Charles Barkley has previously been heard discussing his gig as a spokesman for WeightWatchers as "stealing money" when he was caught with a hot mic earlier this season. WeightWatchers has done wonders for Barkley, not just for his wallet, but for his newly svelt physique. In his newest commercial, Sir Charles attributes losing 42 pounds to WeightWatchers. He also begins to earn his paycheck from WeightWatchers... by dressing in drag. I'm not sure Charles Barkley dressing in drag is something anybody actually wants to see, but it sure does make for an eye-catching commercial. You have to give credit to Charles for putting himself out there like this. I just wonder how much time he took to perfect that hair flip...
Joe Posnanki, one of the best and most acclaimed sportswriters in the country, is leaving Sports Illustrated less than three years after joining the magazine and will be joining the new USA Today/MLB Advanced Media group as reported by The Big Lead.
Posnanski joined SI in August of 2009, leaving the Kansas City Star and going national. For SI, he wrote about all sports, but mainly focused on baseball. Posnanski's style translated best to baseball, which is why this move makes a lot of sense. It's unknown what Posnanski's role will be with the USA Today/MLBAM group, but one has to believe that he'd be a featured columnist in the USA Today, as well as their Sports Weekly offshoot, and for MLB.com, with possible on-camera work on the MLB Network coming along as well.
Most of the talking heads on MLB Network are of the "reporter" or "analyst" variety. Posnanski is more of a "storyteller," which isn't a bad thing at all, considering how well he does it. I'm not sure how that would work on a highlight type show, but Posnanski could probably work well participating in a biography type show, or perhaps moderating a panel like the MLB Greatest Games series.
Whatever Posnanski's role ends up being, odds are that he'll thrive in his new role focusing on his bread and butter: baseball. His departure continues the musical chairs game of writers changing employers in recent months, which includes the likes of Bruce Feldman, Pat Forde, Jon Heyman, and a host of others.
[h/t: The Big Lead]
During a Tuesday interview on the Boston-area Mut & Merloni show, former Red Sox pitcher (and current ESPN analyst) Curt Schilling blasted Bobby Valentine, saying (among other things), "I don't think this is going well. And I think it's going bad quicker than I expected it to," referring to Valentine's brief tenure thus far as Red Sox manager.
I know Schilling has a vested stake in this, being a former Red Sox legend and a loyalist to former manager (and current ESPN co-worker) Terry Francona, but jeez, can't the guy even get a chance during the regular season?
Schilling also said he felt, "Bobby's trying to re-invent the game. I don't think players have ever responded well to that." After last season's beer and fried chicken fueled collapse in September, it's clear to me that the Red Sox management wants to re-invent their clubhouse culture, and the hiring of Valentine and ouster of former manager Francona was the first step taken towards curing that.
I do agree with Schilling on one thing, though. Disagreements happen between the GM and manager all the time, and they're happening frequently with Valentine and GM Ben Cherington. Schilling mentions, "If it truly is a power struggle, then one of those two guys is an ex-something waiting to happen." Considering that Cherington didn't even want to hire Valentine and was essentially forced into it by ownership, I can really see this blowing up sooner rather than later. If that does happen, the criticism of Bobby V will be at a fever pitch.
If this is the Curt Schilling that is going to be trotted out this season on ESPN airwaves, I say BRING IT ON. It's refreshing to see candor from an analyst as opposed to the filtered talking points that you've heard for years.
ESPN college basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb is reportedly interested in the vacant Kansas State head coaching job, which was left by Frank Martin this week when he became the head coach at South Carolina.
Gottlieb has no coaching experience, but he's trying to put himself in prime positioning for the job by using his ESPN celebrity as a recruiting tool. Gottlieb's logic is that every recruit who watches nationally televised games is familiar with his face, and that gives him more credibility. A pair of recent examples of coaches to go from the analyst chair to a head coaching job include NC State coach Mark Gottfried and St John's coach Steve Lavin. Both Lavin and Gottfried had fantastic recruiting classes in their return to the game, but is that because of their previous coaching experience, or their former role as analysts?
Another example of success Gottlieb is pointing at is Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, who had never coached before taking the position with the Cyclones two seasons ago. However, while he wasn't a coach previously, Hoiberg had management experience with the Minnesota Timberwolves, serving as their VP of basketball operations.
Hiring Gottlieb would be a huge risk for Kansas State, and it would be a contrast from the previous coach in Martin, who had worked his way up from coaching high school JV teams up to the Wildcats position over a span of 20 years. And going with a risky hire like Gottlieb after the unprecedented success of Martin could backfire terribly for Kansas State. Gottlieb does have a successful playing career at Oklahoma State to point too though, as one of the top assist men in college basketball history.
There aren't many first time coaches hired by large college programs or in professional leagues. One example happened this offseason in baseball, when the White Sox hired Robin Ventura, whose only experience was as a high school hitting instructor. In the NBA, Mark Jackson recently left the ESPN booth for the Golden State Warriors job. There is some precedence for it in other sports, but it would be interesting to see if Gottlieb could succeed largely banking on his ESPN resume in the college game.
