H/T Fang's Bites
H/T Fang's Bites
I have DirectT and it's not even really a choice. I am addicted to programming like the NFL Sunday Ticket, The Big Ten Network, and some other sports channels and packages they offer. They're also a lot more reliable than the big cable companies and in particular are not as mentally challenged in the customer service area where cable companies typically dominate the worst ranked Fortune 500 list.
But DirectTV is expensive which leads me to my annual fabricated production where I call and threaten to leave in order to procure discounted rates for the coming year. For those looking to save some bucks, this is the blue print to achieve this.
- Call DirectTV and immediately say you want to talk to customer retention. Don't futz around with the front line of customer service people. Customer retention can give you discounts and won't give you the runaround.
- Say you're going to leave and that U-verse, Fios, or whomever is coming to install the new system in a week. DirectTV is too expensive and you're getting a sweetheart deal to leave. Cite that they've added a lot of channels that used to be exclusive to DirectTV (Big Ten Network, Red Zone Channel). Also give them some crap for not having AMC in HD because that's just dumb. Make sure you let them know it's too expensive to stay.
- They'll then start offering you discounts. Don't give in right away. They don't want you to walk and even if you can't come to an agreement they still have to send you to another person to terminate your account so you can always just hang up if they call your bluff which they won't. You can usually get around 25% off of your annual bill. Last year I achieved a good discount and it took under 7 minutes.
Anyways, this year my strategy was to really bemoan the fact that it wasn't even a sure thing that there would be football this year. DirectTV makes it a habit to auto renew your package out of "convenience". You can cancel the auto renew, but not a lot of people are that meticulous.
Lo and behold DirectTV has wisely decided to not bill anyone for the Sunday Ticket until the labor situation clears up.
"In a mass e-mail sent to all Sunday Ticket subscribers, DirecTV has informed customers that “[t]here will be absolutely no charge for your NFL SUNDAY TICKET subscription until it is confirmed that the 2011 NFL season will begin.”
Probably a wise move given a lot of people are looking for ways to cut back and are finding that their DirectTV bill is 50%-100% more than some other providers. By removing a very obvious pitfall for customer retention, DirectTV is effectively shutting the barn door that could have led to a mass exodus of football subscribers.
Getting a big discount is still very doable but unforunately the main point of emphasis has been wiped and now I'll have to fake outrage from another source.
Yes, I'll admit... I was one of those people that turned off the second half of Game 2 of the NBA Finals and turned on ESPN for the final five of the Scripps National Spelling Bee (luckily, I turned back with just over a minute to go in the game, whew). There's just something about kids spelling strange words that makes for compelling television. However, the Spelling Bee could become so much more if there was an announcing team in place to give the event the excitement it deserves. We went to Twitter to ask AA readers who their fantasy Spelling Bee announcing team would be. Any play by play guy. Any analyst. The results were amazing. As always, these are Real Tweets from Real People...
Dascenzo Rod Allen and Chris Berman
Dayman_OS Gus ("SOUND IT OUT AND FIRE!") and John Madden ("You put a x here, a o here, a z here, and BOOM you got a spelling champ!")
sgsmith_23 Vin Scully, Clyde Frazier.
tjbasalla Gus and Hubie Brown
redveale Keith Jackson and Charles Barkley.
LevityNYC John Sterling - "You can't predict Spelling Bees."
Kevin_Hebert Harry Caray and Mike Shannon..Hearing them try to pronounce the words would be phenomenal
ellenlai Mike Emrick and Charles Barkley
markmagnuson7 Brent Musberger and JR from WWE. The word "partner" would be said 47,000 times.
bryanbrackney Emmitt Smith, all by himself
modernishfather Bob Uecker and Jim Deshaies. I'd pay to hear them cover the bee.
joebeacham Zombie Ernie Harwell and Drunk Rick Sutcliffe
itsjordylive Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, and a translator (totally necessary).
philiptang77 Al Michaels and Bill Raftery who could yell onions after someone got a word right
hawks586 Hawk Harrelson solo.."HE GONE"
DLefchak The late Harry Kalas ("That kid's OUTTA HERE!) & Tim McCarver ("The kid who spells the most words right will probably win."
