April fools day is the day that assholery is celebrated. If it were possible to funnel the serious amounts of critical thinking that so many put into their April fools day pranks into solving some of the planet's dire issues I'd be confident many illnesses would be a thing of the past and we'd all be gliding around on our hoverboards today.
Unfortunately for Michelle Beadle, some of her producers at ESPN decided to play a prank on her for April fools day... and they got her good. Check out this clip they put up on Youtube for everyone to enjoy...
At ESPN they must make their on-air talent do some wacky things very often. I mean, she hardly hesitated when the producer told her the premise of the bit was that she was going to wear one of those green screen suits and pretend to be a fighter jet. It's nice that Beadle has a sense of humor about the entire thing. She vows revenge and we can only hope that somehow Cowherd is the target.
Like the sun rising each morning in the east, Keith Olbermann has suffered another less-than-friendly divorce with a network. On Friday, Keith's newest employers Current TV fired the face of their network about a year after signing him to a massive five year, 50 million dollar deal to be their Chief News Officer. (And you thought Jayson Werth's signing was a bad contract!) After a successful run at MSNBC that saw Olbermann and his show Countdown thrust into the national spotlight as a ferocious liberal voice, Olbermann abruptly left the network last January. At MSNBC, Olbermann had his most successful and sustained run since his days anchoring "The Big Show" with Dan Patrick on SportsCenter.
To anyone who has followed Keith Olbermann's media career, this news is as surprising as one of John Calipari's players leaving college after one year. Here's his history of burning bridges and bomb dropping at various networks...
1992-1997: ESPN - Olbermann left after various clashes with management and an infamous appearance on Craig Kilborn's late night show calling Bristol, CT a "godforsaken place" which resulted in a suspension. Olbermann's tumultuous tenure in Bristol was a popular subject in the ESPN book, with Bob Ley saying, "We felt not so much relief when Keith left as unrestrained f*cking joy."
1998-2001: Fox Sports Net - Olbermann hosted "The Keith Olbermann Evening News" and was involved with Fox's MLB coverage. That arrangement ended after Olbermann reported on the potential sale of the LA Dodgers, owned at the time by Rupert Murdoch of News Corp... who also happened to be writing Olbermann's checks. Amazingly, Olbermann and Murdoch have different takes on exactly how Olbermann's Fox tenure ended.
2003-2011: MSNBC - Between Olbermann's stints in sports, he also delved into news, working briefly at both MSNBC and CNN. It was in 2003 where Olbermann made the move to news and political commentary full-time. At MSNBC, Olbermann became one of the most noted Iraq War and Bush Administration critics on television. Olbermann was the centerpiece of MSNBC moving their network in a liberal direction. Countdown with Keith Olbermann was MSNBC's highest rated show for a significant length of time and led the push past CNN in the ratings behind the largely conservative Fox News. While at MSNBC, Olbermann also had a brief stint co-hosting NBC's Football Night In America with Dan Patrick. In spite of Olbermann making his mark in news and politics, again the relationship ended in flames - first with a suspension, then with a full parting of the ways.
That's quite the impressive trail of destruction. So where does Olbermann's most recent breakup with Current TV leave him...
At the First Four in Dayton, CBS's Clark Kellogg interviewed President Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. It was Kellogg's third interview with the sitting President, which is more than only a small handful of individuals can ever say. Well, believe it or not, during tonight's Championship game between Kentucky and Kansas the CBS analyst will get his fourth interview with President Barack Obama. This time, Kellogg again returns to the White House, where he last threw lost a game of H.O.R.S.E against President Obama. Here's the details from CBS...
During the interview President Obama discusses how coaching his daughter Sasha’s basketball team brings him more joy than he ever got playing himself. During the conversation, Kellogg returns to the Presidential Court at the White House where he lost a close game of POTUS (horse) to the President in 2010.
The interview will air at some point during CBS's coverage of the title game tonight, which starts at 9 ET (even Bud Selig thinks that's late). Clark did a phenomenal job interviewing President Obama and PM Cameron in Dayton, and I'd expect this to be another fine interview. An interview with a sitting President is always news during any sporting event, but it's tough to see an element that would make this interview compelling because we've seen it all before. Given all the food analogies in his analysis and the Final Four in New Orleans, maybe Emeril Lagasse would have been a better choice for CBS and Kellogg to provide something new.
