First thing's first... I'm the biggest Saints fan you will ever meet. Seriously. February 7, 2010 is the happiest day of my life. As a diehard Saints fan, the Reggie Bush Era has been one of both incredible highs and deflating lows. There has been a fair share of highlight reel plays like his breathtaking TD in the 2007 NFC Championship Game and his best game ever as a pro in the 2010 Divisional Game against the Cardinals. However, there has also been way too many injuries and ineffective performances to justify his massive contract from being the #2 overall pick in the 2006 Draft.
Reggie Bush's career in New Orleans is now at a crossroads. The Saints can't pay a role player (a darn good one at that) $11.8 million in the last year of his contract, but he is still probably worth more to the Saints than any other team. In recent weeks though, it appears that the stress with Reggie Bush's uncertain future has spilled over into misstep after misstep due to the terrifying athlete trap known as Twitter. Reggie Bush is just the latest athlete to fall victim to the dark side of 140 character public statements.
First, there was his poorly timed and worded Tweet after the Saints traded back into the first round to select Alabama RB Mark Ingram...
reggie_bush It's been fun New Orleans.
Bush's Tweet was a Class A example of how an athlete should not use Twitter. (Rashard Mendenhall's insane Tweets don't even deserve classification.) This whiny, "woe is me" Tweet doesn't sell to fans, his fellow players, or his . Furthermore, Ingram and Bush theoretically wouldn't even get the same touches in Sean Payton's offense. Ingram fills the Pierre Thomas/Chris Ivory every down back role while Reggie Bush has become the prototypical "satellite" player as a runner, receiver, and returner. The Ingram v Bush situation was downplayed through Saints coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees, but this only began his Twitter tailspin...
We've had our fair share of Gus Johnson news over the past few days, so we'd be remiss to not point out that Gus Johnson officially joined on at FOX Sports Media Group today. Here's an excerpt from the press release:
The voice renowned for March Madness buzzer-beaters is now the voice of fall’s gridiron glory and more as FOX Sports Media Group has named Gus Johnson lead play-by-play announcer for its college football coverage and men’s basketball on the Big Ten Network. He will team with FOX Sports football analyst Charles Davis to form the Group’s lead college football announce team. The announcement was made today by FOX Sports Executive Producer and Co-President & COO, FOX Sports Media Group, Eric Shanks.
This season, Johnson and Davis call Big 12, Conference USA and Pac-12 regular-season games on FX, as well as a pair of games for Big Ten Network, one of FOX’s two conference football championship games and the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. In 2012, they’ll call FOX’s regular-season over-the-air broadcast schedule, culled primarily from the network’s recently completed rights agreement with the Pac-12, as well as the aforementioned postseason assignments. In addition, Johnson also continues as the lead play-by-play voice for college basketball on Big Ten Network, will call FOX’s Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament games come 2013 and select NFL on FOX broadcasts following the college football season this year.
Johnson, who dropped a patented Ahhhhh at his press conference, is undoubtedly happy with his decision to join FOX. While I can't help but think his name has peaked, he's now in a spot to be No. 1 at his station, which was simply not going to happen at CBS. Still, I feel like the Gus Johnson brand blew up with March Madness and probably could've only gotten bigger if he was given an opportunity to fulfill his dream and call the Final Four. That's unlikely to happen now, but only time will tell if his cult-like following will die down a little bit in the years to come.
For some more reading, check out Ben Koo's quality piece on Johnson's run with CBS and its inevitable end. Congrats to Johnson, and congrats to FOX for finally improving its announcing crew.
By now you've heard that Gus Johnson has indeed parted ways with CBS and will likely be touching down at Fox in the coming days. The bad news is that Johnson will no longer be the signature voice that captures and at times drives the riveting action of March Madness. There is no doubt that in 10 months we'll all fully feel the void of his absence as one of the best sporting events will revert back to a more reserved style of announcing without Johnson's unique voice. Heartbreak city.
I thought Clark Kellogg did a great job summarizing Johnson's unique appeal when we spoke several months ago.
"His natural enthusiasm, and his uniqueness on how he combines his excitement and passion with terrific calls. I've heard this from countless people around the country as they love him doing NCAA games.
