I'm shocked that Berman can carry a decent tune, what with his deep, rumbling, stumbling voice. At least it's better publicity than those other Youtube videos of his. But hey, good for him for having a shred of musical talent. As an added bonus while he was at the Travelers, Berman stayed far away from the broadcast booth.
H/T The Big Lead
Thom Brennaman vs Jon Gruden
Fact File: Play by play man for NFL and MLB on Fox, Big Ten Network football, and the Cincinnati Reds
Why He's Here: Brennaman's national rep has never quite recovered from his creepy obsessive man crush on Tim Tebow during the 2009 National Championship Game. His run at the top of college football lasted a short time (although Fox didn't exactly put him in a position to succeed with those 9,000 band shots).
Links:Thom Loves Tim Tebow
Thom Brennaman Narrates D-Day
Bad Reviews For Fox College Football
Brennaman Doesn't Quite Get Viral Marketing
Fact File: ESPN Monday Night Football analyst and host of Gruden's QB Camp
Why He's Here: The field in this tournament loves to see THIS GUY amongst the contenders. Whether he's trying to play it safe for a future job, or he's just the most positive man on the planet, Jon Gruden loves everybody. Gruden's love for QB's would be a bit more tolerable if he didn't love Terrelle Pryor with the same violent love as he did Drew Brees. And somehow he turned "this guy" into a go-to catchphrase.
Thom Brennaman d. Jon Gruden 58.32% - 41.68%
Skip Bayless 77.91% defeated Woody Paige 22.09%
Rick Reilly 58.7% defeated Hawk Harrelson 41.3%
Who will join those two in the last 16? There's still plenty of great battles in the first round to come, including two more today. Up first is a duel between hockey and football, local and national, play by play and analyst. The maniacal genius of the microphone, Boston Bruins play by play man Jack Edwards, squares off with the swollen sideline specialist, Tony Siragusa. Whose unique brand of announcing is more awful though, Jack's crazy homerism or Siragusa's... wait, what does he do exactly on a broadcast...
Jack Edwards vs Tony Siragusa
Fact File: Boston Bruins play by play man
Why He's Here: Edwards reached a new realm of internet fame after leaving ESPN to become play by play man for the Boston Bruins. His unique brand of homerism shaped with just a tinge of mental instability leaves viewers either entertained, bemused, or fearing for their own safety. Edwards can rant, scream, laugh maniacally at opposing players, or give an American history lesson with the same level of panache and insanity.
Fact File: NFL on Fox sideline reporter and analyst
Why He's Here: Siragusa has been one of the pioneers of the field level analyst. Hockey has gone to an analyst/reporter inside the glass, but Siragusa's role in Fox's coverage is basically the same thing. The idea in theory isn't bad, but in practice it usually disappoints. Siragusa is much more useful telling bad jokes, talking about food, or wasting time rather than providing anything of substance.... like analysis.
Links:Tony Siragusa Is Serious About Honey
#5 Worst Announcer Of The Year
Irritating Habits Of NFL Announcers
Tony Siragusa d. Jack Edwards 71.55% - 28.45%
NFL Pundits are becoming more confident that the owners and the players are working out their differences and heading towards an agreement. Ultimately the game has never been healthier, so it seems like both sides are motivated to keep the momentum going and potentially even make inroads with the NBA diehards who may be without a sport to follow this winter.
So if training camp is really going to be starting in less than a month it's a bit worrisome that HBO hasn't been able to finalize a deal with a team for a 2011 season of Hard Knocks. There hasn't even been any rumblings of late on that front which has me worried given my affinity for the show.
In previous years, HBO has made the announcement of which team they'll feature for the upcoming season anytime from March to late May. While it's not certain if and when training camp will begin, HBO has been pursuing a new featured team for months. Per various reports HBO has been turned down by the Broncos, Lions, and Bucs. Most of those reports came in that March-May time frame.
The Carolina Panthers were the last rumored team to be in play to appear on the show with Cam Newton taking a starring role. Those rumors were debunked shortly after and it's been eerily silent since.
PFT, SBJ, ESPN, or any other media outlets who have covered HBO's Hard Knocks in the past have been silent on the subject.
