On Tuesday, HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel returns, and two of the segments feature people breaking through barriers in sports: the UFC's Ronda Rousey and former Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas.
Rousey will main event Saturday's UFC pay-per-view as part of the first women's fight in UFC history. Rousey, who was named the UFC women's bantamweight champion in November, will defend her title against Liz Carmouche, the first openly gay fighter in the UFC. Saturday's main event is historic on multiple fronts, and the feature exploring Rousey's story is powerful. Starting with her nearly dying as a baby and not speaking until she became six years old, and then retreating back into her shell when her father committed suicide at age eight. After her father's death, Rousey took up judo, which started her path towards MMA stardom.
I watch more than my fair share of international sports. Darts, Aussie Rules Football, rugby, even some cricket here and there. I never did get into snooker. So I wish I could tell you something about this video aside from the obvious fact that the viral Harlem Shake dance craze has made it all the way to the UK and one of the most bizarre places imaginable - a snooker tournament on the BBC. But sadly, I can't. Maybe it's for the best this clip remains shrouded in mystery. At least snooker seems like it's pulling out all the stops to reach that coveted 18-34 demo.
It's been a rough year for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. The English giants are on track for their eighth straight trophyless season after winning two EPL titles and three FA Cups in the early 2000s. Wenger infamously sold star striker Robin Van Persie to rivals Manchester United before the season, basically handing them the league title. After getting knocked out of the FA Cup this weekend by former Premier Leaguers Blackburn, their last chance at a title this year is in the Champions League, where they face German Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.
Wenger has managed Arsenal for 17 seasons, but his seat is most certainly getting warm. With the pressure mounting on the Arsenal manager, Wenger snapped at journalists during a press conference this week, even asking one why he was looking at him at his own press conference. He then asked for only questions about the Bayern Munich game, then refused to answer a question about Bayern Munich.
One of the most disappointing tenures in announcing history is reportedly set to end with a whimper. Jason McIntyre at TBL has multiple sources inside ESPN that say the network will not renew Bob Knight's contract at the end of the college basketball season.
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.