Ever wonder what Adam Schefter is doing when he's not compulsively using his Blackberry? From SportsCenter this week, one of the things we learned is that Schefty has a bit of game on the gridiron himself. Just check out this video of a charity football game where Schefter intercepts Tom Brady. That's right, Adam Schefter picks off Patriots QB Tom Brady! This isn't one where Brady throws it right to him like Brett Favre handing a sack to Michael Strahan, either. Just look at those hops that would make Phil Mickelson jealous and the way he reads Brady's eyes like Larry Wilson.
And you thought Jay Glazer was the only NFL newsbreaker with any athletic ability!
One of the elements of SportsCenter that hasn't been as prominent in recent years are the consistent pairings of anchors. Much of this theoretically goes back to the network trying to corral the fame and success of anchors like Dan Patrick & Keith Olbermann. With less emphasis on the individual personalities, the SportsCenter brand remains supreme. There have been a few pairings since throughout the years that resonated with viewers like Rich Eisen and Stuart Scott with perhaps the most notable one currently is the West Coast pairing of Neil Everett & Stan Verrett.
More recently, with the expansion of live SportsCenters into the morning and afternoon hours, the show seems to be returning to more consistent anchor pairings in respective timeslots. Hannah Storm has been featured in the mornings, Chris McKendry in the afternoons, Jay Harris & John Anderson in the early evenings, and the late night pairing of Everett & Verrett as previously mentioned. This week, ESPN announced a couple moves to the SportsCenter anchor lineup that will have a ripple effect throughout ESPN.
First, John Buccigross moves from his 12-3 slot alongside Chris McKendry to the primetime rotation amongst SportsCenter's biggest stars. The shift for Bucci into primetime comes on the heels of a nice extension with the network and the play by play job for the NCAA hockey championship. Although it's an upward move for Buccigross, I'll miss his pairing with McKendry as one that really worked. They had great chemistry together and both were equally adept with the diversity of demands for the live afternoon SC - highlights, interviews, panels, etc.
The second SportsCenter move may be more interesting though. Jay Crawford is leaving the torture chamber of First Take to take Buccigross' spot alongside Chris McKendry from 12-3 in the east. Crawford leaves the show as did former host Dana Jacobson and has been at First Take/Cold Pizza since 2003. (Cold Pizza has survived 8 years?? Is this the greatest surprise in the history of sports television shows?)
With those moves, here's the updated weekday SportsCenter lineup as of July 9th...
During last night's Rockies-Diamondbacks game, Fox Sports Arizona announcers Mark Grace and Daron Sutton introduced the game while dressed... as stormtroopers.
The costumes were hype for this Saturday's Star Wars Day at Chase Field for the Athletics-Diamondbacks game. The Diamondbcks are essentially advertising it as a giant costume party, so that should be fun for the largely oblivious Diamondbacks fans.
As for Grace and Sutton...the duo has been largely panned by baseball fans, but they can provide mindless entertainment at times. With the way the Diamondbacks are playing this year, they really need to up their entertainment factor to take away from the awful baseball on the field.
Around the Horn posts regular behind the scenes videos on their Youtube page and this one from yesterday's show caught our eye. You would think if there was one Around the Horn panelist to create an awkward work enviornment moment by hitting on a co-worker, it would be Woody Paige. Not so fast! Out of the blue, AtH panelist Bill Plaschke gathers up the necessary courage to tell fellow panelist Jackie MacMullan, "you look really hot today." Without thinking, Jackie Mac seems relatively surprised and starts laughing politely. She plays it cool while Plaschke continues his cross country game spitting, calling her "smoking." Watching this video brings to mind a serious question - how can the competitive integrity of Around the Horn be maintained if one panelist is sheepishly hitting on another? Thank goodness Tony Reali and Tim Cowlishaw stepped in... we were this close to a Harold Reynolds situation.
It's been a while since we've covered a good ol' fashioned Twitter War. Thankfully, YES Network broadcaster and ESPN New York radio host Michael Kay dropped the gloves in a massive Twitter fight earlier this week. But it wasn't just anyone Kay squared off with in this Twitter War... wait, actually it was just anyone. For whatever reason, Michael Kay decided to engage in an extended back and forth with a guy named Joey Hendler. Judging from the tweets below, Joey is a senior in college whose Twitter profile picture is Mr. Met.