There are some reports from earlier in the year that the Cowboys and maybe even Jets would do it again and that the Seahawks and 49ers would be candidates, but most of those reports were flimsy at best and mostly conjecture.
Given there are a lot of contractual, logistical, and production issues in play in securing all access to training camp, I'd imagine we're fast approaching a deadline to get a deal done if the show is actually going to cover the beginning of training camp. If the NFL announces a deal in the next 10 days and HBO remains quiet on the future of Hard Knocks in the 72 hours after a new CBA is announced, I'd be very pessimistic of a new season airing.
So what's really going on behind the scenes? Given HBO seems to have some former teams interested, I'd imagine there are a handful of scenarios that are playing out...
Just a couple of weeks ago, we informed you how the New York Knicks hired Spero Dedes to be their new radio play-by-play man (and television play-by-play man when Mike Breen has to call games for ABC or ESPN). Well, Dedes is already making news in New York, but not for the right reasons.
Early Sunday night in Southampton, Dedes was charged with DWI:
Spero Dedes, 32, of East Elmhurst, Queens, was stopped by Southampton Town police Sunday at 4:12 a.m. on the corner of Tuckahoe Road and Country Road 39 for speeding, according to the arrest report. Police said they then found that Dedes, driving a 2006 BMW, was intoxicated and charged him with DWI.
Source: Southampton Patch
So, the Knicks might be rethinking their decision to hire Dedes, and the Los Angeles Lakers surely feel a little bit better about him rejecting their television play-by-play offer, after he had served as the team's radio play-by-play man from 2005-2011.
Dedes replaced Mike Crispino as the Knicks' play-by-play announcer, but Knicks' fans will certainly view it more as him replacing the extremely popular Gus Johnson, who held the job from 1997 until Crispino took over in October of 2010. So, effectively replacing Gus was going to be tough enough for Dedes, and getting a DWI before even calling a game isn't exactly the way to win the Knicks' fans over.
Dedes also does some play-by-play for NFL and NCAA Tournament games on CBS.
Cincinnati Reds @ St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN 8PM) TBA
San Diego Padres @ San Francisco Giants (MLBN 10PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Detroit @ LA Angels]
Wednesday July 6
Chicago White Sox @ Kansas City Royals (WGNA 1PM) Ken Harrelson, Steve Stone
New York Yankees @ Cleveland Indians (ESPN 7PM) Dave O'Brien, Nomar Garciaparra
Thursday July 7
Colorado Rockies @ Atlanta Braves (MLBN 1PM) Local Broadcast - No Blackout
Chicago Cubs @ Washington Nationals (WGNA 7PM) Len Kasper, Bob Brenly
Tampa Bay Rays @ New York Yankees (MLBN 7PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Baltimore @ Boston]
Friday July 8
New York Mets @ San Francisco Giants (MLBN 10PM) Bob Costas, Al Michaels [Alt: Seattle @ LA Angels]
Saturday July 9
San Diego Padres @ Los Angeles Dodgers (FOX 4PM) Joe Buck, Time McCarver
Atlanta Braves @ Philadelphia Phillies (FOX 4PM) Kenny Albert, Eric Karros
Minnesota Twins @ Chicago White Sox (FOX 4PM) Dick Stockton, Mark Grace
Chicago Cubs @ Pittsburgh Pirates (WGNA 7PM) Len Kasper, Bob Brenly
Cincinnati Reds @ Milwaukee Brewers (MLBN 7PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Baltimore @ Boston]
Sunday July 10
Atlanta Braves @ Philadelphia Phillies (TBS 1:30PM) Ernie Johnson, John Smoltz
Chicago Cubs @ Pittsburgh Pirates (WGNA 1:30PM) Len Kasper, Bob Brenly
New York Mets @ San Francisco Giants (ESPN 8PM) Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, Bobby Valentine
Rick Reilly vs Hawk Harrelson
Fact File: ESPN reporter, essayist, and columnist
Why He's Here: Reilly isn't primarily a TV guy, but appears enough on the family of networks to make the cut. Whether it's Homecoming, analysis on golf or other sports, or just pointless segments... Rick Reilly usually leads one to reach quickly for their remote. In addition, Reilly has been caught mailing in columns and dismissing bloggers and new media. Does anyone in sports do less for their millions of dollars? Bobby Bonilla not withstanding...
