Terrelle Pryor's summer odyssey has now taken another interesting step, straight into the arms of Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden. The maligned former Buckeye and current NFL prospect sat down with Gruden for one of his "QB Camp" specials that will air on June 30 at 9pm ET. Excerpts will also run during the week on SportsCenter leading up to the special. Let's look at the TP saga step by step, because I'm having a hard time figuring this out...
-Top HS prospect hyped as the next greatest player in the history of college football.
-Prospect makes his decision to attend Ohio State live on ESPN to an audience of millions.
-Ohio State QB criticized for not matching previous hype and not being the greatest player in the history of college football.
-OSU QB enters into feud with ESPN analyst, also a former OSU QB.
-Player is embroiled in memorabilia/tattoo scandal that warrants a suspension as his coach loses his job and the school falls into a great scandal.
-As OSU coach resigns, QB is vilified by media and comes under more off-field scrutiny.
-Now disgraced QB leaves OSU, plans to enter NFL Supplemental Draft as media experts question his skills and future as an NFL prospect.
-NFL prospect participates in ESPN show about improving his questionable QB skills and future in the league.
Excuse me if I'm the only one that is troubled by Terrelle Pryor's relationship with ESPN and the way the sports media has covered him the last four years. It was ESPN and the sports media that built Pryor up to impossible heights. It was ESPN and the sports media that killed him for not living up to that hype (in spite of going 31-4 as a starter and winning a Rose Bowl and winning a Sugar Bowl and being MVP in both of those games). It was ESPN and the sports media that shamed him throughout the Tressel scandal. And now, it's ESPN and the sports media that will cling to his story of trying to make it in the NFL... and ESPN will get a TV special and a week's worth of SportsCenter segments out of it. Here's a preview from SportsCenter today and thoughts about the special...
After last year's NFL season, we discussed Fox's inferior NFL broadcasting teams in comparison to their network rivals at CBS. From top to bottom, CBS is deeper and better in the broadcast booth when it comes to pro football. This offseason though, Fox is slowly taking steps to improve their network roster. First, it was the all-star signing of Gus Johnson and now comes the arrival of former Dolphins and current free agent QB Chad Pennington. After seriously injuring himself in the offseason playing a pickup basketball game, Pennington will take the year off and join Fox. Here's some details from the Sacramento Bee:
"I'm going to take this year off, get healthy," Pennington told The Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail at a Thursday speaking engagement before the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Pennington, who signed a one-year contract with Fox, will be paired with Sam Rosen on one of the network's announcing teams. "He came to Los Angeles for an audition a few weeks ago, and we think he has a chance to be a pretty successful analyst," Fox Sports representative Dan Bell said Saturday morning.
Immediately, one has to wonder if this means that Fox analyst Tim Ryan (Rosen's partner the last few seasons) is getting the axe from Fox or is being moved down the analyst chain. There's no mention of Ryan in the article, so it looks like Rosen/Pennington will go forward as a two man booth. If Ryan does stay aboard, that may mean no more room for Torry Holt. Darn. Pennington has always seemed like a smart guy and should be a good addition for Fox. Time will tell just how well Pennington transitions to the booth, but he will likely be a step up from Ryan. Pennington may also be able to provide some unique and thoughtful analysis having played in the league last year. Hopefully for his own sake, NFL analyst Chad Pennington will be the first TV personality that doesn't criticize QB Chad Pennington for his lack of arm strength.
Comedy Central has decided to give the axe to Sports Show with Norm Macdonald and Onion SportsDome. Comedy Central surprised many by introducing two separate shows that focused on the comedy of sports after ignoring this area for so long. And let's face it; we know as well as anyone that sports are a gigantic never-ending resource of ridiculous figures/shows who take themselves wayyy too seriously. Comedy Central even stuck our best people on it, Norm Macdonald was back in familiar territory behind the desk updating us on the news in sports and SportsDome was a spot-on parody of SportsCenter being run by America's Finest News Source, The Onion. Both shows were among my favorites on my DVR, and the decision to cancel them after one short season each was a disappointment.
