H/T 790 The Ticket and the Jorge Sedano Show.
H/T 790 The Ticket and the Jorge Sedano Show.
The dog days of summer are indeed brutal, except for people who follow baseball religiously like Old Hoss Radbourn. Between endless episodes of Baseball Tonight and soccer friendlies, there isn't much going on in terms of sports on TV. However, one of the events ESPN has made a trademark of their summer television is the World Series of Poker. And while the poker boom has been well and truly over for a few years, this summer ESPN made a bold decision to double down (wait, isn't that blackjack?) on more poker than just their normal taped shows.
Throughout the main event, ESPN has shown several hours of live poker coverage, WITHOUT the use of hole card cameras. Wait, no hole card cameras? Isn't that the innovation that started the poker boom with the 2003 WSOP Main Event and the World Poker Tour? With that single innovation, poker went from the television outhouse to ratings royalty because we knew what hands were being played. Just take a look at this archaic clip from the 1998 final table featuring a boyish Vince Van Patten to see what the dark ages of televised poker looked like...
Wow, that was painful to watch. Why would ESPN want to go back to poker coverage like this drudgery? Actually, ESPN's gamble, although received with mixed reviews by most, was a risk worth taking. For one, ESPN dressed up the live coverage with their usual bells and whistles. But, ESPN also made the wise decisions to use seasoned poker pros like Phil Hellmuth and Antonio Esfandiari to provide expert commentary. The analysis from Hellmuth and Esfandiari, although almost impossible to be accurate, took viewers inside the heads of the players during hands. It was truly a learning experience for anyone interested in the game of poker, not just seeing the predictable taped all-ins and bad beats after already knowing the cards in play...
Florio tries to make sense of the NFL lockout drama that unfolded yesterday. [PFT]
Mike Emrick is stepping down from his long time job as New Jersey Devils pbp man to work at NBC/VS full time [NY Times]
A dirty job for Allen Iverson on every NBA team [Crossover Chronicles]
Somehow Tommy Craggs got his hand on ESPN's standards and practices manual. The highlights and commentary are awesome as expected. [Deadspin]
Cabbage Patch curmudgeon Dan Shaughnessy still doesn't get your Twittering [Boston Globe]
Steve Williams feels betrayed by Tiger Woods firing him. Let's hope this means a tell-all book is coming. [SI Golf]
All is still quiet on Bruce Feldman's Twitter page. [Twitter]
Joe Buck vs Jim Gray
Fact File: Fox's #1 play by play man for NFL and MLB. Has announced several World Series and Super Bowls.
Why He's Here: Joe Buck has quickly risen to the top of the most disliked sports announcers. His dry, monotone style doesn't quite fit in with an age where Gus Johnson and Kevin Harlan are two of the more popular sports announcers in the business. Beyond that though, Joe Buck has a certain air of smugness towards his announcing duties, even admitting in the past that he isn't that big of a sports fan. His attempted and failed late night career told sports fans that he had bigger and better things to do than announce the biggest games in sports.
Round 2 Result: Defeated Deion Sanders 55.21% - 44.79%
Fact File: Reporter and interviewer for ESPN...or the highest bidder
Why He's Here: Two words - The Decision. Jim Gray's involvement in The Decision led to plenty of jealousy from fellow sports media personalities and plenty of fury from sports fans. At least his pointless stalling in that interview wasn't as contentious as his infamous interview with Pete Rose. But, there's also many other examples of Jim Gray's sterling career.
