In trying to embrace the strong tide of globalization, one of my favorite sports on the planet has become Aussie Rules Football over the last decade. In checking out the action from this weekend's Round 10, this dramatic finish and pulsating announcing was too good not to share. League leaders West Coast Eagles made the trip to face 14th placed Brisbane Lions and the Eagles led by 3 points with just two minutes to go when a wild series of events took place.
First, Brisbane's Niall McKeever got a fingertip to what would have been a certain Eagles goal after a 50 meter sprint with West Coast's Jack Darling. The touch on the line kept the game alive for Brisbane as the score was only a rushed behind for a point instead of a goal for six. Brisbane launched a quick attack up the middle of the ground that ended with a stunning 60 meter torpedo from James Polkinghorne to kick the winning goal in a huge 102-100 upset. It's one of those classic "EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING" sequences that is exciting in any sport... even if you may not have a clue as to what is actually happening. Here's Anthony Hudson with the awesome call...
Tiger Woods picked up his second victory of 2012 in Dublin, Ohio at The Memorial today. Woods was four back heading into the final round, but biridied three out of the last four holes to win his 73rd PGA tournament, tying Jack Nicklaus for 2nd all-time at his own tournament. The most incredible of those birdies, and maybe one of the highlights of the sports year thus far, was Woods' chip in on the Par 3 16th hole that may conjure up memories of another of Woods' greatest moments at Augusta's Par 3 16th. Watch as Tiger hits a perfect flop shot out of the rough that lands on the green and rolls into the hole. Unfortunately, no awkward caddie high fives this time, but it's still one of the great moments in his career.
In the CBS booth, Nicklaus called it "one of the most incredible golf shots I think you'll ever see played."
The much-reported new co-host for SportsNation has been officially announced by ESPN, and it's Charissa Thompson, better known from Numbers Never Lie on the network. Her first show will be this Monday, June 4th. Thompson is a former sideline reporter with Fox and the NFL Network, and was probably more known for her in-studio and sideline work on the Big Ten Network.
The move to SportsNation is a nice step up for Thompson, who was doing a good job with Numbers Never Lie, but saw it stuck in a crappy timeslot and unable to gain a lot of traction with fans. She's had experience on SportsNation before, filling in at times for Beadle. Before joining ESPN, I was very impressed with Thompson's work as an avid BTN viewer. Over there, she hosted studio shows on occasion, but they were more countdown type shows (such as the Big Ten's Greatest shows) as opposed to a discussion-type show like Numbers Never Lie or SportsNation.
It might take a little bit of time for Thompson to ease into her role on SportsNation, but she should be a fine replacement for Beadle. I personally think she may even be better in the role, due to her previous experience.
After 51 years, Johan Santana threw the first no hitter in the history of the New York Mets Friday night. While that moment is amazing on its own merit, this screengrab of one happy Mets fan trying to join the celebration and being tackled by security surely makes the moment even sweeter. It's so great to have the baseball traditions of fans being tackled by security and celebrating a no hitter together in this one image. Fans storming the field to celebrate the biggest moments in your team's history was so much easier back in the day.
Update: Thankfully, SI's Jimmy Traina came through with video...
No, it's not just Los Angeles television stations that don't know their own hockey team. ABC's New York station gives us the gift of this snafu in their coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals with the wrong team. It's not just that they pulled the wrong "non-Rangers local hockey team" logo, they doubled down with the "Islanders vs Kings" headline. Did the ABC station in New York cover the Devils-Rangers series at all? Do they know how playoff tournaments work? In my mind, this is a much bigger facepalm than the LA Station going with the Sacramento Kings logo instead of the LA Kings. Imagining the Islanders instead of the Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals takes some work, especially considering the Islanders haven't even made the playoffs since 2007 and the Devils are going for their fourth Stanley Cup since 1995. Using the Duke Blue Devils logo would have at least been in the right ballpark.
Earlier this week, Hawk Harrelson had a rant against umpire Mark Wegner go viral. Hawk got so worked up he started cussin and bleepin and calling out the umpire by his last name. It was a remarkable piece of footage, even by his standards, let's enjoy it again, shall we?
Well, it seems that Hawk's raving homerism may have crossed the line this time as both MLB commish Bud Selig and White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf pulled the Hawk aside and let him know in no uncertain terms that his glorious tirade wasn't appreciated. From ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine...
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf talked to television announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson in the wake of his on-air outburst against umpire Mark Wegner.
"I talked to Bud Selig yesterday," Harrelson told ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine on Friday morning. "We had a talk. Actually, Bud talked and I listened. If it was a prize fight, they would have stopped it in the first round.
"I also talked to Jerry, and I listened to him as well. That's all I really have to say."
Harrelson is an employee of Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN.
Poor Hawk, first he got so worked up he took 16 Advil from the rant, now he's apparently been lectured by the commish and his team's boss. But wait, there's more.
(Ed Note: This article first appeared on Bloguin's NHL site Puck Drunk Love. Visit PDL for all your Stanley Cup Final coverage.)