SportPundits Kevin "right between the eyes" Harlan and Bob "slightly racist jokes" Griese
hawknut I want Rick Sutcliffe and Patrick Warburton (as David Puddy). No, seriously, make this happen immediately.
yeatdog Gus Johnson and Buck Laughlin
mhfight dick vitale and dikembe mutumbo
bielik_tim Gary Thorne and Cavaliers Color Analyst Austin Carr.
JeffDLowe Dream Spelling Bee Announcing Team: Harlan (Is this the dagger? B4 end of a word) or Ian Eagle (THAT'S A MAN'S WORD!)
RYbbc34 Andres Cantor and Jesse "The Body" Ventura
glokkenspx Jim Nantz (think of the pun potential) & Johnny Miller (love to see him bash a 12 year old chocking under pressure)
HoosierdaddyIU Gary McCord and Vern Lundquist #whothehellishappygilmore
Dan_Brookens Harry Caray and Gilbert Gottfried.
matthewcoller I'll take Marty + Thom Brennaman. Marty trashes kids not from Cincinnati, Thom worships the Christian-looking kids
Dayman_OS Dennis Miller, so he could incorporate the words being spelled into obscure jokes that nobody gets.
walshie414 Jack Edwards and either Tommy Heinsohn or Hawk Harrelson
J3rdWatson Howard Cosell and Tim McCarver. Perfect blend of of pretentious and oblivious.
Dascenzo Harry Caray and Ron Santo would be unbelievable.
GlasgowSmile21 Howard Stern and Simon Cowell
KevinWhite24 Jim Ross
TheLYONSDen89 Dream Spelling Bee PBP team: Gus Johnson and Ron Santo
EspoAZ Easy,Harry Caray and Will Ferrell playing Harry Caray. Could spell the words and then tell you what they are backwards.
RadioFish Keith Jackson and Dickie V. "That kid...is a hus" "He's a diaper dandy I tell ya!"
StevenCarroll8 chris berman, because he so horrible it would be great, and phil rizzuto, would not understand what was going on
djstarion Dream Bee PBP: Brian Collins and the reanimated corpse of Rebecca Sealfon
Would one of these teams be your choice or is there another fantasy announcing team that are tweeps might have missed?
It's about time we got into the podcasting business, don't ya think? In the first Awful Announcing Podcast at the Bloguin network, we talk with the co-author of Those Guys Have All The Fun, Jim Miller, about his impressive book that tells the story of ESPN. As Deitsch tweeted yesterday, Those Guys will be a #1 New York Times bestseller. It's a remarkable feat for a book that has taken the sports world by storm since well before its release last week. In case you're looking for more info about Those Guys, you can read our excerpt on Monday Night Football here, check out our review of the book here, and if you haven't yet, order the book here. We discuss amongst other topics...
-The outlined nine steps to ESPN's dominance
-The lack of current stars on SportsCenter
-Bill SImmons' outspokenness
-ESPN's relationship with sports blogs
-The future of the network
It was a great interview and many thanks to Jim for taking the time to chat with AA as well as the fine folks at Little, Brown for setting up the interview... and who knows, maybe there will be an AA Podcast #2 someday in the future!
The feud between Deadspin and ESPN is well documented. The intense rivalry started when ESPN sources led Deadspin editor AJ Daulerio to sit on a tip about Steve Phillips' scandalous behavior. Eventually, Daulerio missed breaking the story and blamed ESPN for misleading him. Thus began the ESPN Horndoggery Dossier. Ever since, ESPN and Deadspin haven't exactly been on the best of terms.
So, perhaps it was a surprise to hear that one of Deadspin's top writers, Tommy Craggs, was offered a position by ESPN. Well, an offer to write at the "yes, it's really an ESPN website, but you're not supposed to know about it" Grantland, headed up, of course, by Bill Simmons. Craggs is definitely one of the most talented, notable writers on Deadspin (and in the blogosphere), and was a solid, if not surprising choice, to be involved in the new Simmons/ESPN project. However, in true Deadspin fashion, Craggs' offer was met with hesitancy after this article, destroying ESPN's PR Blog and the name dropping of Page 2 editor Lynn Hoppes. It was over the top, but also brilliantly written -- Deadspin and Craggs at their best, but probably not something that made ESPN execs jump to bring him aboard Grantland.