[h/t: The Mercury]
The amazing news this week that Ron Burgundy was making a comeback to the silver screen for an Anchorman sequel had us breaking out our jazz flutes in celebration. It's simply one of the funniest movies ever made. But it also got us thinking... what would happen if there was a sports version of Anchorman? What would happen if Anchorman 2 was set in Bristol, Connecticut and featured ESPN personalities? Who would be the stars of Bristol's Action Four news team...
Ron Burgundy - Chris Berman
Who else could fill the massive shoes of Ron Burgundy than the man that is more synonymous with Bristol, Connecticut than any other? Berman is one of the few characters that could match the aura of Burgundy on the television screen. His catchphrases, nicknames, personality, and decades long run at the top of ESPN makes him the clearcut choice to lead the Bristol Action Four news team. Away from the cameras, Berman has everything you could ask for as well - drug related tutorials, expletive filled rants, and little knowledge of modern day society. Berman may even believe diversity is an old, wooden ship too. As an added bonus, he's got the porn stache in the old bag of tricks.
Brian Fantana - Jay Bilas
The suave reporter known for his smooth delivery and sex-crazed antics has to be played by an individual whose swag knows no boundaries. It has to be someone whose self-confidence borders on the edge of a psychological disorder. That man is Jay Bilas. His swag can't be contained. Who else not just in sports, but the world, would even think to tweet this to hundreds of thousands of followers, "Just passed Gene Simmons of KISS in NOLA. He was in such awe of my swag, it caused him to swallow his own tongue. 911 called." Jay Bilas has so much swag that sex panthers use his cologne. John Clayton was also considered for this role.
In what could be considered some disappointing news for CBS and Turner, ratings for the NCAA Tournament as a whole are down five percent from last year. However, in what could be considered encouraging news for CBS and Turner, the overall numbers are still the second best since 2006. Here's the ratings info from Sports Media Watch...
Coverage of the NCAA Tournament averaged a combined 5.7 U.S. rating on CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV through Sunday’s games, down 5% from last year (6.0), but up 6% from 2010 coverage on CBS alone (5.4).
Turner Sports did not disclose average viewership for the NCAA Tournament in a Tuesday press release. In addition, CBS/Turner Sports did not disclose individual ratings or viewership for the Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight telecast windows.
Given the lack of buzzer beaters this year and real classic games, the small ratings drop is understandable. Aside from the night when Norfolk State beat Missouri and Lehigh knocked off Duke, the lack of games that went to the wire and truly enthralling storylines has been noticeable. Expect that to turn around this weekend though. CBS has been blessed with two outstanding matchups featuring one of the best rivalries in the game (Kentucky-Louisvlle) and two of the most marketable programs in the nation (Ohio State-Kansas) all in the Final Four on Saturday night. If the games are close, CBS should do even better numbers than last year's Final Four, which were the best since 2005.
Overall, CBS and Turner should be relatively pleased. The new tournament television format has been a success in the ratings department versus the old format and a hit with viewers and fans. Now, if only we can conquer the BCS...
Jose Canseco's Twitter account is quickly becoming a guilty pleasure of mine. The man is either batsh*t crazy or is fooling all of us with his comedic brilliance. I'm willing to place my bet on the former, which makes his Twitter account all the more entertaining. You truly never know what you're going to get with Jose's tweets. Deadspin has turned them into motivational posters. He's challenged other former athletes to fights. And Wednesday, he turned his attention to global warming and former Vice President and Creator of the Interwebs Al Gore. First, Jose's thoughts on Global Warming... perhaps he is motivated to be the new Recyclops...
Not only do we get global warming tips, but survival tips and history lessons as well! The scary thing is that he may actually be right about lower body temperatures leading to a longer life span, at least in mice. You have to love the affectionate use of the term "morons" as well as the countless misspellings and grammar mistakes in Jose's Twitter feed.
His concern for polar bears and mother earth is actually quite noble. After experiencing 85 degree days last week in Ohio and seeing a mere dusting of snow for the entire winter, maybe Jose and Al are onto something here. If only Jose put all of his energy into stopping global warming and not MMA fights with much larger men or failed baseball comebacks, maybe humanity could make a dent in our enviornmental decline.
Alas, Jose's thoughts on global warming was only the prelude to the tweet of the year. The one where Jose Canseco killed Al Gore on Twitter...
al gore was a head of his time .i miss him rest in peace buddy hug for u— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) March 28, 2012
Contrary to Jose's tweet, our sources have confirmed Al Gore is indeed still alive. Someone thankfully must have told Jose that fact as his next tweet was an apology to Al and a plea to keep fighting the good fight. Unfortunately, that person neglected to inform Jose that "a head" was actually one word and not two. There are fake Twitter death rumors all the time, but this is much different. This is genuine emotion and concern. This is real... except for the Al Gore being dead part. It's nice to know that Jose's patented "hug for u" isn't just an empty Twitter catchphrase though, he also uses it for eulogies.
I may watch my back the next few days if I'm Ralph Nader though... just in case...