The game-ending call of the national championship game from CBS's Jim Nantz has taken on a life of its own over the years. Last year was perhaps Jim Nantz's finest hour in the prepared line department as he rang off not one, not two, but three dog puns in last year's Bulldogs v Huskies national title game. Unfortunately, there have been no videos of Nantz preparing his one-liners in the car as there were last year. Nantz's skill in dropping one-liners that can live in highlight films for all eternity is one of his trademarks as a play by play man. With that in mind, before Kansas plays Kentucky in the national championship game tonight, we thought it would be helpful to provide a few friendly suggestions for Nantz's call at the final buzzer tonight...
If Kansas wins...
"Rock chalk champions!" (via JoeCNC)
"There's no blues in Lawrence tonight!" (via g_burkhardt04)
"Chalk up another title for Bill Self!" (via RnR_NCSU)
"The Kansas Jayhawks overcome their Cat Scratch Fever to Fly to the Top of the College Basketball mountain. Kansas CHAMPS!" (via DKinAU)
"History repeats itSELF" (via moosebigelow)
"Rockchalk Comeback, Kansas is the National Champion" (via jaykinney)
"Rock Chalk another one up for Bill Self!" (via andrewkarcher)
If Kentucky wins...
"It's a Big Blue Planet and we're just living on it! Kentucky! National Champions!" (via fangsbites)
"This time it counts... for now!" (via AA)
"No matter what sport, the SEC owns the Superdome. Kentucky are National Champions!" (via rolanich)
"The National Championship is returning to its old Kentucky Home!" (via thatJoshKail)
"Brow down to the champion, the Kentucky Wildcats!" (via AndyJenksNBC12)
"The bluegrass is greener on THIS side of the fence!" (via bitterwhiteguy)
"Kentucky bourbon will be flowing on Bourbon st tonight, friends. Big blue gets another big win!" (via mitchcarrtv)
"Kentucky has won and done itself a championship!" (via chuck_carney)
"It's a Blue Bayou. Kentucky wins the national title." (via JoeMsrightarm)
"He hasn't vacated it yet, Calipari and the Cats take home the trophy!" (via brianbuck13)
"Big Blue Nation wins the title in the Big Easy!" (via RYbbc34)
It's no secret that local television sports coverage can sometimes tend towards homerism, but from this perspective, what's particularly funny and sad simultaneously is when reporters use their media access to channel their own feelings about the team and disguise it as journalism. This is especially true when they try to portray themselves as stand-ins for all the fans out there (many of whom would probably be more reasonable). One of the most amazing cases in point comes from CTV News Toronto's sports anchor and director Lance Brown, whose "report" on the disappointing season of the NHL's Maple Leafs seems like a combination of Network, A Few Good Men and Anchorman. In fact, Ron Burgundy might do a better job. If you've ever wondered what would happen if you let a message-board ranter into a locker room and filmed the results, check out this video:
Some highlights from Brown's nearly-four-minute rant about the state of the Leafs disguised as an investigative piece:
—"We like to joke about the Leafs not winning, but there's nothing funny about what happened this year, nothing. Ours are the most devoted fans in the country, and they get that crap."
—"You have to hate to win in the NHL, hate your opponent, hate losing. It's become fashion to lose; it's become sickening to watch." (One wonders if he's suggesting that hate is a required character trait for victory, or that successful teams despise winning.)
—"It shouldn't surprise anyone that they didn't show up at the announced time this morning, they didn't show up at all last night and they haven't shown up for the better part of the last 24 years."
—To captain Dion Phaneuf: "You personally, have you provided the leadership a captain of this franchise needs at a time like this?" (Phaneuf's "What do you think?" response is pretty great.)
—Brown's later comment on Phaneuf: "He's dedicated. He tries. He just shouldn't be captain."
—"Do you have an explanation for your own troubles lately?"
—To Luke Schenn: "Luke, what do you tell the fans of Toronto? ... Do you think the fans deserve an explanation?"
—Closing comment: "Defeat does not rest lightly on some shoulders here, but it rests, and resides, and it has for eight years."
While it's hilarious to watch, the view from this corner is that this is some of the worst ambush journalism seen on television since Buddy Wood, and that was a parody. It's not just Brown's fandom talking, either; there are plenty of diehard Leafs fans who don't work in the media, but would be more reasonable and professional in an interview setting than he was here. That's stunning, considering that he's worked for CTV Toronto since 1985 and should definitely know better. Brown may have set out to embarrass the Leafs' organization, but while he's mad as hell, it's doubtful he'd be able to handle the truth; his inability to stay classy means he's the one who should be embarrassed here, and that says something given the disarray the Leafs are in.