I think he's a tremendous fan, play by play guy, and that his rhythm is hand in glove the style for basketball. He has a nice understanding for pace, flow, his excitement rises as the game goes from possession to possession. He just has a really intuitive sense for calling basketball that appeals to fans and makes him a lot of fun to work with."
CBS has said goodbye to Johnson leaving a lot of people scratching their head, but really you could have seen this coming for ages. I actually thought about writing about Johnson's imperfect relationship with CBS and how it would effect his career going forward many times over but could never nail down exactly when his contract expired with CBS. I asked around and nobody knew, hence it was hard to gauge when we could see some type of decision/drama regarding Johnson. Seemingly out of nowhere this news came and went as his contract with CBS lapsed and there stood too many issues for him to come back to the network...
nydnraiss CBS refuses to match. Gus officially out and headed to Fox. Source says "politics" also involved.
This does end a few days of speculation, but the final news goes where Richard Deitsch's original report was headed all along. Gus is done at CBS. Gus is done announcing NCAA Tournament games. He is heading to Fox and appears to be in line to be their #1 college sports announcer. With the Big 10 Championship Game and Pac 12 coverage coming to the network, Gus is a big coup to immediately lift Fox's coverage of college sports. Which, as you may remember, has a checkered history at best... ok, it was awful.
It appears that Gus' talents will also be used for Fox's NFL coverage, where he would be a welcome addition. Look at the stable of NFL on Fox play by play men - Joe Buck, Kenny Albert, Thom Brennaman, Dick Stockton, Sam Rosen, Ron Pitts, Chris Rose, Chris Myers... it's below average, especially compared to CBS. Gus Johnson should be #2 at worst. Let's not get our hopes up that he will replace Joe Buck anytime soon, but we can at least dream of Gus calling the Super Bowl if there's now no chance at the Final Four.
Let's face it - Gus Johnson means much more to his fans and the blogosphere than he ever did to CBS. CBS did not simply value Gus Johnson like others may have valued him, even though he was the face of their March Madness coverage to many viewers. Remember, Gus Johnson was well down the list of NFL announcers, never doing marquee games that guys like Nantz, Gumbel, and others would broadcast. Gus was usually stuck with games like Browns-Bills. Even though he had a presence at the First Four alongside Nantz, Johnson wasn't a top guy at CBS in football or basketball. As Richard Deitsch told AA last month...
Gus Johnson will never announce the Final Four in the current setup. Nantz and CBS Sports president Sean McManus are very tight, and Nantz is considered the network's No. 1 sports voice. I understand why the Gus lovers want him there but in the words of Drew Rosenhaus, next question.
Is that some of the "politics" that Raissman refers to? Possibly. Network execs and fans sitting at home are different kinds of people. However, in Raissman's article, a few more details emerge...
A CBS source who wanted Johnson back said not only money, but politics was an issue. The source said some of CBS Sports' college hoops voices were not thrilled with Johnson's rise to March Madness' most popular voice.
Frankly, it's not a surprise to see Gus Johnson leave CBS in these circumstances. (I'll let you connect the dots on just who might be upset with Gus' popularity.) Perhaps the network execs at Fox were smart enough to realize Johnson's true value, with young fans especially, and offer him a number that CBS couldn't match... or an offer that CBS didn't want to match. Viewers will now tune into Fox's college football and basketball and NFL broadcasts because of Gus Johnson. It's a very wise move for Fox. If Johnson gets some high profile NFL games, it may in fact be a better career move for him than staying at CBS, where the glass ceiling was going to keep him down for the foreseeable future.
On the brink of elimination, the Detroit Red Wings completed a stunning 3rd period comeback last night in San Jose to extend the series. The Sharks badly outplayed the Wings for the majority of the night which made Detroit's three unanswered goals in the the third period that much more surprising. Game 6 will be Tuesday night at 8pm on Versus.
While the comeback was unexpected, former Sharks player Jeremy Roenick's scathing evisceration of Marleau was even more shocking. Marleau currently serves as an alternate captain for the Sharks and was a teammate of Roenick's in San Jose from 2007-2009. In the video above, you can see Roenick not exactly sugarcoating his criticism of Marleau's play through 5 games of the series.
