ESPN, the self-proclaimed World Wide Leader in Sports, showcases the greatest athletes in the world in everything from baseball, to hockey, to basketball, and everything inbetween.
But once those sports are done for the season, particularly right after the Super Bowl ends, ESPN has a big void in its coverage on Sundays, and that’s when they show weird leisure time activity “sports” where you aren’t sure if they’re really a sport or if the people doing them are athletes, like bowling, or lumberjack games, and my personal favorite: pool.
Today we take a step back to 1999 and some HOT POCKET BILLIARDS ACTION for the 1999 Brunswich Billiards New York Classic on ESPN2! The deuce! Back when this was actually kind of a hard channel to get on your cable package!
This showdown features two billiards legends and a tournament that I’ve never heard of!
Let’s get to the action!
And right away we are thrust into an interview with no previous context or info with one of the players in today’s final, and there’s not name graphic either to let us know who this is. AND HOW ABOUT THAT BOTTOM LINE! That is the ESPN2 I remember. The big news of the day was apparently that the Cavaliers have signed center Benoit Benjamin to a deal. Even before LeBron, the Cavs were signing trash players in hopes of fixing their issues.
ON TO THE ACTUAL POOL!
They drop us right in on a shot of some guy racking the balls and hey, this is already Game 3 of this race to seven and Gerda Hofstatter already has a 2-0 lead. Something tells me this isn’t live. What is it with weird sports like this and putt-putt golf cutting out large chunks of coverage?
Hofstatter has the break in our first action and BAM! she pockets one into the side pocket while the bottom line updates us on the latest BCS Rankings. Holy hell remember the BCS? I miss it.
We get an overhead shot and one thing that always confused me growing up was how the overhead shot always looked like it was shot on a fisheye lens and made the table look warped.
“Do not try that at home, that’s dangerous.” Oh man, the billiards is WILD. These people are putting their lives on the line. And now the announcers are talking about how these players are artists. I will refer to myself as an artist with the cue next time I drunkenly play pool at the bar and my soon-to-be wife will probably leave me. Artist. Get out of here pool announcer.
I will say though, these ladies are shooting on a HUGE table that’s like 10-feet long, not your little 6-7 foot bar table that you shoot on, so this is way harder than when we play.
Allison Fisher is knocking balls home like it’s not even hard. For real though, growing up I wanted to be a pro pool player, needless to say, that didn’t happen and now I blog about the sport on a website featuring a cartoon thermometer. Life comes at you fast.
Also, I am a HUGE fan of the giant Cuetec pin that Fisher is rocking during this. What other sport can you wear a fancy pin in while playing?
Fisher runs the table and cuts the deficit to 2-1, there’s a reason she the No. 1 player in the world folks, no BCS needed to tell us that.
Whoa and we’re back after the break and we get ANOTHER interview. Is there that much down time in this sport where they need to fill time with multiple interviews? What is happening between games, is the bartender taking too long to refill the pitchers of beer?
And we meet our announcers for the first time, Mitchell Laurence, some guy who I think is a sponsor, and Dawn Hopkins. I’m 99 percent sure Mitchell Laurence is STILL doing these games on ESPN. In the world of pool announcers, it’s Mitchell Laurence and everyone else. A national treasure.
We just went from a player interview to a sponsor interview, this is the least amount of pool I have ever seen on a pool broadcast. We are halfway through this video and we have seen one damn game that took like 2 minutes. And people complain that baseball has downtime.
Hey Fisher is on the break, and they are STILL interviewing this guy. She pockets three on the break and folks this table looks like it is set up for her to do some damage. And she…plays a safety shot? She just tucks it away in the corner to let Gerda shoot, we’ll see how this strategy pays off.
Hofstatter misses and Fisher’s gamble pays off. “Allison has the most sensitive stroke I have ever seen.” #PoolAfterDark. And off she goes, seriously, you and I play at the bar and miss 3-4 times a game and still might win by a few balls, these girls, you miss once and your probably don’t get up the rest of the game because they are more than likely running the table. And just like that Fisher ties it up at 2-2.
Oh hell yeah, the Tip of the Day is up next, and here’s how you jamokes at home can get better at playing pool. Today we learn how to hit a “Stun Stroke” to eliminate rotation on the ball which is just…hit the ball in the middle. That’s a pretty lame tip.
And we miss another game that Hofstetter evidently won to take a 3-2 lead in the match. Gerta breaks and puts home two, but boy did the break put her in a tough spot to avoid scratching on this next shot.
I have a question, where are these announcers sitting? Because it’s dead silent in this arena? stadium? bar? bowling alley? except for them, would’t that be distracting to the players to have two bozos yammering on while you’re trying to shoot?
In the background we see an ad for Pool & Billiard Magazine, which is a real thing in 1999 and now I want to see if I can still subscribe.
“This is a very knowledgeable crowd.” Well I would hope so. I can’t imagine some guy just happened to see pool was in town and had never played and was like, “Huh? Guess I better go check that out!” I would venture to say that every crowd is a knowledgeable crowd when it comes to pool.
And Hofstatter knocks it home for a 4-2 lead and that’s the end of our video. Who the hell only uploads a 14-minute video of an even that takes like, an hour to air on ESPN?
Oh, turns out they broke it up into SEVEN different 14 minute videos and guess what, the final video that shows us who wins the title is nowhere to be found. In the last video I was able to find Hofstatter held a 6-3 lead so we’ll go ahead and assume she won. Some serious pool fan you are if you don’t show us the conclusion.
And that’s the 1999 Brunswick Billiards New York Classic! Thanks for reading along with the action today!