As a future parent, one thing I look forward to is being able to brainwash my kids into adoring the same teams I am passionate about with a selfish hope that one day they can get a career in sports that I can mooch off.
That dream is now a reality for the parents of 5 year old Kansas Jayhawks fan and future PA announcer, Nick Sprecker who has blown away any skepticism of the thought that while cute, kids can’t really announce a game.
Nick’s mom, who said her son has been imitating the current Kansas PA announcer Eric Danielson all season stated via email to Yahoo’s The Dagger,
"Many of Nick's little inflections, including the Eeeeeelijah Johnson, are pretty close mimics. It's a great time to be a Jayhawk, and experiencing this season with our little fan has been a fabulous treat."
While the current Kansas PA announcer is taken, if the University ever needs a fill-in, Nick would certainly make for a good PR story with the added bonus of not butchering the lineup, proving it’s never too early to start brainwashing your kids into a career you want to exploit. Kansas plays Ohio State in the Final Four on Saturday night. How awesome would it be to see Nick in New Orleans?
[H/T The Dagger]
Few teams can lay an egg as massive as the Orlando Magic. They turned in a Bobcats-esque performance last night at Madison Square Garden as they were embarrassed by the New York Knicks, who were without Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin. The Knicks won 108-86, but led by as many as 39 points late in the third quarter. The highlights for the Magic were Glenn "Big Baby" Davis' swan dive into the MSG stands and the video below. I'm not sure what Jameer Nelson is thinking on this play, which is one of the worst passes you will ever see in an NBA game, but he fires a crosscourt pass straight for ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy. I could understand if Mark Jackson was still sitting at the table given his NBA pedigree, but Nazareth College isn't exactly the same thing. Then again, with the way Orlando played last night, it would have been nice to see Van Gundy take the floor for the Magic. It would have to go better than the last time...
If there's one thing we learned from the inagural Billy Packer Chronicles, it's this... maybe we need to be doing this every week for the NBA. That's because Turner's Charles Barkley opened up an enormous lead this week thanks to his all-around stellar performance in the studio. His winning quote from the Sweet 16 may in fact be my favorite in the past year. Reggie Miller is tied for second with Clark Kellogg, who is the only one with a realistic chance to catch Sir Charles. We'll have one poll for Final Four weekend, so there's still a chance for Clark if he does his homework and takes notes while watching Food Network the rest of this week. The envelope please...
Sweet 16 Top 10
10) "Indiana leavin a little cheese at the free throw line." - Clark Kellogg (via AA)
9) "You just got Dieng'ad" - Reggie Miller (via Josh_Batelli)
8) "It shouldnt matter if the elbow was inadvertent or advertent" - Len Elmore (via xavmcd)
7) "The teacher vs. the mentor" - Len Elmore (via swampdavid1)
6) "Terrence Jones showing you his full package" - Clark Kellogg (via zacdefran)
5) "You're hot." - Lesley Visser (via AA)
4) "Big time Snatch!" - Bill Raftery (via JasonShubnell)
3) "Nail. In. The. Coffin." - Reggie Miller as Louisville goes up by FIFTEEN with 58 sec. left (via SeahawkSanders)
2) "if you look at the score you will know who is winning the game" - Charles Barkley (via tec6062)
1) "People say he can run and jump. So can a deer. And you wouldn't put a deer in the game." - Charles Barkley (via AA)
Elite 8 Top 10
10) "Winner advances to the Elite 8 in New Orleans." - Marv Albert (via revafriedel). The Final Four is in New Orleans, but we kinda knew what Marv meant.
9) "If they would have thrown a funnel cake in there it would have been heavenly." - Clark Kellogg(via AA)
8) "Still got a little gitch in his hiddy-up" - Clark Kellogg (via ClintHedges)
7) "Get the towel out, cause that baby was wet when it came down" - Bill Raftery (via jtylercampbell)
6) "They let them bang, then on the third blow called a foul" - Dave Sims (via mmenniger)
5) "Every rule ain't a rule" - Charles Barkley (via Jthethird)
4) "Dribble trenepation" - Charles Barkley (via jtylercampbell)
3) "Florida is gonna focus on 2 big areas. Long rebounds, 50/50 balls, and no turnovers." - Reggie Miller (via socialmiscondct)
2) "You used to get it up prematurely" - Bill Raftery (via Anthony_Broome)
1) "Beal for the lead... Boynton for the lead..." - Kevin Harlan (via everyone)
1) Charles Barkley 52 pts
T2) Clark Kellogg 33 pts
T2) Reggie Miller 33 pts
4) Bill Raftery 30 pts
5) Kevin Harlan 10
Others receiving votes - Matt Winer 9 pts, Seth Davis 8 pts, Lesley Visser 6 pts, Bob Wenzel 6 pts, Len Elmore 13 pts, Dave Sims 5 pts, Ian Eagle 4 pts, Verne Lundquist 4 pts, Dan Bonner 2 pts, Ernie Johnson 2 pts, Tim Brando 1 pt, Kenny Smith 1 pt, Marv Albert 1 pt.