Some may not be too excited about the Women's World Cup, but these are the best women's soccer players in the world and very few men could pull off that strike. It was slightly reminiscent of Gio Van Bronckhorst's goal for The Netherlands in their semifinal win over Uruguay last year (also called by Darke). This event doesn't have the substance or excitement of the World Cup we saw in South Africa, but any event is made better by Ian Darke, who continues to show his value to ESPN. His announcing vocabulary is simply the best (tracer bullet, firecracker, etc). Who would have thought one of America's best play by play man would be an old Brit?
Just over a week after his stunning resignation as the manager of the Washington Nationals, Jim Riggleman will have a new job. Well, a new job for a weekend at least.
Riggleman will serve as a pregame and postgame television analyst on Comcast SportsNet Chicago for the Cubs/White Sox series at Wrigley Field this weekend. Wrigley Field is a familiar setting for Riggleman, as he managed the Cubs from 1995-1999, and even led them to a playoff berth in 1998 (well, Sammy Sosa's 66 homers, 158 RBI, and 1.024 OPS were probably the main reasons for that).
With that in mind, it's possible that this will be an audition for him to get a long-term television job at Comcast SportsNet Chicago as a Cubs analyst. Heck, it will be an audition for him to get a long-term television job with any network. Surely the people at ESPN and MLB Network will be paying attention to his analysis and presence in front of a camera.
And with his managerial career likely over, a long-term studio analyst or color commentator job is something he is probably looking to obtain. After all, he has to keep the money coming in to be able to hit up the town and get his drink on with the ladies.
H/T: Chicago Tribune
With July usually comes all of those awful, gimmicky tournaments or segments to get us through the summer months before football gets here. We've had to suffer through Who's Now, Mount Rushmore, and other excruciating, contrived specials to peak our interest in what is normally a downtime for sports fans.
Now it's AA's turn to get in on the act.
Except, we're going to do it bigger and better than it's ever been done before because we're going to combine the ideas together. A tournament that takes the most awful television sports personalities together - we're talking play by play, analysts, studio hosts, studio analysts, radio hosts with TV shows, and many in between - and crowns a winner to take Joe Morgan's place on our Mount Rushmore of Awful Announcing. With Joe Morgan out of the limelight and successfully vanquished by the sports blogs (let's face it Joe, nobody is listening to that hour long radio show), it's due time for a new face to fill the AA banner next to Pam Ward, Dick Vitale, and Tim McCarver. Hence, the Joe Morgan Memorial Tournament.
Who will it be though... that's for you to decide over the course of the next month! We have a list put together, but we want to consider nominations from you as well for who should be involved in this "illustrious" field. So as to not influence votes, we'll have a random, unseeded draw each round (think the FA Cup of Awful Announcing, maybe we'll even have the draw televised) with a new matchup every day (two matchups a day in the first round). Voting will take place until the next day when a new poll goes up and results will be announced.
The tourney will get underway July 5th. Leave a nomination in the comments below and prepare yourselves for a summer full of awfulness. Around here, that's hopefully a good thing.
Today is National Handshake Day and the guys on PTI celebrated with this classic moment of bromantic flirting as Kornheiser gets Wilbon to partake in a classic handshake that was unfortunately part of my repertoire of "game" for way too long.
Both these guys spend almost the entirety of the show trying to sound smarter than each other so it's always a nice surprise when Kornheiser reverts back to his neurotic/dorky/embarrassing side. You know you always hate it when your dad or uncle acts like this but when it's someone else's family member, you eat that stuff up. That's the appeal of Kornheiser. The dorky embarrassing dad who isn't yours.
I'm going to take a page from my broski and look at this year's Wimbledon coverage in a Good, Bad, & Ugly sort of way. If you've been watching the last couple days with the insanely confusing what, when, and where of trying to watch live tennis, you may have missed some of the better aspects of Wimbledon coverage this year. With all due respect to the US Open, Wimbledon is the marquee tennis tournament of the year, and we're here to break it down.
The broadcast talent at Wimbledon and in tennis as a whole is vastly underrated. At NBC, John McEnroe is one of the best analysts in all of sports, period. Mary Carillo is also widely praised although I'm not as high on her as most. Where the depth of announcers really shine though is ESPN. They made a fantastic decision to bring back a favorite of mine, Chris Evert, to the booth and her pairing with the retiring Dick Enberg has been pleasant.
ESPN finds its strength in the amount of platforms available to televise live sports. In contrast with NBC (more on that in a bit), this ability is only more appreciated. The sheer amount of live tennis on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3.com and other sources is impressive. To fill that time, ESPN has to employ a lot of on-air personalities to present the coverage. You can go up and down the ESPN roster and find solid contributions from each television commentator. Mary Jo Fernandez, Darren Cahill, Cliff Drysdale, and Chris Fowler are just a few of the cast of thousands that do well with the Wimbledon coverage. Unlike ESPN's other properties (see: NFL), the bluster and fake laughter is kept to a minimum and it's the tennis that takes center stage. What a novel concept.