Round 2 Result: Defeated Thom Brennaman 77.89% - 22.11%
Joe Buck defeated Jim Gray 56.34% - 45.66%
It's been a few days since the Women's World Cup wrapped up and the USA Women's Soccer team lost an epic final to Japan on penalty kicks. At the start of the tournament, women's soccer was an afterthought. But, through the game of the year (USA/Brazil) and the play of stars like Abby Wambach and Hope Solo, the USA women's team became the breakthrough phenomenon of the Summer. Even in spite of not lifting the trophy, the team has been celebrated since its return stateside. Solo and Wambach appeared on Letterman, Hope Solo is on the cover of SI this week, over 15,000 fans showed up in Rochester to see Abby Wambach sit on a bench, and Solo and Alex Morgan were at the Entourage premiere for some reason. Hopefully the frenzy over the actual play of the USA team is a bit of a turning point for women's soccer and women's pro sports in this country. The Final against Japan even had more viewers than the MLB All-Star Game believe it or not. It's a testament to the story of the team and also the great job that ESPN once again did in televising a World Cup with top pros like Bob Ley and Ian Darke running the coverage.
You just knew that part of the post-World Cup delirium would be players running through the infamous ESPN Car Wash for a more intense publicity tour. I hesitate to show the following video from earlier this week because it's for a certain afternoon show on ESPN2 featuring a certain blowhard radio host, but it's a nice little video nonetheless. Watch as Hope Solo and Alex Morgan can't quite get synced together on what show they're appearing on. I can't blame Hope for wanting to be on SportsCenter instead of SportsNation though. It's much easier to play world class soccer than walk and cut a promo at the same time I suppose...
Doug Glanville was selected in the first round of the 1991 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs, and played nine seasons (1996-2004) with the Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, and Texas Rangers. He put together a fine career and was particularly impressive in 1999 for the Phillies, when he was second in the National League in hits (204) and batted .325. He was also a very good outfielder and totaled double-digit outfield assists in three different seasons of his career.
With all of that in mind, it was quite surprising to see him airmail this ceremonial first pitch yesterday before a Cubs-Phillies (fittingly) game at Wrigley Field:
And the reason I put the video on AA is because Glanville currently serves as a baseball analyst for ESPN. He's actually my favorite baseball analyst on ESPN these days as he's very baseball smart, well-spoken, and intelligent, which is no surprise considering his Ivy League educational background at the University of Pennsylvania. It's also then no surprise that he recently published a book titled The Game From Where I Stand, and I highly recommend it for any baseball fan. It's an absolutely terrific read.
"Just swim for those balls" was enough for Comcast SportsNet's Chick Hernandez to have his own Charley Steiner moment recently on a broadcast. It might seem easy to criticize Hernandez for apparently still having the sense of humor of an 8-year-old, but this is an issue where I can totally sympathize with him. Personally, I still laugh every time I see a commercial for an IBM computer and I hope that when the world ends ICBM missiles are there to end it all giving us one more good laugh. I completely agree with Louie C.K. that farts are just about the funniest thing imaginable (go here for the full breakdown, start at 2:15, but then just watch the whole thing because it's Louie C.K.). Hernandez stumbles through the story finally just succumbing to his own laughter before a not amused Julie Donaldson takes over.
It's ok Chick, the word "balls" was said. We all heard it. While we are here, do you have any interest in joining the Pen 15 club? Look at this cool video I found on youtube. And, are you PT?
Colin Cowherd vs Skip Bayless
Fact File: Host of ESPN Radio's The Herd and co-host of SportsNation on ESPN2
Why He's Here: When polled last month, nearly 85% of respondents said that ESPN should end its relationship with Colin Cowherd. His stereotyping and pontificating are legendary for all the wrong reasons. Very few in the sports media get away with offensive and flat out wrong statements like Cowherd has the ability to do. Cowherd likes to pander to intellectual elites and openly mock large portions of his audience. Thankfully, CBS passed on a sitcom pilot based on the life of Cowherd.