Monday May 9
Minnesota Twins @ Boston Red Sox (ESPN 7PM) Sean McDonough, Rick Sutcliffe, Aaron Boone
Tuesday May 10
St. Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs (MLBN 8PM) Local Broadcasters [Alternate Game: Cincinnati @ Houston]
Wednesday May 11
St. Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs (ESPN 7PM) Dave O'Brien, Nomar Garciaparra
Thursday May 12
Tampa Bay Rays @ Cleveland Indians (MLBN Noon) Local Broadcasters
Kansas City Royals @ New York Yankees (MLBN 7PM) Local Broadcasters [Alternate Game: Seattle @ Baltimore]
Friday May 13
Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees (MLBN 7PM) Bob Costas,Jim Kaat [Alternate Game: St. Louis @ Cincinnati]
Saturday May 14
St. Louis Cardinals @ Cincinnati Reds (MLBN 4PM) Local Broadcast [Alternate Game: Kansas City @ Detroit]
Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees (FOX 7PM) Joe Buck, Tim McCarver
San Francisco Giants @ Chicago Cubs (FOX 7PM) Matt Vasgersian, Eric Karros
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Los Angeles Dodgers (FOX 7PM) Kenny Albert, Mark Grace
Sunday May 15
Philadelphia Phillies @ Atlanta Braves (TBS 1:30PM) TBA, Ron Darling
Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees (ESPN 8PM) Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, Bobby Valentine
As you should all know by now, Justin Verlander, ace of the Detroit Tigers, threw a no-hitter on Saturday - his 2nd of his young career.
Verlander's no-hitter came on the eve of Mother's Day, a year after Dallas Braden threw a perfect game on Mother's Day. Verlander was an inch or two away from being perfect himself, but it was perfect in another sense: its timing with the Kentucky Derby.
The 137th Kentucky Derby was run on Saturday and The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports lined up perfectly with the break between the top of the 9th inning and the bottom of the 9th inning. Yes, maybe insignificant, but you had just enough time to switch to NBC for the Derby and then switch back to MLB Network/FOX Sports Detroit to catch Verlander's 9th inning in its entirety.
Fitting, too. Justin Verlander is the unquestioned work horse of the Detroit Tigers' pitching staff and has been ever since he's come into the league. Year in and year out Verlander makes it to the mound every 5th day and gives the Tigers their money's worth. He's averaging 115 pitches per start this year and has a quality start in each of his eight starts. Ironically, his no-hitter only took 108 pitches, tied for his lowest pitch total this season.
So, when Tigers' color commentator Rod Allen made a Justin Verlander/Kentucky Derby reference, it was the perfect call here (via Mocksession):
Verlander would make a pretty good Kentucky Derby horse name, too, wouldn't it?
Now, is Reilly a complete sleaze? I hope not. He has written a heartwarming column about Chris Paul's forgiveness for the men that killed his grandfather recently and another promoting Nothing But Nets to raise money for malaria nets in Africa (a truly worthy cause for which he should be applauded). But, unfortunately, the side we see of Reilly is more often the distasteful, petulant kind... especially towards bloggers...
Tirico: "That's one of the biggest bush league things I have ever seen. That is TERRIBLE!"
Tirico (later): "That's one of the most bush league things I've ever seen in a game. That's DISGUSTING"
Hubie: "Amen to that. Amen to that. And I just don't understand why this is happening... when you say Los Angeles Lakers, you're talking about excellence, you're talking about titles, you're talking about some of the greatest players ever to play, and for this game to end in this manner is a disgrace."
Tiricio: "It's an embarrassment to the Buss family... it's an embarrassment to Mitch Kupchak and Phil Jackson too."
It can't be called better than that. Bynum, in clear "I know what I'm doing and I don't care" fashion removes his Lakers jersey as he walks off the court. Disgraceful. As if the Lakers' effort in getting swept out of the second round wasn't embarrassing enough, they now have these scenes to mark what may be Phil Jackson's final game. Way to go Andrew Bynum. Stay Classy.