It's a big week in the Association as we get closer to playoff time. Here's the national TV schedule along with announcing assignments. NBATV has six games to choose from, ESPN and ABC each have a doubleheader, and TNT has their usual Thursday night showcase. The week is spotlighted by some great matchups including Celtics/Bulls, Celtics/Heat, and Thunder/Lakers... and Bobcats/Cavs of course.
Tuesday April 5
Charlotte Bobcats @ Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA TV 7PM) Local Broadcast - Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers (NBA TV 10:30PM) Ernie Johnson, Kevin McHale, Chris Webber - Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday April 6
Milwaukee Bucks @ Miami Heat (ESPN 8PM) Mark Jones, Hubie Brown - American Airlines Arena Miami, FL
Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors (ESPN 10:30PM) Dan Shulman, Mark Jackson - The Oracle Oakland, CA
Thursday April 7
Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls (TNT 8PM) Marv Albert, Mike Fratello – United Center, Chicago IL
Portland Trail Blazers @ Utah Jazz (TNT 10:30PM) Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller – Energysolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Friday April 8
Phoenix Suns @ New Orleans Hornets (NBA TV 8PM) Local Broadcast - New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA
Saturday April 9
Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs (NBA TV 8:30PM) Local Broadcast - AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Sunday April 10
Chicago Bulls @ Orlando Magic (ABC 1PM) Dave Pasch, Hubie Brown - Amway Arena Orlando, FL
Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat (ABC 3:30PM) Mike Breen, Mark Jackson - American Airlines Arena Miami, FL
New York Knicks @ Indiana Pacers (NBA TV, 7PM) Local Broadcast - Conseco Field House, Indianapolis, IN
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Lakers (NBA TV 10:30PM) Local Broadcast - Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Last week, we learned that ESPN's Jalen Rose had been retroactively arrested for a DUI earlier in the month of March. Rose faces a court date later this month. Interestingly, we first heard about the news from a local television station in Detroit, WDIV, who beat ESPN at what would seem to be their own story. The response from ESPN after news of the arrest broke was fairly swift - Rose was pulled off ESPN television. It is this decision by ESPN and the fallout from their overall response to Jalen Rose's arrest that is cause for discussion, analysis, and major questions for the folks at Bristol. ESPN's practical monopoly over the sports world puts them in a position where the most criticism, analysis, and questioning exists. In the case of Jalen Rose, there are plenty of questions to be asked of the Bristol machine. After the jump, check out the entire story and ESPN's response to those unanswered questions we asked the network.
*Jalen Rose: Fab 5 producer + ESPN analyst
-Here's where Rose was first thrust into the monster that is ESPN promotion. The family of networks heavily hyped ESPN's Fab Five documentary. The doc scored for ESPN in the ratings department as the highest rated under the 30 for 30 umbrella... surely it was helped by a cavalcade of hosts and analysts proclaiming that it was among the best documentaries the network had produced. While it was well done, the Fab Five program was also one of the most unbalanced ESPN documentaries under the acclaimed 30 for 30 label. Perhaps that should be no surprise though - Fab Five member and ESPN analyst Jalen Rose was an executive producer for the project. Rose made himself a further part of the story with his incendiary comments about African American basketball players at Duke as "Uncle Toms." It was a controversial remark, even in the context of the documentary, yet it became more hype and more debate fodder. The networks seized on that comment to create more publicity for Rose and the documentary and fill their hours of debate and discussion shows.
*The DUI arrest
-As the dust settled from the documentary controversy, we learned of Rose's DUI arrest. Except, as pointed out here at AA, the timeline was all disjointed. The public first learned of Rose's arrest weeks after the incident initially happened on March 11th. ESPN, so often out in front of these stories, was beaten to the punch by a local TV station. The initial response from ESPN was brief. In one of the first ESPN.com articles about the story, a spokesman merely said the network was "looking into it." ESPN then made the decision to pull Rose from appearing on television until the case could be sorted out. Or did they... an ESPN spokesman had this to say in a decidedly vague response to the situation...
“Jalen has accepted full responsibility for his actions. Both parties are taking this very seriously, and as a result, we’ve agreed that he will not be on our air while he addresses this situation.”
Here's the details for not only the men's basketball Final Four in Houston, but also the women's Final Four in Indianapolis. The men take center stage on Saturday and Monday night on CBS while the women will play Sunday and Tuesday night on ESPN. Consider this your Open Thread for any comments throughout the weekend of championship basketball. My guess is that Jim Nantz already has his prepared lines ready, including Shaka having the smarts to guide VCU to the title. Enjoy!