I was very hopeful that SportsDome would be given another season to find its legs. Sure, its bits certainly didn't hit all the time, but when they worked, they were fantastic. I thought SportsDome nailed the small nuances that make SportsCenter insane and what it is, but struggled when they decided to mock more current material that came off as somewhat dated by the time it aired. Plus, for no real rhyme or reason, the show was extremely dark, which I think threw a lot of people off. Recurring dark bits such as, "who would you kill?" and "the Toad" were ideas I enjoyed, but I definitely can see why they did not click with a wide audience. Still, I felt they got so much of the show right, and I really wanted another season to see if they could iron out some of their misses. Plus, after reading the ESPN book, there really is no other group of people that need to have their ego checked as much as so many at ESPN these days.
The Norm Macdonald show was exactly what I think all of us thought it would be. It was Norm and his unique, dry, and sarcastic tone making fun of sports for 30 minutes. Personally, Dirty Work (one of the first DVD"s I ever bought) and his time doing Weekend Update on SNL are things I always found to be fantastic, so I was eagerly looking forward to his show. Still, I was completely surprised that Comedy Central gave him his own show because, let's face it, Norm's a polarizing comedian. Plus, he's been around for a long time and he's awesomely stubborn and his audience is firmly established. Many just do not appreciate his schtick. Also, Norm hasn't been commercially successful in a long time, but he has a small, dedicated fanbase that will always support whatever he is doing. Unfortunately, small and dedicated audiences are not things that result in renewals in a bottom line business. While I'm upset with the cancellation, I think most fans of Norm realize this certainly won't be the last time we will be hearing from him.
With two misses, this certainly looks like the end of sports satire on the small screen for the time being. Let's just hope this doesn't mean Comedy Central takes us down that dark path once again and replaces these shows with Mind of Mencia and Jeff Dunham clones.
Given $4 of your cable bill goes to ESPN every month, I thought it was odd that my television was now asking me to fork over $6 just to watch one late night SportsCenter. Obviously a glitch with DirectTv, but quite the bold ultimatum. Would there ever be a scenario you'd pay extra to watch SportsCenter? With the amount of Rick Reilly on of late, I'm not sure you could pay me $6 to watch Sportscenter.
Joe Buck has been the lead broadcaster for Fox's MLB coverage since its inception in 1996. That's fifteen years of Buck & McCarver as the national voices of baseball. In that timespan, we've seen Joe Buck go from Jack Buck's kid to the most notable play by play man in sports. Joe Buck has announced the World Series, the Super Bowl, hosted Fox's NFL Pregame, and even had his memorable, hilarious trainwreck of a late night career. Yet through it all, Joe Buck has been a baseball guy, getting his start with his father's team, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Somewhere in those fifteen years though, scores of baseball and sports fans turned against Joe Buck. Maybe it was his overreaction to Randy Moss, maybe it was admitting that he didn't enjoy baseball anymore, maybe it's his too understated play by play, maybe it's his smug demeanor and failed late night career. Nevertheless, at some point, Joe Buck was transformed from the bright, young, shining star of sports broadcasting to one of the most disliked announcers in sports. In fact, it's almost a near certainty that you will find Joe Buck's name trending on Twitter during Saturday's Fox MLB coverage and always because fans are destroying him.
In this year's season though, something else has been different about Joe Buck... his voice itself. For several months, Joe Buck has been dealing with a virus in his vocal cords since after the NFL season ended. The ailment has caused his voice to sound weaker and hoarse. You can really tell that Buck's voice is struggling in this botched call of a Reed Johnson solo home run in this weekend's broadcast of a Cubs-Yankees game. Thankfully, the virus isn't painful or causing any damage to Buck's voice (we're not completely heartless and actually wish Joe the best in health), but fans are taking notice of what sounds wrong with Joe and it is hurting the Fox broadcast.
Simply, Fox needs to sit Joe Buck and his voice and take him off their MLB coverage for the time being. Not just for the present, but for the overall outlook of MLB on Fox...
Interleague play takes centerstage once again this week with some interesting matchups across the big leagues. Unfortunately for all you Joe Buck fans, we don't have the Fox assignments at the moment, but Indians-Giants looks like the pick of the weekend matchups as Sunday Night Baseball will be in San Francisco.
Monday, June 20
New York Yankees @ Cincinnati Reds (ESPN 7:00) Sean McDonough, Aaron Boone, Rick Sutcliffe
Tuesday June 21
New York Yankees @ Cincinnati Reds (MLBN 7PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Toronto @ Atlanta]
Chicago Cubs @ Chicago White Sox (WGNA 8PM) Len Kasper, Bob Brenly
Minnesota Twins @ San Francisco Giants (MLBN 10PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Detroit @ LA Dodgers]
Wednesday June 22
Philadelphia Phillies @ St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN 8PM) Dave O'Brien, Nomar Garciaparra
Thursday June 23
Seattle Mariners @ Washington Nationals (MLBN 1PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Oakland @ NY Mets]
Philadelphia Phillies @ St. Louis Cardinals (MLBN 8PM) TBA [Alt: Arizona @ Kansas City]
Friday June 24
Oakland Athletics @ Philadelphia Phillies (MLBN 7PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Colorado @ NY Yankees]
Chicago Cubs @ Kansas City Royals (WGNA 8PM) Len Kasper, Bob Brenly
Saturday June 25
New York Mets @ Texas Rangers (FOX 4PM) TBA
Cleveland Indians @ San Francisco Giants (FOX 4PM) TBA
Los Angeles Angels @ Los Angeles Dodgers (FOX 4PM) TBA
Washington Nationals @ Chicago White Sox (FOX 4PM) TBA
Minnesota Twins @ Milwaukee Brewers (MLBN 7PM) Local Broadcast [Alt: Oakland @ Philadelphia]
Chicago Cubs @ Kansas City Royals (WGNA 8PM) Len Kasper, Bob Brenly
Sunday June 26
Colorado Rockies @ New York Yankees (TBS 2PM) Ernie Johnson, John Smoltz
Washington Nationals @ Chicago White Sox (WGNA 2PM) Ken Harrelson, Steve Stone
Cleveland Indians @ San Francisco Giants (ESPN 8PM) Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, Bobby Valentine
Instead, the major story coming out of NBC's coverage of the US Open is their inexplicable decision to cut out the words "under God" from a patriotic opening montage that included the Pledge of Allegiance. Dan Hicks was then forced to sheepishly apologize later during the broadcast. Before we break it down, here's the video...
With that little omission, the internet was thrown up in arms and NBC was caught in the middle of political, social, and religious crossfire, and all of it totally unnecessary...
H/T Darren Rovell
Say what you will about the pros and cons of interleague play, but it made for a nice moment this weekend when Derek Jeter chalked up his 3,000th hit in the Yankees 3-2 victory over the Cubs didn't play due to a calf strain. And because the future Hall of Famer crossed that coveted baseball milestone in Chicago, kicked back and enjoyed a few hot dogs while watching the game in his mansion, we were treated to this little number by Ryan Dempster, who paid tribute both to Jeter and the late Harry Caray.
I don't know who this Caray fella is, but Ryan Demptser sure does a solid Will Ferrell impression.
In today's Cubs-Yankees game at Wrigley Field, the Cubs (who I am a diehard fan of, unfortunately) were trailing 4-2 as they entered the bottom of the ninth inning. Then, Reed Johnson led off the ninth inning with a home run off of future Hall of Famer, Mariano Rivera, to cut the Yankees' lead to 4-3.
But, Joe Buck, the play-by-play announcer today for the Fox broadcast, thought Johnson's home run tied the game. And thankfully, I had my Flip camera handy to get video of his gigantic fail of a home run call.
Check it out:
Seriously, how does the play-by-play announcer not know the score in that situation? As a Cubs fan, if I walked into a room without knowing the score and heard Buck's call, I would be furious.