March Madness reaches its conclusion tonight with the Final Four taking place in New Orleans. If you're anything like me, you've spent the last several nights walking around your neighborhood muttering to yourself why the NCAA Tournament actually ends on April 2nd. Anyways, Kentucky vs Louisville and Ohio State vs Kansas should be two outstanding games and hopefully we'll see some outstanding Billies nominees this week. Charles Barkley leads the standings by a healthy margin, but Clark Kellogg is still within reach. Kellogg, Jim Nantz, and Steve Kerr will call the Final Four with a cast of thousands in the studio. Leave us all the announcer and analyst quotes in the comments below or tweet them to us at @awfulannouncing and/or by using the hashtag #BPAA.
Perhaps Robert Montgomery Knight had a long night on Bourbon Street with the Final Four in New Orleans and the ESPN Gameday crew on site in the Big Easy. After a segment with John Anderson and Len Elmore, we're thrown back to the main set with host Rece Davis, Hubert Davis, Digger Phelps, Brian Fantana, and Bobby Knight. When we join the main set, Knight is either sleeping, suffering from a terrible headache, intently studying his notes... or Tebowing at his desk. Knight is looking down at the ground and Digger Phelps not-so-subtlely taps his elbow to bring him back to consciousness. You have to love how smoothly Knight casually rises from his slumber and/or trance. Is sleeping on the set another example of ESPN allowing Bobby Knight to play by his own rules? Eh, probably not. Maybe he just had a wild night partying with his newfound friends from Kentucky, he has learned to say the word after all...
Craig Carton from WFAN-New York's "Boomer and Carton" show takes it to Hank Haney, for writing a book about Tiger Woods: "The Big Miss." Haney defends the book itself as positive, in regards to how it portrays Tiger Woods, and Carton is a asserting that it was a violation of Woods' trust. The interview and exchanges grow increasingly heated as the interview drags on; culminating with Haney hanging up well after twenty minutes. You can see the interview for yourself, in it's entirety:
Check the transcript for some of the juiciest quotes after the jump...
MLB Advanced Media is at it again. We’ve vented about their blackout policies, and their draconian hold on all video clips. Going into the 2012 season, I figured that maybe things would change a little bit… yeah, I was wrong.
Spring Training is generally a time where no one cares about the games, or the stats…. but dammit, fans just want to see baseball. A year after the NFL made a huge deal about airing every preseason game on the NFL Network, MLB made maybe 30% of its Spring Training games available not on MLB Network, but on MLB.TV. MLB Network would generally air maybe one or two games a day most days of the week. I understand it’s impossible to air all of the games on TV because of the sheer quantity of MLB games in a season, but MLB didn’t even go above and beyond to get the games available online. I’ve discussed how ridiculous the games that ESPN chose to air were, and essentially, how the aired games did nothing to advance the spring along or help MLB. But to not air all of the games online on MLB’s fantastic streaming video service is almost unforgivable.
Because of the lack of games being aired, you missed out on a lot of highlights. For example, during Thursday’s Braves vs Nationals game, Jason Heyward apparently hit a titanic homer, over the 40 foot wall in center field 404 feet from home plate. Of course, the only people who actually saw this were the people at the game, since there were no cameras there recording video. The process for putting highlights from spring games so far seems bizarre too. I was at Wednesday's Braves vs Yankees game, and Heyward made a sensational catch to rob Raul Ibanez of a home run. I checked my MLB At Bat app maybe a half hour later to see if any video was up. Of course, it wasn’t. But dammit, there WAS video of Heyward scoring on a wild pitch, Martin Prado hitting a routine RBI single, and a sliding catch from Jose Constanza that was a tenth less impressive than Heyward’s catch. Video of the homer-robbing play wasn’t uploaded online and on the app until much later in the evening…after a recap of Brandon Beachy’s start that day, of course. Because of the lack of video, I had to settle for an animated GIF of the catch. While that’s all fine and dandy… it’s not anywhere nearly as good to see in comparison to a video.
By the way, those mundane highlights are all embeddable while the real highlight, Heyward's catch, is not.