Vida Blue is one of the most accomplished pitchers of all-time. He won the 1971 AL Cy Young and MVP awards, was a six time All Star, three time World Series champion, and became the first pitcher to start an All Star Game for both the American and National Leagues. He also has one of the greatest names in human history. Blue currently does work as a studio analyst for CSN Bay Area for Giants games. After Sunday's game against the Pirates, which Pittsburgh won 4-1, we turn to Vida Blue for analysis of the game and how difficult it is to sweep a team. He tries to compliment a young "Pirates" team, but it's not as easy as you would think...
Who's ready for some Yanks and Sox!!!
Monday April 16
Minnesota Twins @ New York Yankees (ESPN 7PM) Sean McDonough, Aaron Boone, Rick Sutcliffe
Tuesday April 17
Texas Rangers @ Boston Red Sox (MLBN 7PM) Bob Costas, Jim Kaat [Alt: Twins @ Yankees ]
Philadelphia Phillies @ San Francisco Giants (MLBN 10PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Indians @ Mariners]
Wednesday April 18
Chicago Cubs @ Miami Marlins (WGNA 7PM) Len Kasper, Bob Brenly
Texas Rangers @ Boston Red Sox (ESPN2 7PM) Dave O’Brien, Nomar Garciaparra
Thursday April 19
Chicago Cubs @ Miami Marlins (MLBN/WGNA 12:30PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Dodgers @ Brewers 1PM]
Texas Rangers @ Detroit Tigers (MLBN 7PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Twins @ Yankees]
Cleveland Indians @ Seattle Mariners (MLBN 10PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Athletics @ Angels]
Friday April 20
New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox (MLBN 3PM) Matt Vasgersian, John Smoltz [Alt: Reds @ Cubs 2:15PM]
Los Angeles Dodgers @ Houston Astros (MLBN 8PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Rockies @ Brewers]
Chicago White Sox @ Seattle Mariners (WGNA 10PM) Ken Harrelson, Steve Stone
Saturday April 21
Cincinnati Reds @ Chicago Cubs (WGNA 1PM) Len Kasper, Bob Brenly
New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox (FOX 4PM) Joe Buck, Tim McCarver
Chicago White Sox @ Seattle Mariners (FOX 4PM) Kenny Albert, Eric Karros
Baltimore Orioles @ Los Angeles Angels (MLBN 9PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Indians @ Athletics]
Sunday April 22
Texas Rangers @ Detroit Tigers (TBS 1:05PM) Ernie Johnson, John Smoltz, David Wells
Cincinnati Reds @ Chicago Cubs (WGNA 2:10PM) Len Kasper, Bob Brenly
New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox (ESPN 8PM) Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, Terry Francona
Well, this is interesting. From USC's website...
ESPN Radio and the University of Southern California (USC) today announced a multi-year agreement in which the network will have exclusive national broadcast rights for all home Trojans football games.
This marks ESPN Radio's first nationally exclusive broadcasting agreement with a college football program and only the second such agreement in the industry (Notre Dame and IMG Sports).
"We have had a long relationship with USC which has proven to be an excellent one in many ways," says Tim McCarthy, Sr. Vice President, ESPN Radio Play by Play & Talent Planning. "We will work closely with USC to develop ancillary marketing opportunities to touch USC fans everywhere."
ESPN Radio will present USC games on up to 300 affiliates nationwide. 710 ESPN Los Angeles (KSPN) has been the flagship station of the USC Football Radio Network (Fresno to San Diego) since 2006.
So 300 ESPN Radio affiliates across the country will be airing USC football games this fall. ESPN and USC have always had a tight relationship, with the network relentlessly hyping up the Trojan machine during the Pete Carroll era. (Remember the awful debates declaring the 2005 USC team the greatest ever before they lost the national title game?) Now, those questions of Trojan-friendly bias are going to reach a fever pitch since the university and ESPN are officially business partners.
This could create a lot more issues when USC has a 4 PM eastern game as opposed to a 10 PM eastern game. At 4 PM on the east coast, there are plenty of games starting that would gain a lot more local interest than USC. Penn State's games are broadcast on an FM and an AM station in State College, and the AM station is an ESPN Radio affiliate. So if the Penn State and USC games started at the same time, would the affiliate really air the USC game? That would probably cause riots.
This whole situation reminds me of the Longhorn Network, but on a national level, albeit on the radio. If you want to draw a comparison, this contract is very similar to NBC's television deal with Notre Dame, with national rights to all home games. However, NBC doesn't drive the national sports conversation like ESPN does. If you think that ESPN getting in bed with another school for a deal like this isn't going to lead to even more questions of favoritism, you're out of your mind. At least ESPN can do the next sensible thing and hire Colin Cowherd as their USC pre and post game host.
I think we're beginning to see mounting empirical evidence that the packed NBA schedule is beginning to take its toll on the league's broadcasters. First there was the now infamous tirade launched by Ian Eagle against Mike Fratello. Then, there was Jeff Van Gundy flipping out on flopping and challenging the league office to act. But, perhaps the craziest NBA announcing clip of the weekend comes from Utah Jazz radio play-by-play man David Locke.
The Jazz, on the outside of the playoffs at the moment, were trailing Memphis by 3 in the final seconds. Derrick Favors had a chance to tie the game as he was fouled attempting a layup. But, instead of making the basket and having a chance to tie on an old-fashioned three-point play, Favors missed a bunny. This caused Locke, in his third year with the Jazz, to lose his mind.
It's amazing the emotional roller coaster one feels when listening to this, well... gobbledygook. There's anger, frustration, exasperation, despair, and then a hint of a return to normalcy at the very end. All in all though, it's fantastic that Locke let loose with exactly what he was feeling, even if he couldn't quite put it into words. And, Locke seemed to be a good sport about it on his personal Twitter page. Maybe Locke can use his now relevant gibberishing skills to appear on this famous game show. Or maybe, he really is slowly going insane from a stressful NBA season. Safe to say NBA broadcasters like Ian Eagle, Jeff Van Gundy, and now David Locke deserve a nice long vacation at the end of the year. Start counting down the days.
Not too long ago I met with an individual who was the founder and CEO for a startup who a couple years back sold his company to a larger internet company for a good chunk of change (vague and discrete at his bequest.) When discussing some of the various strategies Bloguin would pursue going forward (Awful Announcing's parent company), he uttered something to the effect of "That's the million dollar question. Do you want a lot of a little, or a little of a lot."
His response was in regards to the equity of a company and if it was better to dole out stock to a larger group of people in hopes of making something very big with the added feet on the ground (but leaving yourself with a smaller slice) or to be more prudent in diluting the stock by not adding people who may not really add much to the equation.
With that in mind, I think the saying can also apply to the pro leagues and conferences and their efforts to maximize revenue from television rights in this new era in which the value of live sports programming has exploded.
The runaway train of ESPN has been the most ahead of the curve, shrewdly acquiring and retaining the vast majority of the crème de la crème to the tune of a nearly $5 carriage fee for every household that has the channel. For comparison, the next highest national channel is not much over a dollar (TNT) and that's largely because of the NBA programming they show.
With additional ESPN channels pulling in solid carriage fees and advertising revenue to go along with their other lines of business (radio, magazine, web, mobile), you can see why the likes of Fox, CBS, NBC, and Turner are trying to figure out how to emerge from an Anchorman like battle royal to become a true competitor to ESPN...
Yesterday during the Knicks/Heat game, a rather routine play in today's NBA game set Jeff Van Gundy off on a tirade Ian Eagle would be proud to hear. James Jones of the Heat flopped to earn an offensive foul on the Knicks' Iman Shumpert, a play that happens seemingly a dozen times a game. However, it must have been one too many times for Van Gundy, who erupted on flopping ruining his beautiful game.
That was great, a reminder why Van Gundy is one of the best in the business. Clearly, his only agenda is his own, and he isn't afraid to thumb his nose at the league office. His best line was going directly at David Stern's salary to call him out on his inaction over flopping, although that will probably cost him a $500,000 fine. Seriously though, both JVG and Mike Breen are correct. There has to be something done to cure the flopping that has taken over the NBA, retroactive punishments being one solution. However, it certainly isn't a problem that can be solved overnight. Just look at soccer.
While the NHL Playoffs are well and truly underway, the NBA still has two weeks left in their regular season. Eventually, the NBA Playoffs will start as well, but until then ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV are saturating their airwaves with plenty of games that have playoff implications. Highlights include an ESPN tripleheader on Saturday, although none of the games are overwhelmingly captivating. The Lakers lead the way with four national appearences this week while the Celtics, Magic, and Clippers each appear three times.
Monday April 16
Philadelphia 76ers @ Orlando Magic (NBA TV 7PM) Local Broadcast
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Clippers (NBA TV 10:30PM) Local Broadcast
Tuesday April 17
Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks (TNT 8PM) Kevin Harlan, Mike Fratello
San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Lakers (TNT 10:30PM) Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Reggie Miller
Wednesday April 18
Orlando Magic @ Boston Celtics (ESPN 8PM) Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown
Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors (ESPN 10:30PM) Dan Shulman, Chris Mullin
Thursday April 19
Chicago Bulls @ Miami Heat (TNT 8PM) Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller
Los Angeles Clippers @ Phoenix Suns (TNT 10:30PM) Dick Stockton, Chris Webber
Friday April 20
Boston Celtics @ Atlanta Hawks (ESPN 7PM) Mark Jones, Doris Burke
Los Angeles Lakers @ San Antonio Spurs (ESPN 9:30) Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy
Saturday April 21
Denver Nuggets @ Phoenix Suns (ESPN 5:30PM) Dave Pasch, Bruce Bowen
Dallas Mavericks @ Chicago Bulls (ESPN 8PM) Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown
Orlando Magic @ Utah Jazz (ESPN 10:30PM) Terry Gannon, Chris Mullin
Sunday April 22
New York Knicks @ Atlanta Hawks (ESPN 1PM) Mark Jones, Doris Burke
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Lakers (ABC 3:30PM) Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy
Houston Rockets @ Miami Heat (NBA TV 6PM) Local Broadcast
New Orleans Hornets @ Los Angeles Clippers (NBA TV 9PM) Local Broadcast
H/T Sammy!no comments
Earlier today, Tim Burke shared video at Deadspin of CBS and New Jersey Nets play-by-play man Ian Eagle incredibly ranting against broadcast partner Mike Fratello on the air. Eagle called Fratello "patronizing" towards him and referred to his analysis as "gobbledygook" in one of the more painfully uncomfortable pieces of commentary in the history of human beings announcing basketball games. But before we get to Ian Eagle's pipebomb detonating all over the YES Network, let's take a look into how it came to be.
What exactly caused this kerfuffle? Here's the original exchange from the end of the third quarter. Greg Stiemsma fails to set a screen for Paul Pierce, leading to a travel on Pierce. The initial exchange between Bird and Czar is rather lengthy and lumbering, but there's nothing from Fratello that seems unintelligible, condescending, or patronizing here as Czar explains setting vs slipping a screen. In fact, it's Eagle that carries on the conversation initially...
Eagle and Fratello can have a dry sense of humor and sarcasm on the air, so maybe they weren't on the same page. It is strange for Fratello to carry on the analysis for so long though. You don't have to be Dr. Jack Ramsay to understand a slip screen. However, there doesn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary until Eagle comes back at Czar with his strange comments after Garnett's jumper.
To add to the quagmire, we also caught this exchange midway through the 4th quarter following a segment highlighting Fratello's time with the Nets. According to Deadspin, this is Fratello's last year on his contract with YES and the Nets. Again, the two seem to be joking... albeit very, very dryly. Eagle even says, "on a serious note, it's been great working alongside you. A lot of fun and I've learned a lot about slip cuts." Oohh boy...
Earlier this week, it was announced that Mike Hill, Mark Schlereth, and John Clayton would be the new ESPN Radio team covering the NFL Draft. Immediately, the question came to mind whether or not there would be a new television team as well for the Draft. SI's Richard Deitsch tweeted the ESPN coverage plans on telelvision, and it's another year of Chris Berman.
Oh well, I guess it's not a surprise that Berman will somehow be back for his 32nd NFL Draft. At this point, it appears only an act of God will take Boomer out of the main anchor chair for the NFL Draft. But what else can we look forward to from the TV coverage by ESPN and NFL Network? Our pal Ken over at Fang's Bites has all of the details in the press releases from both networks. Just a warning, you may want to carve out a couple of hours out of your day to read through the massive list of names involved...
Game 1 of the Wings/Predators series ended in brutality usually only attempted by those heroes competing in the squared circle. That's why this mashup of the incident mixed with the legendary voice of the WWF WWE's Jim Ross was the next logical step for the internet to take.
Weber escaped the incident without suspension and just a fine of $2,500. He also of course is the inspiration of the new meme "Webering" where you smash your buddies face on something and take a picture of it. Whatever, it's still better than Bradying in my completely biased opinion.
I'm sure those in Nashville think this was just some aggressive playoff hockey while people like me who live in Detroit think Weber should immediately have been sent to Guantanamo Bay. That's just how playoff hockey goes. When Justin Abdelkader removes his skate during the next game and attempts to attack the Predators bench I'll probably be able to justify that as well.