The pair for me that stood out in particular was Patrick McEnroe and Brad Gilbert. In the early rounds, the pair would skip through several matches happening at the same time and were always entertaining and informative. It was much like the old days of the NCAA Tournament, going to different courts at key moments in various matches. I found their commentary during the great Tsonga-Dimitrov 2nd Round match to be very good. P-Mac isn't as well known as his brother, but he can fill both pbp and analyst positions and Gilbert brings (eccentric) energy and strong knowledge. Like the World Cup, Wimbledon coverage shows that televised sports is at its best when the focus is left on what we came to watch in the first place, sports.
From what I gather, the rookie symposium consists of presentations that fall into two buckets. 1) Don't be an idiot 2) You should really know this stuff (how to manage money) but a lot of you didn't really get real educations.
I am sure somewhere during all the PowerPoints, a lot of rookies doze off so that's why it's good to have an individual really shake it up with a very hard hitting presentation. Enter ESPN's Herm Edwards:
That's the cliff notes version. You can watch the entire presentation here.
High marks to Edwards and the NFLPA for selecting him as a speaker. Edwards brings perspective as a player, coach, and television personality so his insight comes from a lot of different angles. But more importantly he's an enthusiastic speaker who isn't inhibited by going through the motions and being a cookie cutter personality. That's never been his style so he's an ideal candidate to come out and emphasize a lot of possible pitfalls to young NFL players. Now if only Edwards could double as a mediator for the collective bargaining agreement.
Eric Byrnes still has "it' in him, but unfortunately he's just lost a lot of his skills as a baseball player. Bynes is on local Bay Area radio and you can tell he still has the drive and enthusiasm to play baseball but unlike some players he wasn't comfortable playing as his skills diminished and his reputation waned as a ball player. I mean who else is playing softball days after retiring from baseball?
Never has Byrnes' crash test dummy like mentality been more evident than this cameo on the MLB Network in which he decides to go full throttle on Harold Reynolds in the clip below.
Easy now Byrnesie.
Reynolds does a good job laughing off the Goldberg like spear and Byrnes does his best to make amends giving HR a makeup hug. Still though you get the feeling that Byrnes needs some hobby to get up this agressiveness and adrenaline out of his system. Rugby? Fight club? Gymkata perhaps?
Minnesota Twins play-by-play announcer Dick Bremer wasn't messing around during last night's Twins/Dodgers game.
As rookie Luke Hughes stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 5th inning of a tied game, Bremer felt something all the way down in his plums that Hughes was about to put one in the seats. Fresh and juicy, ready for the picking [H/T BLS]:
Bremer: "Hughes hasn't homered since the end of April. I got a call here."
Bert Blyleven: "I like it."
Bremer: "I got a call."
Here's how it played out:
Notice how Bremer just calmly announces that the Twins are back on top? I bet he left Blyleven hanging, too. That's a man who is all business. Now, the "call" wasn't quite as sweet as Mike Blowers predicting the count, pitch, and location of a dude's first career home run, but this is still a hell of a call (assuming he didn't make 100 unsuccessful predictions leading up to this one). When you've watched thousands of games like Bremer has, it's possible you can develop a relatively successful gut for this sort of thing. It didn't let him or Twins fans down here.
Do you believe in miracles, or something? Bob Costas and Al Michaels will be joining forces for the first time since calling the Denslow Cup together for an MLB game on the MLB Network on July 8. Here's an excerpt from the press release [H/T Fangs Bites]:
Legendary sports broadcaster Al Michaels will join MLB Network’s Bob Costas in the broadcast booth when the two call the New York Mets at NL West first-place San Francisco Giants at 10:00 p.m. ET on Friday, July 8, part of MLB Network’s live game schedule in July. The game marks the first time Michaels and Costas will call an MLB game together and the first MLB game Michaels will call since 1995. Costas and Michaels will also make special appearances on SNY’s broadcast and on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s broadcast in the game’s middle innings, while Mets announcers Gary Cohen and Ron Darling and Giants announcers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow will appear in MLB Network’s booth during that time, as its telecast will not be available in the Giants’ and Mets’ home television markets.
MLB Network will host a media conference call with Michaels and Costas, who are expected to be joined by Cohen, Darling, Kuiper and Krukow, on Tuesday, July 5 to discuss the game telecast. Additional details on the call will be sent to media from MLB Network.
I think this about sums it up: