Last weekend, game four of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Heat drew an NBA cable record 7.9 rating. That record lasted a total of... two games. Game six on Thursday drew an 8.2 overnight, and game seven between the Celtics and Heat on Saturday shattered that mark, drawing an eye-popping 9.1 overnight rating. The last time there was a game seven in the Eastern Conference Finals was 2005 between the Pistons and Heat, which only had a 6.2 rating. Excluding the NBA Finals, that 9.1 rating is the highest for an NBA playoff game, on either cable or network TV, since 2002, when the Western Conference Finals game seven between the Kings and Lakers drew a 16.0 rating on NBC.no comments
In pretty much the most random thing ever, former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader has now turned his everwatchful eye to the important issue of... obnoxious commercial sponsorship during baseball games. Specifically, Nader does not appreciate the seemingly endless array of sponsorships and advertisements during the broadcast of New York Yankees games on WCBS radio in New York. So, he did what Grandpa Simpson would do, and wrote a strongly worded letter to the organization. From Richard Sandomir in the New York Times...
In a letter Friday to team executives Randy Levine and Brian Cashman, Nader listed 22 in-game ads that ran during the June 1 Yankees-Tigers game; he said they served to “disrupt the flow and excitement of the game broadcast and undermine your responsibilities as a guardian of the national pastime.”
WCBS is paying the Yankees $14 million this year to carry the Yankees, which puts pressure on the station to find advertising revenue in every nook of its broadcasts. The in-game ads are nothing new and have become almost de rigueur on radio and television sportscasts.
Incredibly, there's nothing in the Times that makes note of Nader's thoughts on John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman as broadcasters. If you're wondering what in the world Ralph Nader has to do with sports, he is the founder of the fan advocacy group League of Fans, described as "a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to encourage social & civic responsibility in sports industry & culture." Who knew? Nader has campaigned or advocated for nearly everything under the sun, so maybe this story shouldn't be all that shocking. He does have a point with some of the ridiculousness of the advertisements, like Geico sponsoring the 15th out of the game and the National Anthem even having a sponsor. However, reading advertisements is a part of every single sports broadcast in every single medium, so this is never changing any time soon.
It is nice to dream about a potential Ralph Nader vs John Sterling debate though.
Nascar Sprint Cup racing, early 90's pop music and Twitter combined for a pretty great blooper during yesterday's Pocono 400 where Vanilla Ice was serving as the all-important Grand Marshall of the race. Anyways, early in the race Joe Gibbs Racing team member Denny Hamlin took the lead which inspired their Twitter account to shoot out this Vanilla Ice themed tweet that referenced one of his iconic moments. The TNT racing crew caught it and mistakenly attributed it to Vanilla Ice in this bit of awkward video that comes via @Tlksuperstation.
That's Adam Alexander handling such an odd situation about as well as possible. I'm not sure if he froze up because he noticed it wasn't actually the go ninja go ninja GO guy or if he made a last second audible and decided that 20 seconds of dead air was probably better than using race time to explain that Vanilla Ice actually didn't tweet that.
If you wondered why Vanilla Ice is re-emerging now in 2012, first, stop thinking about such things and second, it's because he's in likely future Razzie nominee That's My Boy where he has the herculean task of playing himself.
This isn't Vanilla Ice's first foray into acting, you should remember him from Cool as Ice back in the day. A movie with possibly the greatest scene ever. EVER.
In Richard Deitch's latest SI media column, news has been broken that ESPN has finally made an innovative, interesting, and risky hire for their coverage of the NBA Finals. No, it's not a professional carnival barker or even a former or current player/coach. Instead, ESPN has hired Steve Javie, one of the most high-profile, controversial officials in recent memory as a pre and post-game analyst during the NBA Finals. While the move might seem minor to some, it's incredibly important for both the quality of ESPN's broadcast and the NBA's credibility.
Of course, the hiring of Javie is inspired by FOX's Mike Pereira, the former head of NFL officiating who has become one of the most important on-screen figures on any network in any sport. Pereira's unique perspective has allowed him to educate fans and announcers alike as he has guided viewers through replays and rules disputes. Seemingly, Javie would serve a similar role for ESPN to provide fans with an official's perspective on the most important calls during the NBA Finals.
For once, ESPN is making a solid decision to strengthen their tepid studio coverage of the NBA. Their decision to skip a traditional host to create their own dynamic chemistry ala Inside the NBA has been largely ineffective. Also, Magic Johnson continues to prove why star players don't make the best transition to television. Although, at least the absence of the Lakers removes his glaring conflict of interest. The inclusion of Javie finally gives the NBA on ESPN something different and better than their competition at Turner.
This week's national MLB schedule features more interleague play, and there are actually a few decent matchups being featured. Although neither team is at the top of their division, the Red Sox visit Wrigley Field and the Cubs for only the second time in their history. The high-riding Nationals also follow up their series with the Red Sox by taking on the Yankees for the biggest series in Washington since the days of Walter Johnson. Before the weekend, there's also the Freeway Series between the Angels and Dodgers on MLB Network.
Monday June 11
Boston Red Sox @ Miami Marlins (ESPN 7PM) Sean McDonough, Aaron Boone, Rick Sutcliffe
Tuesday June 12
New York Yankees @ Atlanta Braves (MLBN 7PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Red Sox @ Marlins]
Los Angeles Angels @ Los Angeles Dodgers (MLBN 10PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Astros @ Giants]
Wednesday June 13
New York Yankees @ Atlanta Braves (ESPN 7PM) Dave O’Brien, Nomar Gariaparra
Thursday June 14
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Texas Rangers (MLBN 8PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: White Sox @ Cardinals]
Friday June 15
Boston Red Sox @ Chicago Cubs (MLBN 2PM) Local Broadcast
New York Yankees @ Washington Nationals (MLBN 7PM) Matt Vasgersian, John Smoltz [Alt: Rockies @ Tigers]
Saturday June 16
New York Yankees @ Washington Nationals (MLBN 1PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Phillies @ Blue Jays]
Boston Red Sox @ Chicago Cubs (FOX 7PM) Joe Buck, Tim McCarver
Cincinnati Reds @ New York Mets (FOX 7PM) Thom Brennaman, Sean Casey
Houston Astros @ Texas Rangers (FOX 7PM) Dick Stockton, Tom Verducci
Miami Marlins @ Tampa Bay Rays (FOX 7PM) Rich Waltz, Brian Anderson
Baltimore Orioles @ Atlanta Braves (FOX 7PM) Kenny Albert, Billy Ripken
Chicago White Sox @ Los Angeles Dodgers (MLBN/WGNA 10PM) Ken Harrelson, Steve Stone [Alt: Giants @ Mariners)
Sunday June 17
New York Yankees @ Washington Nationals (TBS 1:30PM) Brian Anderson, Dennis Eckersley, John Smoltz
Boston Red Sox @ Chicago Cubs (ESPN 8PM) Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, Terry Francona
(photo credit USA Today)
We all know Don Cherry dresses outlandishly and says outlandish things, but this line from CBC's coverage of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final was an eyebrow raiser even by the coach's lofty standards. While host Ron MacLean was discussing travel distances, Cherry scoffs at his use of kilometers and angrily snarls, "don't give me any of that commie stuff." Oh, boy...
Harrison Mooney over at Puck Daddy actually makes a pretty solid case where Don Cherry may actually get the whole notion of an elaborate Communist conspiracy using the metric system since it was adopted in Canada 40 years ago. America got The Beatles while our friends north of the border got centimeters, kilograms, and old Communist conspiracies put forward by hockey analysts wearing brightly colored suits.
There is just so much to unpack in this brief clip. First of all, the metric system was invented by the French, not by communists. Secondly, the metric system is fairly standard all over the world from industrialized nations to third world countries, democracies, dictatorships, socialists, capitalists, and communists. The whole point of the metric system is that it can be universally used by everyone.
Thirdly, anyone who has even taken a high school level science class should tell you the metric system is far more simple and practical than this convoluted North American/Imperialistic measurement thing we have going on. 12 inches = 1 foot and 5280 feet = 1 mile? Whoever thought that was a good idea for standard use? Oh yea, and freezing temperature is magically 32 degrees instead of a number that makes sense, like oh, let's say zero. Please! You know who uses the Farenheit system in day to day life? Us and Belize. That's it! That's the list! And I love Belize, it's a beautiful country, but we have to get with the times. One day we'll eventually adopt the metric system and our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will wonder why their stubborn ancestors like Don Cherry didn't embrace it sooner.
