Machado shows baseball places value on all the wrong qualities

Say, Johnny, what do you want to be when you grow up?

“A big league baseball player!”

Great! What position?

“Pitcher, the one who pitches the seventh inning!”

Diminished standards — intentionally diminished standards — continue to eviscerate The Game. And that destruction continues largely unchallenged.

Could Aaron Boone, who made it in the majors as much on desire as skill — in 11 seasons as a hustling infielder he hit .263 — truly believe what he said Wednesday about the Yankees’ pursuit of big-ticket free-agent Manny Machado?

Despite Machado’s conspicuous career evidence and his unapologetic admission that he isn’t much interested in playing winning baseball, the Yanks are chasing such a “superstar.”

In the same week in which “Joggin’ ” Robinson Cano was returned to New York by the chronically and foolishly wishful Mets, Boone, on Michael Kay’s radio show, said he’d accede to Machado’s indifference:

“There is an expectation that we have, and hopefully, as a professional, there is a certain way you go about things, and running balls out can certainly play into that. Frankly, it’s a little bit down the list as far as what I define makes a player.”

Frankly? Running 90 feet? How do you score if you don’t reach first? Boone was heard as a preemptive panderer in capitulation to illogically compromised standards.

Hal Steinbrenner should be as frank: “If we sign Machado, we’ll continue to charge a fortune for tickets to watch him trot into double plays.”

Given that modern commerce rewards pros for all the wrong reasons, perhaps Machado will land an endorsement for SleepyTime as “My cup of tea!”

The Yanks already have minimalists. Gary Sanchez and, at $325 million, Giancarlo Stanton, both disinclined to run first — until it’s too late. They’re focused on trying to hit 450-foot, two-strike home runs, before mostly whiffing.

Yet, a Ronald Torreyes — a 5-foot-7 all-purpose, on-purpose play-hard, hit-the-ball infielder in the Phil Rizzuto mold — is devalued, last season sent down, despite again hitting near .300, then sent packing.

Early last night, to give kids a better shot to watch than the World Series, MLB Network presented its latest installment of “Best Bat-Flips.” MLBN celebrates those who languish near home plate in immodest, premature self-celebration of having hit a home run — perhaps.

Bat-flips — until recently unimaginable as a matter of dignity, class and across-the-board respect — often create off-the-wall singles and retaliatory brawls. But kids love brawls, too!

Such all-about-me behavior is now promoted with Commissioner Rob Manfred’s certification and urging, as a “good” means to make kids baseball fans, even for all the wrong reasons.

Kids once didn’t have to be urged toward baseball for the right reasons. That occurred naturally, a birthright.

Francesa wants you to know how loaded he is

Sorry, but I’d ignore Mike Francesa if only he weren’t so darned special, a rare species of mocking bird. As Maynard G. Krebs said, “I’m not bad, just weak.”

A few years ago, Francesa exploited his very own mother for shameless self-aggrandizement. While interviewing the owner of the Rays — well, the owner was baited into listening to Francesa tell him how smart he is — Francesa referenced Tampa with an irrelevancy: His mother lives there.

But rather than say, “My mom lives in Tampa,” that gave him the opportunity to say, “I built my mother a home in Tampa.”

Last week, while speaking on the air with, but mostly over, Jeff Wilpon, new GM Brodie Van Wagenen and Mickey Callaway — as can be seen and heard on #backaftathis — His Majesty referenced Mets spring training in Port St. Lucie, “which,” he added, “I will visit because I have a place in Palm Beach.” Ugh.

His steady eagerness to remind all that he’s a big shot renders him laughably small.

Also last week, he told a caller that the Raiders, getting 14 is a bad idea, as they “have no chance to cover.” Of course, they covered, losing to the Chiefs by just seven.

That brings to mind another Raiders episode when, on his Sunday morning radio show, he touted them as a home favorite. A caller told him that the Raiders would have a tough time just winning the game as they’re all banged up.

Naturally, Francesa rudely dismissed the caller as a know-nothing. Naturally, the Raiders lost the game.

That night, on his Ch. 4 show, “Let’s Be Honest” reported the Raiders’ upset loss, adding that it stood to reason because they were all banged up.

‘Breaking’ news method is broken

For Fox to have sent a large, red “BREAKING NEWS” flashing across the screen during last Sunday’s Bears-Giants was unnerving. Stand by to run for our lives! The heart-stopping news? The Rams clinched the NFC West, thus the startling come-on was a shameless exploitation of the good senses.

Is Roger Goodell embarrassed that TV’s “TMZ” is the NFL’s lead detective — Ray Rice, Kareem Hunt — of women-battering players? Nah. Saves money.

After 33 years with HBO — the last 24 as an alert, creative lead producer of boxing — David Harmon wrapped it up Saturday night in California, with HBO’s final card after 45 years. In the early 1980s, Harmon’s dad, Phil, was among MSG’s Network’s pioneers.

These far-flung holiday college basketball tournaments continue to defy economic sense, as they’re often played in near-empty arenas. Dec. 1’s St. John’s-Georgia Tech “Miami Invitational” in 20,000-seat American Airlines Arena, officially reported 5,749 in the house. Thus, as seen — or not seen — on ESPNU, at least 5,000 were hiding.

Reader Rich Kelly: “I’m very concerned that Brandon Nimmo will be a bad influence on Robinson Cano and Yoenis Cespedes.”

President Trump planned to attend Saturday’s Army-Navy game. He needs a new rooting interest, as Trump University got the death penalty.

Never heard ex-linebacker and Giants radio analyst Carl Banks more worked up than Sunday. He repeatedly called Chicago’s fearsome LB Khalil Mack overrated — claiming, with some immediate cause, that the best way to neutralize him “is to go right at him, put him on his back!”

Though TV portrays third-down efficiency stats as always essential, the Titans, 1-for-11 last Sunday, beat the Jets, 26-22. Aw, forget it.

During just the third quarter of Dec. 1’s Alabama-Georgia, CBS twice cut to the stands for close-ups of young women — just in time to clearly see each mouthing “F—k!” These seemed unintentional, unlike when CBS presented multiple replays, one in slow motion, of a frustrated Tom Brady hollering the same.

Reader Steve Marcinak: “Shouldn’t Colin Kaepernick be at the Mexican border warning that caravan not to enter this racist country?”

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