Your Full National Basketball Championship Announcing Schedule For 4/2 - 4/5
Saturday April 2
NCAA Men's National Semi Finals - The Final Four
Virginia Commonwealth University Rams vs Butler Bulldogs (CBS 6PM) Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr - Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
Connecticut Huskies vs Kentucky Wildcats (CBS 8:30PM) Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr - Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
Sunday April 3
NCAA Women's National Semi Finals - The Final Four
Texas A&M Aggies vs Stanford Cardinal (ESPN 7PM) Dave O'Brien, Doris Burke - Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Connecticut Huskies (ESPN 9PM) Dave O'Brien, Doris Burke - Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Monday April 4
NCAA Men's National Championship
Virginia Commonwealth University Rams/Butler Bulldogs vs Connecticut Huskies/Kentucky Wildcats (CBS 9PM) Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr - Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
Tuesday April 5
NCAA Women's National Championship
Texas A&M Aggies/Stanford Cardinal vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish/Connecticut Huskies (ESPN 8:30PM) Dave O'Brien, Doris Burke - Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, INH/T Sammy!
I had the pleasure earlier today to speak with Bill Raftery of ESPN, CBS, and Westwood One where he will be announcing the Final Four this weekend around the country on radio with Kevin Kugler and John Thompson. With trademark catchphrases like "ONIONS" and "man to man," Bill Raftery has become one of the most popular analysts in all of sports. In addition to his humor and energy, Raftery also brings a wealth of knowledge as a basketball lifer. In our latest Q&A, Bill talks to Awful Announcing about how he got into broadcasting, what VCU and Butler's run to the Final Four mean for college basketball, his response to Jay Bilas' Tweets, and of course, ONIONS!
Q: Tell us a little bit about your basketball background and how you got into broadcasting.
A: Well I wasn't a good player, Matt, and then I wasn't a good coach, so it was an easy slide. In the early days of my college career I met a man by the name of Bob Wolff and my coach asked me to show Bob around and he's a Hall of Fame announcer in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was doing a CBS game with us in the NIT. Bob said, would you want to try and get in my business someday. And that always stuck in my head, I ended up coaching for 16 years and just thought, let me give this a shot. Dave Gavitt (former Big East commissioner) was nice enough one late October calling me at Seton Hall and saying look, you've got two days to let me know if you want to do this.
I had two weeks of practice in in '81 and fortunately there was a Dave Gavitt in my life because the Big East was starting to mushroom and philosophically Seton Hall really wasn't ready for it. A few years later PJ (Carlesimo) came in and worked hard and struggled and they finally stepped up and did the things everyone else was doing in terms of support and we ended up in the Final Four in '89. So, that was sort of a tumultuous road to broadcasting.
Q: Everyone will want to know the origins of "Onions!" Ian Eagle has put the story out there on the internet, is it true?
A: Ian's the one that says Kevin Edwards made a jumper in Miami (for the Nets). It's something in that head of mine that popped out. I was trying to be as descriptive as I could about how tough kids are and making big plays and finding ways to win the game and that sort of popped out. Ian's got the memory man, I never question him, he's the vault.
Q: So that was something spontaneous that just happened to come to mind?
A: Yea. In those days a win for the Nets was unusual. They were struggling and winning in Miami on the road made it sweeter with all the New York and Jersey people that live down there. It was something that made sense at the time and I never said it for a while. I guess it popped in once on one of the college games and fortunately it's part of the lexicon, or unfortunately, I'm not sure which.
I can't stress enough how cool this is - I mean come on, the Honky Tonk Man! He was awesome! Seriously, these are two American legends coming together. One of the great sports broadcasters in history and the self-proclaimed greatest IC champ of all-time, who is a WWF legend. Well, not really, but he had a pretty sweet gimmick. While we're here, we might as well relive one of the biggest moments in each man's career. First, to commemorate Opening Day, Vin Scully calling Hank Aaron's 715th career home run...
Second, to commemorate Wrestlemania, the Honky Tonk Man getting defeated by the Ultimate Warrior for the IC Title at Summerslam '88, ending his record reign as champ. Yup, that was the high point for Honky.
***Update: Evidently, we've all been hoodwinked. According to Fang's Bites, the picture isn't Vin's. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted...
With Opening Day upon us it's the perfect time for another edition of Create the Caption! Last time out we featured Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinal wallowing in defeat at the hands of Morehead State. cbweatherman was the winner with, "Mascot: You know that little chicken over there? It's your son. Pitino: How could this happen again?!?" Thanks for participating! Of course for MLB's Opening Day, we have to go to the NBA for our CtC and this hilarious image from Ball Don't Lie of 6'4" John Wall trying to fight 7'3" Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Can you create the caption?