Rick Reilly on Rory McIlroy
Surprise! Rick Reilly Takes Down Bloggers In Journalism Speech
Reilly Column On Jimmer Fredette
Rick Reilly Takes A Page From His Own Book
Fact File: Play by play man of the Chicago White Sox
Why He's Here: Hawk Harrelson was originally on AA's Mount Rushmore before being removed in favor of Pam Ward. As a rare local announcer on the list, Hawk Harrelson deserves to be in this crowd because of his over-the-top, unabashed homerism. Often noted for yelling instructions and encouragements (Get up! Stretch!) during the broadcast, he's more of a cheerleader than an announcer.
Hawk Harrelson Will Not Be Downloading "Country" Joe West's Album On Itunes
Hawk Harrelson Goes Silent For Toronto Walk-Off
Hawk Harrelson's Buerhle Call
Rick Reilly d. Hawk Harrelson 58.7% - 41.3%
Woody Paige vs Skip Bayless
Fact File: Around the Horn personality, Denver Post columnist
Why He's Here: Paige's buffoonery has somehow lasted on Around the Horn for nine years and over 1600 appearances. He's outlasted Max Kellerman and former print and television rival Jay Mariotti on the show. Woody seems to take pride in his lack of sports knowledge and class clown role. Paige has also been under fire recently for plagiarism allegations from Sports by Brooks.
Is Woody Paige A Habitual Plagiarizer?
Watch Woody Paige Creepily Mix Up His Words
Woody Paige Calls Out Tony Reali For Some Reason
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
Skip Bayless d. Woody Paige 77.91% - 22.09%
Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon might as well be calling this thing, but in reality, former Indy 500 play by play man Paul Page and MLE President Rich Shea provide the farcical commentary. Shea in particular is so laughably overdramatic that I'm convinced he's a master promoter well aware of what he's doing. After all, he has Major League Eating involved in a worldwide news story and his top event is broadcasted nationally on ESPN. Below the best and most insane quotes from the day. In case you missed it and you want to see it, you can watch the 10 minutes of eating here. What a country.
Champ Joey Chestnut before the event - "I feel great, I'm hungry, I'm happy, it's the 4th of July and I'm gonna do whatever it takes to win."
Runner up Pat Bertoletti - "I started eating competitively because I was talentless in all other realms of competition."
Play by play man Paul Page - "Now let's check in with sport science John Benkus*..."
*It's Brenkus, but who cares.
MC George Shea - "Are you ready to ride the tornado and make love to the dragon?"*
*What happens if I say yes?
Shea introducing Bertoletti - "American by birth, Italian by name, and Irish by the grace of God, let me hear it for the man from Chicago, Patrick Bertoletti!"
Shea introducing Tim "Eater X" Janus - "Now, he travels the worldwide eating circuit seeking clues to his former life... he remains a man of mystery even to himself."*
Shea introducing Chestnut* - "As a boy, he had a dream so big he couldn't reveal it, and so he kept it hidden in his mind like a treasure, it was only when he became a grown man, a man of character and humility, that he could pursue his goal to be champion of the world. To do so he would have to beat a man some said was unbeatbale, but he beat him, and then he beat him again and again and again. AND NOW HE IS THE UNDISPUTED GREATEST EATER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!!!! And now he is the undisputed greatest eater in the history of the world. The asparagus and waffle and Pizza Hut P'Zone and Krystal hamburger and NATHAN'S FAMOUS CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!!! Ranked #1 in the world, his DNA is a blueprint for a modern version of an archangel, JOEY CHESTNUT!!!!! JOEY! JOEY!
*Chestnut's intro may be the greatest MC introduction of all-time. We need this at the Super Bowl in place of Nantz or Buck giving us the starting lineups with a collective yawn. George Shea makes Michael Buffer look like Bruce Buffer. (sorry, Bruce) Can we get George Shea to introduce the starting lineups at every single sporting event in America? Just imagine what he could do with Tiger Woods....