaten in New England last year, so the NFL changed the rules. Then he got his ass beaten in New England again. Every year he's the top MVP candidate. Every year he's supposed to be the best. Every year he's going to carry the Colts to the Super Bowl. And every single year he goes to New England and gets his ass beaten. And his brother's a whiny little bitch." -A friend of mine, on Peyton Manning
What JJD said. His brother was horribly murdered allegedly by a boxer that his brother had taken into his home. (I don't use the horribly word lightly. When a murder scene is described as "sharon tate-like," that's pretty hard core.)