There was an update to the story last night. ESPN exec John Walsh (portrayed as the grand poobah of journalistic integrity in Those Guys Have All The Fun, he must LOVE Deadspin) wanted to meet with Craggs and "express his misgivings in person." Naturally, that meeting involved a pink gorilla telegram sent by Daulerio to sing the SportsCenter theme. Deadspin's videos aren't embeddable (pretty ironic, if you ask me, seeing as how they tear apart MLB for the same thing), so you have to check this link to see it and read the whole story. No, I don't have the artistic ability to do a f%$#ing drawing, either. Here's a quote from the article though:
Instead, I called up a singing telegram service in NYC to drop off a hand-delivered note. The woman on the phone took my order over the phone and repeated back to me the important pieces of information to pass along to her performer: "Essex House. 11:30. Albino man. Pink gorilla singing SportsCenter theme song. Two balloons. Got it,"...
Maybe we'll never know if Craggs would have been offered a job or not (the pink gorilla and the Hoppes article tells me no), but according to Daulerio he withdrew from interest in the Grantland project because of the long leash still attached to Bristol.
Another aspect that made the game very enjoyable to watch was indeed NBC play by play man Mike Emrick. Doc doesn't get as much credit as he deserves as one of the great announcers in sports. Our pal Richard Deitsch of SI wrote this profile on Emrick before Game 1. He fits playoff hockey perfectly like Gus Johnson fits the NCAA Tournament. He also has a pretty good sense of humor. Observe as he slides the Geico gecko into the postgame acknowledgments for some reason. That gecko, he can be trusted...
A huge tip of the hat to bubbaprog for both videos! Check out all of his outstanding work at Mocksession.
Chris Berman must have figured he could get away with anything on ESPN baseball last night because nobody would be watching -- the NBA Finals began around the same time on their sister station and it was the middle of a Tuesday.
First, his brain flatulated thatmost, not all, of the Giants' walk off wins this season have come at home and, then, he gave Cardinals' reliever Fernando Salas a rather unfortunate nickname, 'Tossed Salas.'
Have a listen [via Media Bistro]:
Berman's an old dog, but he has to know that 'tossed salad' doesn't quite mean what it used to; at least know that the generic sense of the term can't be said without a mental snicker from anyone south of 30. And I know Berman saw David Cross toss his own salad in Scary Movie 2. I think he would've been better off nicknaming him 'Garden Fresh Salas' if he wanted to go that route.
"Well they have 7 walk off wins thus far, most of them at home."
This may be the single greatest quote in the history of Awful Announcing. I must have missed it, but the Giants' walk off wins on the road are surely the greatest feat in baseball history... winning a game on a walk off hit in the top half of an inning, why, that's unheard of!! Someone get me those box scores!! I wonder why more teams haven't tried the road walk off win strategy. Maybe Boomer is onto something here... or, maybe he should just go rumblin, bumblin, and stumblin and walk off ESPN for good.
Earlier today, we told you about a rumor regarding ESPN NBA analyst Mark Jackson being a leading candidate for the head coach opening for the Golden State Warriors. In news that's coming down tonight, there's another national NBA TV analyst that has been confirmed to leave the broadcast booth for the sidelines. We received a press release in the AA Inbox from Turner Sports that Kevin McHale will be the newest coach of the Houston Rockets. The former Celtic great had been rumored as a frontrunner for the job in recent days. Here's a quote from McHale...
“I really enjoyed spending the last two years with Turner Sports, bringing the best NBA coverage possible to the viewers at home,” said McHale. “Even though I’m moving back to the bench I’ll still watch my friends on NBA TV and TNT. Turner’s commitment to the NBA is part of the reason why the league is so special, and I look forward to seeing many of my former colleagues in the future.”
McHale was better than average as an NBA analyst. He had a style that wasn't quite as polished as others in the booth or the studio, but it worked. I enjoyed his work with the Turner guys as he brought something a little different to the table to complement Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Chris Webber. He replaces Rick Adelman as Rockets head coach. McHale had a losing record coaching the Minnesota Timberwolves during two stints the last decade while also serving as GM of the franchise. Hopefully he doesn't draft 19 point guards this year like that fella who followed him.