We usually cover Twitter Wars that take place between media members, but seeing Michael Kay engage in a protracted battle with a largely anonymous Twitter user is all kinds of crazy... and hilarious. In one corner stands a broadcaster for the most famous team in America and one of the biggest sports media personalities in New York. In the other corner stands your everyday college student. Yet, on the battlefield of the Twitterverse, they stand as equals. I'm fully convinced this is why Twitter was invented.
All credit to Bob's Blitz for unearthing the following exchange, in which the television voice of the New York Yankees claims to use a quarter of his brain in getting involved in a public Twitter fight with a college student. Was it enough to get the victory? Get your popcorn ready and let's find out...
Jon Stewart opened Monday night's Daily Show with video he personally recorded from his seats at Citi Field of Johan Santana completing the first no-hitter in New York Mets history. In the short clip he captured his family's joyous reaction and then turned the camera on himself for what potentially might be documentation of the happiest person in the history of mankind. If you missed the show, thankfully twitter user @sp219 uploaded the clip from the show so we can all enjoy it.
The no-hitter wasn't without some controversy. Carlos Beltran's hit did indeed land fair and would have broken up the no-hitter if an umpire didn't botch the call. But that's the "beauty" about baseball, games are often decided by old fat men waddling around and strikezones that change drastically according to who the umpire is and what the weather is like that day.
As a Detroit fan who isn't remotely close to being over Armando Galarraga's robbery, I think arguing about asterisks in these types of situations is petty. If you still feel like complaining that Santana's no-hitter should retroactively not count or be tainted then I personally feel your time might be better suited refilling the water in Buck Nasty's momma's dish instead.
I actually have had the insane luck of attending a no-hitter. Last year myself and three of my best friends were in Toronto for Justin Verlander's second no-hitter. Four diehard Tigers fans among a half-empty Rogers Centre crowd that I'd estimate 80% were oblivious that Verlander had a perfect game going into the late innings (he walked a batter in the 8th). Watching a no-hitter develop in baseball is a unique thing. The Tigers were up 9-0 for much of an early May baseball game and nothing I've seen in sports has ever approached the amount of tension I felt watching that game.
My friends and I are the pathetic type that fully believe in no-hitter superstitions. Not once did we mention the situation that was going on in front of us which probably meant we had about 4 innings of very awkward and forced small talk because we didn't want to be the jerks in the 500 level of the Rogers Centre that were responsible for breaking up the no-hitter.
So seeing Stewart bust out the camera to record the final out was a brave move I'd never dare to do. Thankfully he did, because it's a pretty hysterical clip.
Just about everyone with access to the internet sent us this video that immediately vaults into the pantheon of sports anchoring fails. It comes from WMTW in Maine and anchor Meghan Torussen, who is reporting on the ongoing Celtics-Heat game from Sunday night that went into overtime. It just so happens that the game enters overtime as Torussen's report begins. It's then she breaks the historic news of an NBA playoff game ending in a tie. No wonder this video has gone viral!
"I guess the game just ended, it ended in a tie. This is what my producer is telling me right, woop there ya go, there's the score. 89-89. Uhh, went down to the wire, 21 seconds left, ended in a tie."
Forget for the moment the fact that an NBA playoff game can't possibly end in a tie, and the fact that either the anchor, producer, or both aren't aware of this fact. That's enough to rocket this clip into the Top 10 Announcing Gaffes of 2012 when December rolls around. My favorite part of the clip though may actually be the incredible detail the anchor goes into afterwards in describing the "tie" like the game just magically ended with 21 seconds left. We're given no players' names, no details, no stats, no nothing, just that the game ended in a tie... almost as if Bud Selig magically threw his hands into the air and it was so.
The in-game interview is a useful exercise... in theory. An intrepid sideline reporter gets a chance to ask a coach a few hard-hitting questions about the game as it unfolds. In sports like hockey, basketball, baseball, and soccer, these interviews offer a rare look at a coach's thought process during a game... in theory. Most of the time, these interviews offer nothing more than the regular cliches and coachspeak that every manager/coach seems to know by heart. During the regular season, these interviews rarely ever offer the insight they could provide unless a media-savvy coach like Doc Rivers is feeling talkative.
However, during the playoffs, this dog and pony show reveals itself as the facade it truly is. The last thing coaches want to do as they're fighting for their playoff life is to answer a question from Craig Sager or Pierre McGuire about strategy or momentum or adjustments. But last night before the 4th quarter of the Spurs/Thunder game, San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich took the in-game interview to new heights...