Cowherd Shuts Down The Big Lead Just To Be A Douche
Cowherd's Ignorant and Insensitive Take On Sean Taylor's Death
Cowherd's Race Bating Includes Ridiculous Comments Towards John Wall
Cowherd Tells The Unemployed It's Your Own Fault
Round 1 Result: Defeated Bobby Valentine 88.47% - 11.53%
Round 2 Result: Defeated Joe Theismann 61.71% - 38.29%
Fact File: "Star" of ESPN's First Take and 1st & 10
Why He's Here: The former antagonizing columnist transformed into an antagonizing TV personality with his transition to first Cold Pizza and then First Take on ESPN2. Bayless traditionally squares off against a debate partner in segments that contain enough hot air to lift the Hindenburg. Often, Bayless will say outlandish things just for the sake of saying outlandish things. Thankfully, most people have stopped listening.
Skip Bayless And Chris Broussard Have Exchange For The Ages
Nelly: Why rappers want to kick Skip Bayless' butt on ESPN
The Best (Worst) Of Skip Bayless - 2006
Round 1 Result: Defeated Woody Paige 77.91% - 22.09%
Round 2 Result: Defeated John Sterling 64.14% - 35.86%
Results: Colin Cowherd defeated Skip Bayless 65.43% - 34.57%
Feel the excitement AA, because we are officially one step closer to the Pammies! Today, ESPN released their college football announcing assignments for the upcoming season. Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit are back as the A team on ABC Saturday Night Football along with Erin Andrews. Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge stay put on ESPN's primetime game. Below are all the announcer pairings for ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU and then some thoughts on the pairings and the changes after the jump.
***Update: Evidently ESPN made a slight boo-boo with the initial announcement. The one and only Pam Ward won't be working with Danny Kanell. Kanell will team with Rob Stone while Matt Stinchcomb gets a nice parting gift on his way back to the ESPNU studio. Instead, Pam will be joined by former Colorado coach Dan Hawkins. A-ma-zing. Just imagine the possibilities with Hawkins' slightly imbalanced yet brilliant mind. Who can forget this?
Just once let me hear the words, "IT'S DIVISION ONE FOOTBALL, PAM!!"
When exactly did ESPN lose its journalistic integrity? It's a difficult question to answer, but one that certainly needs to be asked in light of the Bruce Feldman fiasco. Granted, trying to sort through the answer to this question is an exercise more suited for an educated journalism professor or the Poynter Institute instead of a sports fan who's a grad student in chemistry. Although, I will spare you ten minutes reading Poynter's response to the situation by summing it up in one word... weak. Our own Ben Koo took down Poynter's lame response in grand style yesterday.
In fact, any critique of ESPN, either by bloggers or their own ombudsman, may be entirely fruitless. Attempting any criticism of ESPN at this point is like attacking a battleship with a BB Gun. Quite simply, ESPN is a monopoly sports fans can't live without. Many are of the mindset that we as fans should just accept ESPN's faults and learn to live with them, no matter how glaring they grow by the day.
But, stop to consider what we've been through the last several days. Even though the #FreeBruce revolution on Twitter will quickly be forgotten, ESPN sat (we can play semantics all we want) a man with supreme journalistic integrity for merely doing a job he'd already been approved to do. So why the "enforced period of inactivity?" Apparently because writer Bruce Feldman helped confirm the worst fears about fellow ESPNer Craig James and shed light on the shady practices of supposed straight news reporter Joe Schad. As if the "suspension" alone weren't bad enough though, ESPN's lame PR statement failed to hide their mistakes throughout the Mike Leach story.
Apparently, ESPN and Poynter would like all of us to get caught up in the semantics of the word suspension and feel guilty for being bad bloggers by spreading mean, nasty rumors. And while no amount of blog posts, boycotts, and hashtags will make a sizable dent in what's left of the mothership's appearance of integrity, we as sports fans have a right to examine the credibility gap now present at ESPN. Ask yourself, how long will it take to fully believe ESPN again when it reports the news? How long should your skepticism last? If the lessons of #FreeBruce aren't forgotten within our ADHD 24-hour news cycle, the credibility gap between ESPN and its viewers should be permanently at the forefront of fans' minds...