Last night, the Milwaukee Brewers accomplished one of baseball's rarest and coolest feats, turning a triple play against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The play happened in the top of the second inning. With runners on first and second, James Loney sent a grounder to Milwaukee second baseman Josh Wilson. He flipped to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to get Juan Rivera at second. Betancourt then doubled up Loney at first. A quick thinking Prince Fielder then fired home to get Matt Kemp, who was trying to score all the way from second base on the play. Just your run of the mill 4-6-3-2 triple play. Here's the video of the play:
As you can clearly see, there was a lot happening there. So you might forgive Dodgers radio play by play man and former SportsCenter anchor Charley Steiner for not fully describing every element of the play... or in this case, the entire play. Here's the audio of Charley's attempted call from tipster Missak and the transcript below:
"There's a comebacker, backhanded beautifully at second base by Wilson, flips (pause) to second and THERE IS A TRIPLE PLAY! A TRIPLE PLAY!"
So, somehow, Josh Wilson recorded three outs at second base?? Unless it was Larry, Curly, and Moe running the basepaths, it seems Charley didn't exactly capture the moment for the fans that were listening. Perhaps his mind was being preoccupied while watching his back in fear of Evander Holyfield.
You'll have to forgive the psychology minor in me, but cognitive dissonance perfectly explains the feeling I get when the subject of Terrelle Pryor comes up on ESPN, especially considering Pryor's fate in terms of the NFL Supplemental Draft is about to be determined. Yes, I know, I've turned into a frequent critic of ESPN, especially when it comes to their journalistic decline in relation to their quest for world-domination. As I've argued before, the problem with ESPN is that they want you the viewer to compartmentalize and separate all of the WorldWide Leader's different tentacles.
We're supposed to compartmentalize Joe Schad's reporting on Texas A&M joining the SEC from ESPN's investment in the Longhorn Network, forgetting the fact that Schad has proven to be a fraud. We're supposed to compartmentalize ESPN cozying up to athletes at The ESPY's to their "hard-hitting" reporting on those same athletes. We're supposed to compartmentalize The Heat Index from The Decision. We're supposed to compartmentalize how ESPN covers the leagues they are in business with from the presentation of those events.
The same is true when looking at the singular case of Terrelle Pryor. On the one hand, there's Terrelle Pryor the cheating Ohio St. quarterback. On the other, there's Terrelle Pryor the reclamation story. Not even before ESPN had finished digging up dirt on Pryor, which of course was followed by his expulsion from the Ohio St. football program, ESPN sought to build Pryor back up on his quest to enter the NFL's Supplemental Draft.
Matt talked about the media's vicious cycle of building up athletes, only to tear them down, and vice versa. But, ESPN has skipped the cycle completely with Terrelle Pryor by simultaneously building him up and tearing him down. One minute, Pryor is the subject of severe rules violations, the prototypical athlete breaking or bending the NCAA's rules. Minutes later, he's laughing with Jon Gruden who's extolling THIS GUY as a great person and football player. How can Terrelle Pryor be a victim of Don Goodell's hammer of justice at the same time he's a villain for taking advantage of his fame? And yes, it is more complicated than the a student-athlete making the jump from college to the pros...
Last night, the Jets and Texans played an ESPN-televised Monday Night Football preseason game in Houston. SportsCenter immediately followed the game, starting out with two minutes of coverage about Jim Thome's 600th career home run, and the next 10 minutes about NFL preseason action. And understandably, because what's the bigger deal in the sports world: Jim Thome being the eighth player to ever reach the 600 home run club(with three of the other members in the club being alleged steroid users), or 53 combined passes between Greg McElroy and Matt Leinart in an exhibition game? Clearly, ESPN got this one right.
Well, following those intense 10 minutes of NFL preseason highlights and analysis, Stuart Scott decided to drop this bomb on us(and I hope you enjoy my crappy video camera work):
Hilarious, Stu. Had I not been nerding it up on Twitter all night and been fully aware that there was zero news on the Favre front, I would've absolutely flipped out about this.
And with that in mind, could Stu have gotten away with this five+ years ago? We used to rely on SportsCenter and whatever else on ESPN to break us the sports news. Now, if a Favre-esque story breaks, we usually know about it thanks to Twitter or other sources on the interwebs, well before we see anything about it on television.