Pop quiz: Who leads MLB in saves right now? I could have also asked who is the closer for the Indians but we gave that away in the article title.
I am guessing Chris Perez has flown under the radar to many sports fans and our readers. A quick crash course in all things Chris Perez should include that he was an All Star last year, 4th in saves in 2011, and was the guy who called out Cleveland fans for not coming out to see the Indians when they were in first place. But after today, I think Perez's name might ring out with a bit more staying power as he's now the guy who yacks when he pitches. Apparently this isn't the first time either. Below is the video, at least until the stodgy, new media gestapo at MLB has a stroke and calls YouTube crying.
I guess credit to the Indians booth for just continuing on with the game recap. Personally, something like a person puking is usually a "stop what you're doing" type of event, but these are real professionals here. If you're curious, Perez threw only 15 pitches and the temperature was about 90 degrees when this occurred, so who knows exactly what led to this memorable moment.
With the Indians still in contention and Perez now adding more excitement at the ballpark, I'd hope the Indians attendance problems for this year are behind them now.
Metta World Peace has certainly been on a roll recently. There was his Ron Artest relapse at the end of the regular season that led him to clock James Harden with a vicious elbow. Then there was his debut as "Metta Man" a superhero who flew on a skateboard and flung curling rocks among other bizarre attributes. Then, poor Mr. Peace got Labor Day confused with Memorial Day, but then again, who among us hasn't mixed up their holidays? Aren't you embarrassed when you try to carve the Thanksgiving pumpkin or set out milk and cookies for the Easter Bunny to come down the chimney?
But, this news.... this new venture by Metta World Peace might take the cake. This summer, Peace is set to debut in a made for TV movie on the Lifetime Movie Network. And shockingly, this time the scary looking guy isn't the villain on a Lifetime movie, at least, not this particular guy! No, Artest is set to play a detective in a movie based on a novel by Headline News anchor/author Nancy Grace. TV Guide has the details:
Peace will make his acting debut in a movie adaptation of Nancy Grace's first novel, The Eleventh Victim, set to premiere in the fall on Lifetime Movie Network. Peace will set down his basketball to play Garlan Fincher, a Georgia detective who works very closely with Atlanta Assistant District Attorney Hailey Dean, played by Beverly Hills, 90210vet Jennie Garth.
Apparently, according to TV Guide's William Keck, Grace and World Peace became fast friends on Dancing With the Stars, where many low-level Hollywood types seem to find themselves these days. Seriously though, World Peace's role doesn't seem to be just a cameo. Hopefully MWP's acting chops are slightly better than his rapping skills. If this works out for MWP maybe he can branch out to other high-quality cable TV movies. I hear there's a sequel to Jersey Shore Shark Attack already in the works.
Charles Barkley's non-basketball forays into the world of athletics are well documented for their humorous failures. While Barkley's golf swing is the stuff of legend, it turns out his softball swing is equally as pathetic. During the telecast for Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, TNT aired Barkley's softball challenge against Hall of Famer and gold medalist Michelle Smith. Watch as Chuck begins by not even getting the bat off his shoulder and then gives one of the weakest swings known to mankind. At least there's no pause in the middle of his softball swing though. Progress! As the set goes over the video tape, I believe you can also hear Shaq shouting, "YABBA DABBA DOO, B*TCH!" In a way, it's the perfect segment to say goodbye to Inside the NBA for 2012...
(H/T Sweater Punch)
This is what ESPN.com looked like Friday night after a 3-1 victory for the USA in their first 2014 World Cup Qualifying game against Antigua and Barbuda (population: 81,000... or, what equates to playing a team devised of people exclusively from Greenville, North Carolina). While three points is three points once the games start to count, a 3-1 scoreline considering the competition was excruciatingly ordinary. To their credit, ESPN.com was able to somehow present the victory as both a comfortable victory and a belabored struggle. While the main portal's link "Making It Look Easy" described an easy victory against the Caribbean side where the Americans "rolled," the headlines said the United States was "shaky" in the victory. Which is it ESPN!?!?!
Later in the evening, the headlines section won this internal tug of war as the portal was changed to "Shake, Rattle, & Roll," describing a less than impressive victory. I'm glad that's settled, then.