Far From Awful Links
Since it is Opening Day, you simply have to check out this awesome article at GuysGirl. Bloguin's reigning blogger of the year Blythe Brumleve has matched up every MLB team with a character from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I know we were all mega fans 20 years ago! Some random dude contributed as well. [GuysGirl]
Josh Elliott has graduated from SportsCenter to Good Morning America to be a news reader at ABC. Of the countless SportsCenter anchors, I thought Elliott was in the top handful as he mixed news and humor very well without overbearing schtick. He'll be missed at the leader. [ABC]
Earlier this week, we showed you all the hate that Jay Bilas and others lobbed towards VCU before the tourney began. We all know who gets the last laugh, especially with this shirt. [Twitter]
The new ESPN PR blog launched. Meh. [ESPN Front Row]
As an alum of a D-III school, the story of the kid getting in the college slam dunk contest is kinda cool. [Deadspin]
Speaking of D-III athletics, the longest national championship streak of all-time was broken last weekend. Kenyon College men's swimming had won 31 consecutive national championships. They were defeated by North Coast Athletic Conference rival Denison at the national meet in Nashville by 1 point, 500.5 - 499.5. Being an Ohio Wesleyan grad, I've got the chance to announce the last two NCAC swim meets and see these teams battle in person. This is definitely a story worthy of national attention. [NCAA]
Finally, Wrestlemania is right around the corner. Here's a preview. Please make John Cena lose. [Camel Clutch Blog]
Also, make sure to check AA tomorrow for a very special Q&A with one of the most popular broadcasters in sports. I'll give you a hint - vegetables may be involved.
Thursday March 31
Detroit Tigers @ New York Yankees (ESPN 1PM) Sean McDonough, Aaron Boone, Rick Sutcliffe - Yankee Stadium Bronx, NY
San Diego Padres @ St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN 4PM) Dave O'Brien, Nomar Garciaparra - Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
San Francisco Giants @ Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN 8PM) Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, Bobby Valentine - Dodgers Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Friday April 1
Houston Astros @ Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN 1PM) Sean McDonough,Aaron Boone,Rick Sutcliffe - Citizen Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia, PA
Boston Red Sox @ Texas Rangers (ESPN 4PM) Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, Bobby Valentine - Rangers Ballpark, Arlington, TX
Seattle Mariners @ Oakland Athletics (MLBN 10:00PM) Local Broadcast - Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, CA [Alternate Markets: San Francisco Giants @ Los Angeles Dodgers]
Saturday April 2
Detroit Tigers @ New York Yankees (FOX 4PM) Joe Buck, Tim McCarver - Yankee Stadium Bronx, NY
San Francisco Giants @ Los Angeles Dodgers (FOX 4PM) Kenny Albert, Eric Karros- Dodgers Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
San Diego Padres @ St. Louis Cardinals (FOX 4PM) Thom Brennaman, Mark Grace - Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
Boston Red Sox @ Texas Rangers (MLBN 8PM) Local Broadcast - Rangers Ballpark, Arlington, TX [Alternate Markets: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Colorado Rockies]
Sunday April 3
Boston Red Sox @ Texas Rangers (TBS 2PM) Brian Anderson, John Smoltz - Rangers Ballpark, Arlington, TX
San Francisco Giants @ Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN2 8PM) Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, Bobby Valentine - Dodgers Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Happy Opening Day, everyone. The last time you witnessed meaningful baseball, you probably remember Ken Rosenthal wearing a bow tie and making his 5-foot-short frame appear even more hilarious as he'd interview much taller ball players.
Each Friday on FOXSports.com, we will display the bow tie I will wear on that week’s broadcast, along with a description of the charity and how to get involved. For the postseason, we plan to conduct polls on which bow tie I should wear for each game.
Funny how it all comes around. I didn’t want to wear a bow tie because I thought it would distract from my work. [Dhani] Jones’ mission, though, aligns perfectly with how I perceive my job.
My goal with every column is to make people think. Jones, through his bow ties, wants to achieve the same thing. Let’s talk bow ties. Let’s talk charities. Here’s to a great season on FOX.
Amen. Dhani Jones, of course, is a former University of Michigan linebacker who started the bow tie cause after his friend, who had been diagnosed with lymphoma, told him to "rock a bow tie" to the 2000 NFL draft.
Rocking a bow tie has always been perceived as kind of super nerdy, but real scholars can assure you that rocking a bow tie has never been cooler. Kudos to Jones and Rosenthal.
Good news, everyone! The USA Today reports that CBS has decided to bring back the Luther Vandross version of One Shining Moment, scrapping Jennifer Hudson's version after just one year. This whole One Shining Moment controversy has been very new cokeish in my opinion, they messed around with something that didn't need to be changed in the first place. So, after VCU cuts down the nets Monday night, we can all look forward to pretending that we just got something caught in our eyes as one of our old favorites returns to officially end college basketball season.
I'm counting the seconds until ESPN hires Bruce Pearl as an analyst, but in the meantime word has come down that the "Leader" has hired the age defying Jamie Moyer as an analyst for Baseball Tonight. Via ESPN PR....
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Jamie Moyer, a 24-year Major League veteran, has joined ESPN as a Baseball Tonight analyst. Moyer will debut tomorrow, Thursday, March 31, contributing to ESPN’s Opening Day coverage (including the midnight ET episode of Baseball Tonight). He will provide analysis on Baseball Tonight throughout the season.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to work at ESPN,” said Moyer. “It’s a new challenge and I look forward to this forum as a chance to elaborate on the art of pitching as I rehab from injury this season. I hope to get back on the diamond in the future.”
Moyer, who is out for the season following Tommy John surgery, hopes to pitch in 2012.