Now Greg Jennings has decided to reenact that famous NSFW video with a literally family-friendly parody. Greg Jennings plays his virtual self, his children on his back represent the virtual Packers metaphorically on his back, and his wife represents the hardest hitting Jingleheimer Joe in the league, Darren Sharper. Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald's brother Marcus provides the uncanny, cuss-free play-by-play as that guy who always pauses games to break down the replays.
Apparently, Arena Bowl XXIV happened over the weekend. I'll pause for a minute to let us both recover from missing such a historic event.
Ok, my eyes are finally dried. But, at least we can relive the magic through highlights that captured perhaps the most dramatic finish to an indoor football championship in history. Trailing by three with only a few seconds left, Jacksonville QB Aaron Garcia connected with WR Jeron Harvey for the title-winning touchdown over Arizona as time expired. Now, I'm no Arena Football buff, but apparently this Aaron Garcia is the John Elway/Dan Marino/Peyton Manning of Arena Football.
Just take a look at the guy's Wikipedia page, he holds nearly every Arena Football League passing record. Winning his first Arena Bowl in the grandest fashion imaginable should have brought an announcing call worthy of such a historical moment, except... it didn't. In fact, play-by-play man Paul Burmeister managed to give us one of the worst, most uninspiring calls in history!
"Touchdown Jeron Harvey. Garcia to Harvey...the Jacksonville Sharks are your Arena Bowl Champions"
YAWN! The only accent Paul Burmeister even puts on the call is his best imitation of Mike Tirico's sing-songy approach to big moments (I'm not the only one who's annoyed by that, right?).
Now, granted the game-winning TD by Jacksonville did deflate the home Arizona crowd, but come on Mr. Burmeister! Show us a little bit of excitement instead of giving the most bland, generic call you could possibly announce for a game-winning touchdown to decide a champion. Heck, Burmeister's call makes Chris Myers sound like Gus Johnson. He makes Joe Buck sound like Kevin Harlan. And let's not give newbie analyst Kurt Warner a pass either. His analysis after the play is about as bland as you could be after just seeing the game-winning TD in the AFL's Championship, although he eventually does get the story of Garcia's triumph.
Let's hope one of the high-priced suits at the NFL Network actually takes note of this latest debacle of announcing at the channel. Doesn't anybody find it odd that even after almost 8 years the NFL's own network is so absolutely terrible at... TELEVISING FOOTBALL?! First there was Bryant Gumbel, then Millen and Theismann, and now Arena Bowl XXIV. Let's hope the NFL Network's new tandem of Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock don't fall under the same spell of awfulness that has followed every announcer who's step foot in an NFL Network booth. Or, on second though, let's hope they do... after all, this website has to have some material to work with this fall besides Pam Ward.
The old Baseball Tonight studio is going, going, gone. At the 10 p.m show tonight, they will debut their new "gem" of a studio that is obviously wildly extravagant. Here's some of the highlights ganked from ESPN.
approximately 5,000 square feet, the largest ESPN sport-specific studio;
19 40-inch LCD monitors and seven 70-inch LCD monitors will be used, all of which can feed separate video streams;
the anchor desk will contain three seamless monitors which can include graphics, headshots and logos;
two LED displays (8’6” x 12’6”) which can showcase standings, results and editorially-driven graphics;
an enhanced demo field including a figurative baseball diamond and a dimensional pitcher’s mound;
the new Baseball Tonight set is located in Studio A, first opened in 1995 as the home of a wide variety of ESPN studio shows including Baseball Tonight
The MLB Network studio is actually a little bit gaudier. You can read the specific details, here, but these are some of their highlights.
"The 5,600-square-foot Studio 3, the primary home for MLB Tonight, features 62 video displays. They include a 30-by-7-foot rear projection screen, a 108-inch LCD monitor from Sharp..."
Here's my personal 3 up, 3 down in regards to the new set.
- "Enhanced demo area." Few things provide unintentional comedy like analysts in full suits doing demonstrations.
- "Anchor desk will contain three seemless monitors..." Good, now all Molinas can be seen at once.
- At 7 seconds in you'll spot a bat rack for the analysts. This is completely necessary and not a waste of anyone's money or effort.
