While not yet confirmed by HBO, it's looking like they threw up the white flag as they stared down a litanny of issues prohibiting production of another season of the show. No new CBA, no team signed on to do the show, and major logistical issues means football fans will be without one of the most high quality sports programs on television.
I think most football fans could stomach the loss of the HOF game but Hard Knocks? That hurts.
With labor peace on the horizon and no confirmation from HBO, I am still holding out a glimmer of hope that an NFL owner picks up the phone today and calls HBO begging to be featured. If the Bengals made the playoffs on their one season being featured, maybe other perennial losers will take heed and embrace the accountability of being in the spotlight.
First Mad Men and now Hard Knocks? You suits are killing me.
We're going to try a little something new here. While "Real Tweets From Real People" should be familiar to you, we've put it together this time using Storify, which makes it easier for us and might be a little easier for you to read. Feel free to leave feedback on the change in the comments.
Without further ado, after the jump are some real tweets from real people on Dick Stockton, Thom Brennaman, and Eric Karros, the three announcers who received the most "love" on the Twitters during today's MLB on FOX afternoon games.
A "Sweet" 16 "loss" in the Joe Morgan Memorial Tournament was not enough to deter John Sterling from continuing his proud tradition of being awful. When a Yankees fan sent lyrics that they altered from the Sammy Davis song, "Candy man," Sterling deemed it necessary to sing them during the broadcast. In my opinion, this is truly one of ThEeEeEeee worst things you'll hear an announcer do during this entire baseball season. But, that's just John Sterling being John Sterling. He even almost pulls off something that I didn't think was possible, making me dislike Curtis Granderson. If you aren't a Yankees fan, and for whatever reason you subject yourself to one of his broadcasts I can almost guarantee there will be a moment during the game when you debate if stabbing yourself in the brain with a q-tip would be a better use of your time. The Yankees end up winning an instant classic, 17-7 over the A's. In my opinion, the A's weren't the biggest losers of the night. Instead, we were the biggest losers, we were.
You might remember Detroit Tigers analyst Rod Allen best for plowing a catcher in Japan (which was the prequel to his famous mound charge). Well, during last night's Tigers/Twins game, he made a comment that did not sit well with Yahoo!'s Dave Brown. Before we really dig in, have a listen to the comment here:
Detroit Tigers broadcaster Rod Allen made an unfunny and inappropriate attempt at a joke about Latinos during FOX Sports Detroit's telecast Thursday night.
Allen, a color analyst since 2003, said the postgame meal in the Tigers clubhouse at Target Field should include rice and beans, because most of the team's lineup against the Twins had Latino heritage.
You see, the Latinos just love them some rice and beans, as the stereotype goes.
Would Allen, who is African-American, make a joke about a Tigers lineup that was mostly black requiring something stereotypical to eat? Would he stoop to make a watermelon joke? Maybe he would. Maybe he has. But that wouldn't make it right, or funny.
Brown continues, making it very clear that Allen's comment was unfunny and ignorant, but he should know that Allen actually induced a very sincere and familiar laugh from his padnuh Mario Impemba (it was not at all "nervous-sounding"). If the overly sensitive types are going to destroy Allen for his admittedly bad joke, you can't let those who laugh at it off the hook! After all, those are the people who enable 'jokes' like these. If Rod Allen didn't think it would've produced a laugh, especially from his padnuh, who he's interacting with every night, he probably wouldn't have said it at all. But I think it really boils down to people being a little too sensitive (I mean, Wikipedia says it's a popular Latino dish, it must be!)
Having said that, if Fuzzy Zoeller's remarks about Tiger Woods or Bob Griese's "he was out having a taco" comment about Juan Pablo Montoya taught us anything, it's that announcers should probably stay away from the cultural food stereotype jokes. Even though Woods and Montoya didn't care, both Zoeller and Griese were eaten alive by the media, ultimately leading to Zoeller losing endorsements and Griese being suspended for a week.
The only thing I really agree with Brown about is that there doesn't need to be any formal punishment for Allen, just a quick word with the brass that this type of comment isn't received well by everyone, so he might as well leave it off the menu.
UPDATE: Allen sheepishly brought up his comment during tonight's broadcast. As one could've suspected or looked into before going off on the man, it had to do with him knowing that the Latino players in the Tigers lineup enjoy eating -- yup, you guessed it -- Latino food. Carry on.
Former Expos and current Marlins announcer Dave Van Horne will be this year's recipient of the Ford C. Frick award given out by the Baseball Hall of Fame. The award honors the best broadcasters in baseball and past winners include Bob Uecker, Harry Kalas, Vin Scully, and Ernie Harwell. As part of the celebration of Van Horne receiving the prestigious honor, the Marlins flagship radio station (790 The Ticket in Miami) put together a collection of fellow honorees taping congratulatory messages for Dave Van Horne. One of them happened to be last year's Ford C. Frick award winner, Jon Miller. Miller of course was unsanctimoniously dumped as the play by play man of Sunday Night Baseball by ESPN last year. At least he didn't let his bitterness towards ESPN dominate his message for Van Horne. Because, you know, that would just be petty. As you can tell from the veiled bitterness and ironic well-wishes in the clip below, Jon hasn't quite let his ESPN firing go just yet...
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...
It's Friday, so why not go deep into the AA history books and pull out some Create the Caption fun! This creepy picture coming from SportsGrid is perfect for you aspiring caption creators to run wild. NFLPA head man DeMaurice Smith sneaks up on ESPN's Chris Mortensen and George Smith during an NFL lockout report. There's video that goes along with this image at the link and the screenshot below only lasts for a couple seconds. My only wish was he would have held this pose longer. Hopefully for Smith, he uses that face in negotiations with Goodell. With all of the labor unrest and a possible resolution coming soon, can you create a caption for this picture?
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]
It's time for our last matchup in the Joe Morgan Memorial Elite 8. Already, one of Monday's semifinals is set with Chris Berman facing Craig James. The winner of our final Elite 8 matchup today will face the gross Colin Cowherd in our other semifinal. Who will it be? Will it be sports broadcasting's chosen one that has faced the ire of fans for his moribund play by play... or the sleazy reporter that still wants to take credit for The Decision. Your decision is a tough one, Joe or Jim, who deserves to be on AA's Mount Rushmore the most?
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 1 Result: Defeated Chris Rose 72.53% - 27.47% 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.
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.