TV Timeout: “The Newsroom” Riffs On Sports

HBO's "The Newsroom" this week featured a sports-centered exchange between Jeff Daniels' Will McAvoy character and Emily Mortimer's MacKenzie McHale character, who is British. McAvoy was watching a UCLA-Cal football game, when McHale said, "You'll watch anything, won't you?"

McHale: "Why are there two clocks?"
McAvoy: "One's the game clock and one's the play clock. The game clock is showing how much time is left in the quarter. The play clock shows how much time is left to get off the play."
McHale: "You only have a certain amount of time to complete the play?"
McAvoy: "They only have a certain amount of time to start the play."
McHale: "Don't have that rule in soccer."
McAvoy: "They don't have any rules in soccer. That's why you think a game that ends in a zero-zero tie is --"
McHale: "It's called nil-nil. … Do any other sports have enforced pacing? Does baseball?"
McAvoy: "No, pitchers commonly go for a sandwich between pitches. Golf, you can be penalized for slow play. Hockey, you can hang onto the puck for as long as you want, but before too long, a guy named Lars is going to hurt you. Basketball has a shot clock. You've got 24 seconds to put up a shot, or in college it's 35. Tennis, you can lose a point for slow play."
Before leaving the room, McHale looks at the TV and says enthusiastically, "Go, Bruins. Beat the Golden Bears. Beat them as hard as you can. Beat them with impunity."
McAvoy: "You have no idea what you're saying."
McHale: "I know."

The subtext of the discussion of pace-of-play was that the show's fictional ACN news operation may have rushed a story to press without completing due diligence on the facts.
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