If you're a Kings fan or a neutral hockey fan that took in LA's OT win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, you probably enjoyed the action quite a bit. Unfortunately, there weren't that many people watching with you.
Steve Lepore of PucktheMedia.com offered a nice recap of the ratings from Game 1 on Twitter, offering a troubled look at how ratings in Game 1 left a lot to be desired.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first.
The NBA (Celtics vs. Heat) on ESPN beat Game 1 both in Los Angeles (6.1 to 4.2) and in New York (7.4 to 5.1). This is a disappointing fact but not one that's completely negative - more on that later in this article.
Overall NBC drew a 2.4 overnight rating for Game 1, a rating that fell well short of last year's Game 1 between Boston and Vancouver that drew a 3.2. The NBA Draft Lottery on ESPN also edged Game 1 by a narrow margin, 2.95 million viewers to 2.9 million.
We'll end the bad news there. Summarized, the first game of the Stanley Cup Final failed to move the needle as far as ratings were concerned. This was a fear entering the series from those that believed the New York Rangers failing to make the Final could have a negative impact on ratings. So far, it looks like they're right.
Still, there's good news here too.
New York was dialed in despite the Rangers exit, drawing a 5.1 in the ratings. Meanwhile Los Angeles drew a 4.2 - a number that indicates tremendous growth when compared to the market's 2.9 rating in Game 5 against Phoenix. Granted, Game 5 wasn't on network television, but you get the picture that LA residents are tuning in.
You might expect the home markets of the Devils and Kings to do well in the ratings. No surprise there. So who else tuned in for Game 1?
Buffalo answered the call leading the way with a whopping 7.8 - a number that bested both New York and Los Angeles.
Tying for the third spot with Los Angeles was Minneapolis/St. Paul (3.8) with Pittsburgh (3.5) and Oklahoma City (3.5) close behind.
Wait, Oklahoma City? Surprisingly, this isn't a typo. The very city that features an NBA team but not an NHL team was one of the top cities when it comes to ratings from across the country. Not Chicago. Not Detroit. This fact may be pointed to at some point in the future if the NHL decides to reopen the idea of placing a hockey team in Oklahoma - an idea that has been toyed with in the past.
While the ratings for Game 1 weren't impressive, this doesn't mean the series as a whole will disappoint. It does mean that the NHL will be rooting for bigger returns, especially in major hockey cities such as the previously mentioned Chicago and Detroit, moving forward.
David Rogers is a staff writer at Puck Drunk Love. Follow David and PDL on Twitter.
After a live audition during the Super Bowl last year, NBC has pulled the trigger and hired recently retired Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward for their programming. Ward will join the Football Night in America pregame show for Sunday Night Football amongst other duties for NBC.
Ward was an analyst for NBC during the Super Bowl this past February, and did a pretty good job. Before Ward's tryout during the big game, Matt predicted that he'd wind up on ESPN as part of "the nebulous ether that is ESPN's fringe NFL analysts." It's probably better for Ward's career that he wound up as a bigger fish in a smaller pond on NBC as opposed to ESPN.
Ward's role with NBC is going to be as a jack of all trades kind of character. In addition to the aforementioned studio analysis on Football Night in America, it appears that Ward will also be covering some college football, doing studio analysis for games on NBC Sports Network. Ward will also appear on NBCSN to provide analysis on NBC Sports Talk.
The most important part of this signing to me is the NBC Sports Network coverage. Is the rebranded network going to have more NFL-focused shows, or are they going to just stick Ward on the panel shows like NBC Sports Talk? A new NFL-specific vehicle would do a lot to help the network in my opinion, and would make sense given the depth of NBC's football analysts.
Whatever ends up happening with him, Ward generally got good reviews across the board for his work with NBC during the Super Bowl, and he should make a solid addition to the team.
Last night, ESPN televised the sporting theater that is the Scripps National Spelling Bee. While I used to watch the bee just for a laugh or two, it actually has become a nice retreat from the neverending loop of sports news, debate, and opinion that never ends. Plus, I can think back to one of my few athletic endeavors in life - a failed entry into the world of competitive spelling.
Snigdha Nandipati from San Diego spelled "guetapens" to best Stuti Mishra of West Melbourne, Fla in the final two. After the bee was over, ESPN's Samantha Steele was on hand to present the trophy to Snigdha with the confetti still falling. Seems rather simple, right? Well, not so much...
"Yes, I am with the champion, congratulations, and Snigdha come on over, get closer... OH SORRY I'M LOOKING AT THE WRONG GIRL!""
After a night displaying brilliant young prodigies and future Mensa members, that wasn't the smoothest way to end the evening. While some took Steele's flub out of context, it really seems like just an innocent mistake there in the moment as she tried to explain on Twitter.
@bismarchiavelli I didn't even see her, just assumed when I turned the winner would be next to me. I knew it wasnt her when I saw her.
Seems like a harmless, if not slightly embarrassing flub and she tried to handle it as best as she could. Next year though, she should make sure to double check who she's supposed to interview by looking at those giant signs that have the speller's names on them. That's a helpful resource.