The Chicago Cubs may end up leaving their flagship TV station WGN after the 2014 season reports the Chicago Tribune. The Cubs have been on WGN since 1948, becoming popular across the nation (much like the Atlanta Braves around the same time period) due to their flagship network's status as a superstation broadcasting nationally.
But much like the Braves leaving TBS in the mid-00s, all good things must come to an end. Thanks to the increased money involved with local cable outlets and soaring broadcast rights, including the incredible cash windfall the Dodgers are receiving in their new agreement, teams are chasing huge television dollars .
Presidents Day isn't really one of those widely recognized holidays. It doesn't quite have the tradition or importance of Christmas Day or Thanksgiving Day, it doesn't have the celebratory aspect of New Year's Day or July 4th, and it sure doesn't have the ginned up commercialization of Valentine's Day. But that won't stop ESPNU from going all out in commemorating one of our most forgotten holidays! Just have a look at how ESPNU's Adam Amin and LaPhonso Ellis dressed for tonight's Rutgers-Villanova game... as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Amin jokingly called it the end of his career on his Twitter page... at least I hope he was joking. It can't be easy to call a game in a powdered wig.
Furthermore, bracketologist Joe Lunardi was working the game... but he appears to be dressed like Ben Franklin, who of course wasn't a president at all. Is nobody in the costume and makeup department at ESPN aware of their American history? Or were they trying to hire a stripper instead and Lunardi was there by mistake?
Next I'm hoping Amin and Lunardi bust into the score of the 1776 musical since they're already dressed for the part.
During Monday's Flyers-Islanders game at Nassau Coliseum, MSG announcer Howie Rose called the Phillie Phanatic a "washed-up, overrated hack" as the camera showed Mr. Met hugging a fan during the first intermission. Rose also mentioned that Mr. Met was "America's favorite mascot according to a national poll", leading to his slander of the Phanatic.
Now, I'm assuming Rose is referring to this article exploring the Davie-Brown Index where Mr. Met was named the top mascot in sports. The problem is, that poll was from nearly a year ago. with the results being published at the end of last April. A lot has happened in the ten months since, and it'll be interesting to see if Mr Met retains his title going into the 2013 MLB season.
I also like how the Islanders announcer was trying to throw some kindling on the fire of a rivalry between them and the Flyers. (Of course, Rose is also the announcer for the Mets and wouldn't mind throwing a needle towards the rival Phillies.) The Islanders haven't escaped the basement of the Atlantic division since the 2006-2007 season, while the Flyers have made the playoffs every year since that since. But Philadelphia's win today actually pulled them two points ahead of the Islanders for last place in the division, so maybe a rivalry of mediocrity can take off over the rest of the season.
The NBA All-Star Game last night drew a 5.9 overnight, up 9% from last year. The game itself came under a lot of scrutiny for sloppy play and all-around apathy from the players, but fans still tuned in. The same criticisms have been levied at the All-Star Games in other sports, especially the Pro Bowl. But years ago, everyone loved their sport's All-Star Game. The players played hard. They played to win. It seemed like an *event* as opposed to just another random event in the middle of the season. Things have apparently changed in recent years, but just *how* much have they changed? Have viewers stopped tuning in to each of the four major sports' All-Star Games? Let's find out...
Saturday night brought the annual return of one of my favorite themes in the sports calendar - the impending death of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. It's really quite the phenomenon. Like clockwork, almost every All Star Saturday Night brings the call to finally put an end to an event that saw its prime a full generation ago. The NBA must really think the combination of no-name players, over-the-top gimmicks, and bricked dunks is supposed to equal the excitement of Jordan vs 'Nique, Dr. J, and Vince Carter because it's been the same tired formula for several years now. The 2013 version quickly threw its hat into the ring for that prestigious mantle of "Worst Dunk Contest EVER" on an evening when the dunk conversion rate plummeted to a shocking 30%.
But like the zombies that have populated popular culture, the Slam Dunk Contest keeps coming back for more and year after year we search for a way to kill it off once and for all. Sure there are some fleeting exceptions when Blake Griffin wows people by jumping over a Kia, but he might as well have jumped over a shark, too. *rimshot*
This year's "the dunk contest is dead" narrative is nothing new. We've been searching for ways to pull the plug for the last decade...
The best news to come from Bristol in a long time is the triumphant return of their brightest game show star, Howie Schwab. The Schwab is making a comeback as part of ESPNU's late night television show, UNITE, where he'll quiz three contestants each Wednesday beginning February 20th for a college sports trivia tournament.
Kevin Garnett and TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager have a bit of a history, especially when it comes to Garnett's critiques of Sager's threads. At All Star Weekend 2013, Garnett continued to try to save Sager from himself and his one-of-a-kind wardrobe. Sager's suits did bring some good this weekend as Garnett and Carmelo Anthony buried the hatchet and bonded over making fun of his turquoise outfit on NBA TV.
Additionally, Sager wore this Sunday night at the actual All Star Game (he's the guy on the left in the photo in case you couldn't tell), which Garnett called a "Christmas ornament" during an interview on the bench.
If only Don Cherry had someone like Kevin Garnett in his life...
During the 4th quarter of last night's All Star Game, TNT analyst Reggie Miller referenced insights from Michael Jordan (I think he was celebrating a birthday this week or something) about LeBron James' game. Miller credited an article by Timothy Rapp on "The Bleacher Report." While that'd be an incredible scoop for a Bleacher Report writer to get an exclusive interview with Michael Jordan... it's sorta kinda definitely not true. The material Miller referenced was correctly quoted by the b/r author, but actually came from Wright Thompson's fantastic ESPN article that gained those rare insights from Jordan.
Hearing one of TNT's lead NBA analysts incorrectly credit "The Bleacher Report" for an ESPN exclusive is one of the great twists of fate in the history of journalism...
I have to admit, I haven't watched Saturday Night Live consistently since the glory days of Will Ferrell as George W. Bush and Al Gore's lockbox, but if SNL keeps bringing back Jay Pharoah as Stephen A. Smith I may have to change that. Quite frankly, I would much rather watch two hours of Jay Pharoah impersonating Stephen A. Smith than I would the man himself, whether it be SNL, Fisrt Take, or anything in between. This weekend, Pharoah's Smith appeared once again on Weekend Update and talked about what else - the Los Angeles Lakers. (This parody is so in tune with what ESPN seriously talks about it's almost spooky!)
The segment is so absurdly over the top, Pharoah almost loses it at the very end. One of these days it'd be ncie if an ESPN analyst broke character and just laughed when talking endlessly about the crappy Lakers.