Barcelona and Real Madrid continued one of the best rivalries in the world yesterday in the first leg of the preseason Spanish SuperCup. The two teams drew 2-2, but the highlight of the day was provided by David Villa's sensational goal for Barca. Supplementing said highlight is the commentary of GOLTV's Ray Hudson. For those of you that don't know Ray Hudson, please check out this compilation. He may be the most over the top announcer on the planet. But Hudson's excitable way with words has also gathered him something of a cult following. The former Newcastle United player and MLS coach combines the vocabularial distinctiveness of Bill Walton with the enthusiasm of Gus Johnson on speed. To tell you the truth, he needs to be featured at AA a lot more. Just have a listen to the commentary on Villa's goal and follow along with the transcript below...
"AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!! What an eye for goal David Villa has! It would make the Cyclops jealous! This is an astonishing strike... Messi with the start... he threads it through, but David Villa has it all to do here."
"He curls it divinely! That is absolutely magisterial finishing from David Villa! Look at this! World class. Universally lauded as one of the greatest forwards in world football, we've just seen why. This is a chandelier diamond of a goal. A wonderful hit! And it even surprises the lads on the bench."
Personally, I love it. Who else could weave in Cyclops, magesterial, and chandelier diamond into one goal call?
I'm not going to pretend that I was following Showtime's Bantamweight Tournament closely, but Bloguin's boxing blog The Queensberry Rules has the details in case you're interested. Our interest in the tournament final between Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko actually came after the fight when the one and only Jim Gray got involved.
Evidently, Mares repeatedly hammered Agbeko with low blows (ouchie) that weren't spotted or penalized by Russell Mora. Andrew Golota would be so proud. After Mares won a decision, a rabid Jim Gray went straight for Mora, foaming at the mouth. I'll actually give Jim Gray credit for something, he's one of the ballsiest interviewers anywhere. I can't think of a reporter that would be so blunt ("this quite possibly has been one of the worst officiated fights in years") and aggressive in an interview. Not seeing the fight, I can't say Jim Gray's version of reporter justice is totally in the right here, but it sure does make for a newsworthy interview...
Too bad Jim Gray couldn't have interviewed Jim Gray in this way after The Decision and told him he was "way off." What do you think, was Jim Gray aggressively over the top or doing his job in this confrontational interview?
We're ready for another edition of the AA Fan Forum, where our readers write in and talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of their local MLB announcing teams. Not only does this feature give you another way to make your voice heard, but it also gives us a way of covering announcers that we normally wouldn't have time to address. You can check our last edition here. If you'd like to contribute in the next AA Fan Forum, this is what you need to do...
*Send e-mails to awfulannouncing @ gmail.com *Include MLB AA Fan Forum in the message subject heading *Keep your responses between 150-300 words. *Remember to keep it clean and your submissions may be edited for spelling, grammar, etc. *If your submission fits these criteria, it will be considered to be published in the AA Fan Forum.
Awesome idea! I love being able to talk about how much I love listening to Scott Frantzke and Larry Anderson of the Phillies. I'm a displaced Phillies fan; I've lived in Indiana or Ohio since 1979. I remember nights in 1980 when I would get in my car, go park it by a cornfield after dark and listen to 50,000-watt KYW as the season wound to a close. Over the years I learned how to position my GE Super Radio just the right way so I could listen to as much Phillies baseball as possible. And then came the dawn of Internet broadcasting. After that came satellite radio! I've paid for MLB radio access via the internet & XM every year they've been offered, including the app on my Droid so I can be just about anywhere (before dark!) and listen to my beloved Phils. And while I've been at it, I've listened to quite a few other teams' broadcasts, too.
The above is to illustrate that I've listened to a lot of baseball on the radio over the last 30+ years and I can tell you that I think Scott & Larry are one of the premiere duos on the radio today. It's clear they get along with one another; they converse about the game and include me, the listener, while they do so. There are plenty of facts and statistics to illustrate what's happening on the field without becoming dry or overblown. They don't take themselves or the game so seriously that they can't have fun while they're working. There are always a few laugh-out-loud moments when those two get going. Sure, they root for the Phillies, but they don't minimize the accomplishments of the other teams. Larry will rant and rave about the umpires and Scott will be the voice of reason. Scott does the play-by-play and Larry's color commentary is complementary to whatever Scott is saying.
They LISTEN to one another (unlike John Sterling who often ignores whatever Susie is saying). Scott's home run calls (That ball is GONE!) are exciting, yet the call doesn't become bigger than the home run (I'm looking at you again, Mr. Sterling). That's pretty much all I have to say about Scott & Larry. I do have to tell you I miss Ron Santo of the Cubs. His histrionics over Cubs' flubs and losses were always entertaining. RIP.