Keep in mind, this is the full transcript...
Sager: "Well coach a dramatic turnaround in the beginning of that third quarter, what were you doing so well that you'd like to see here in the fourth?"
Popovich: "We competed"
Sager: "Manu Ginobili made the start, he's been playing very well, how will you use him in the offense here in the fourth?"
Popovich: "Same way"
Sager: "All right thanks a lot, back to you Marv."
Four words from Pop. Four.
Pop couldn't even look Sager in the eye, and it wasn't like Sager was even wearing one of his more offensive ensembles. Even Marv Albert and Steve Kerr were poking fun at this joke of an "interview." Isn't it time ESPN and TNT gave up hoping against hope for anything noteworthy to actually come from an in-game coach's interview? Popovich could have saved half of the effort and just told Sager to "f*** off" and it would have been of equal value to the audience.
The Los Angeles Kings' run to the Stanley Cup Finals has seen plenty of ineptitude from the local media thus far, which the team itself mocked in a great infographic, but the next error is coming... from inside the house! The Kings set up a cool pre-game intro for their first home game in the Finals Wednesday and tapped a tremendous guest to drop the puck: franchise legend Wayne Gretzky, whose trade to L.A. in 1988 kick-started hockey in Southern California, led to the Kings' most recent Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1993 and even inspired a renowned ESPN 30 for 30 film, "Kings Ransom." However, their own PA announcer must not have seen the documentary or read any of the endless Gretzky coverage. Via Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy, here's video of the public address announcer introducing Gretzky:
Yep, that's how the announcer chooses to describe Gretzky: "His play on the ice rewrote the NHL record books, and his arrival in Los Angeles in 1998 changed the face of hockey and the NHL forever." Gretzky classily ignored the error and went on to drop the puck as planned, but there were plenty of bemused reactions in the arena and across the Twitterverse. If the Kings' own announcer can't get their history right, do they really have a right to call out the rest of the media for errors? Of course, Wayne Gretzky arriving in Los Angeles in 1998 really would have changed the NHL forever, but in a vastly different way: Gretzky was in his final season in 1998-99 with the New York Rangers, and only produced a career-low nine goals in 70 games (although he did add 53 assists) before finally hanging his skates up. That Gretzky wouldn't have made hockey take off in Southern California. Fortunately, the 1988 Gretzky did, tallying 30-plus goals and 120-plus points in five of his eight seasons in Los Angeles and turning the Kings into a formidable force. Many of the Kings' fans surely remember that, even if their announcer doesn't.
The Boston Celtics knotted up the Eastern Conference Finals with the Miami Heat at two games a piece with an overtime victory in Game 4 in Boston. Boston led by 14 at the break, but Miami came back to tie the game early in the fourth quarter and the game went back and forth down to the closing minutes, including the mandatory debate regarding LeBron James' clutchness. That continued into overtime when James and Paul Pierce fouled out and Boston won 93-91 when Dwyane Wade's three missed at the horn. The close game and starpower was a big winner for ESPN and the Association as the overtime game became the highest rated NBA game in cable history with an impressive 7.9 rating. Via ESPN...
Sunday night’s NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 on ESPN – in which Boston defeated Miami in overtime to even their series 2-2 – delivered a 7.9 overnight rating, the highest ever for an NBA playoff game on cable (records back to 2003), according to Nielsen. The game peaked with a 10.7 rating during overtime.
The 7.9 overnight rating is up 39 percent compared to Game 4 of the 2011 Western Conference Finals – Mavericks/Thunder – on ESPN (5.7) and up 30 percent compared to Game 4 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals – Magic/Celtics – on ESPN (6.1).
In Boston, the game generated a 20.7 rating, the highest for an NBA playoff game ever in the market. Additionally, the game posted a 19.8 rating in Miami – the third highest rating for an NBA playoff game on ESPN in the market.
The NBA can't ask for much more from this series, except for maybe having their officials not be one of the major stories. With the series shifting back to Miami, these numbers should only increase if we get close games as the series continues. To put the impressive Celtics/Heat number in perspective, Game 4 of Thunder-Spurs drew a 4.9 rating. Besides Tiger Woods (who shot ratings for The Memorial up 138% on Sunday), there is no athlete/team that moves the needle like the Miami Heat and LeBron James.