The irony that they are punishing their viewers with two weeks of Dan LeBatard and Bob Ryan far more than they are punishing Mr. Tony (who I am sure is just heartbroken that he gets to spend an extra hour a day in the Barcalounger) appears to be totally lost on the suits.
I have to say I had a pretty good time in Columbia this weekend, despite Ole Miss’ general ineptitude leading to a 34–7 drubbing at the hands of Mizzou. I also enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with one of my professors from grad school days, Marvin Overby, and getting together with Frequent Commenter Alfie and the gang for a Midwestern tailgate and pub crawl.
In other football-related observations:
Line of the weekend: Brad Nessler, Paul Maguire, and Bob Griese are calling a game on ESPN (Oklahoma–Washington, I think). Maguire sets up Nessler to plug his doing play-by-play on the late MNF double-header game, and this exchange follows:
Maguire: What about me and Bob? We’re not doing anything Monday night. Nessler: You’re not doing anything now.
Incidentally, that game was worth watching for Bonnie Bernstein alone.
NBC should have left the “players introduce themselves” video packages with the rotting corpse of ABC Sports where they found them.
Fox’s NFL graphics package looks a hell of a lot more professional this year than in years past. CBS… not so much.
The solid ABC bug on ESPN on ABC needs to go away. Now. Before plasma TV owners start calling in death threats to affiliates.
ESPN needs to give up on trying to hype its “talent” to get people to watch its shows. Telling me that I can hear Colin Cowherd spew his ignorance on ESPNU while I get queasy from the SkyCam (and Cowherd), or trying to dupe me into watching the Sunday night SportsCenter with Stoo-yah Scott by promising more of Chris Berman’s stale act, is not effective promotion of the brand unless I accidentally find another Disney network to watch instead.
People sitting in a studio don’t need to be using hand-held microphones. Either body-mike them or use a frickin’ boom mike.
Finally, any sports bar that has blown $5k on a widescreen flatscreen television should not be showing a stretched standard-definition broadcast of anything, much less a football game available in high definition. At the very least, switch off the damn stretch mode—am I the only person alive who thinks that exaggerating people’s width by ⅓ is a bad idea?
I can’t say I’m particularly surprised that Disney has decided to ditch the ‘ABC Sports’ brand in favor of promoting all of its sports programming under the ESPN banner, especially considering that the network’s “Wide World of Sports” theme is more often seen being mocked on Cheap Seats than on ABC proper.
It’s just as well, seeing as the man most people today would identify with ABC Sports, Al Michaels, is now on NBC with John Madden and the network primetime NFL package anyway.
My TiVo recorded NFL Live this afternoon on its own whim, but for some reason the show it ran around 2 minutes short and I was treated to the beginning of Jim Rome is Burning (a show I have mocked in the past under its previous, presumably untrademarkable title). But instead of Jim Rome, who I suppose is otherwise disposed with 6/6/06 approaching, I was presented with the balding pate of Jim Gray, the man who nearly rehabilitated Pete Rose’s reputation and spent much of the 2002–03 basketball season embedded in Kobe Bryant’s rectum. Oy vey.
Will Collier is rightly perturbed at ESPN’s plans for college football telecasts this coming year, which USA Today’s Michael Heistand reports include the odious and senile Lou Holtz on color commentary for mid-week games, the useless Dan Fouts as a play-by-play man on ABC regional coverage, and—most tragically—the demotion of Ron Franklin (who Will refers to as “the best play-by-play man in the business today,” a sentiment I am in complete agreement with) to the primetime slot on the Deuce.
I noticed on Friday’s SportsCenter that ESPN has swapped out reporters for the Duke lacrosse scandal, replacing some black guy whose name I never learned with SN faveRachel Nichols. Suddenly I feel the need to start hanging out behind the Bryan Center… nothing against the other reporter (who may or may not be named George Smith; Google is no use), just that he was so non-descript I am pretty sure I walked right past him yesterday without really being sure it was him.
Clint Ecker of Ars Technica reviews the Intel Mac mini for those who have not experienced for themselves the bliss that is Core Duo.
The Solomon Amendment case was another 8–0 slam dunk for those right-wing extremists on the Supreme Court, and probably the right decision on precedent (in my mind, it would be hard to strike down the Solomon Amendment but uphold much of the Civil Rights Act of 1964); overall, I tend to agree with Will Baude’s assessment that policymakers (explicitly excluding, being the attitudinalist I am, the Court) on all sides of the issue are wrong. Baude also ponders the possibility that private universities might choose to divest themselves of their law schools to avoid any adverse effect should they chose to continue to bar military recruiters.
I know I’ve complained about this before, but it bears reiterating: it’d be nice if someone at ESPN would figure out that a trifecta requires three different things to actually be a trifecta. 40 minutes of Baseball Tonight and 20 minutes of Jeremy Schapp whining is not three separate programs.
My other ESPN observation of the day: is it just me, or is NASCAR getting a lot more respect on the Worldwide Leader this year than last? Mind you, I’d never dream to suggest some newfound financial interest on Disney’s part in hyping NASCAR.
Every day, I fast forward through the first 10–15 minutes of SportsCenter to finish PTI (suck on it, Dan Patrick!). The last two days, I’ve seen Pedro Gomez’s visage in the middle of the NHL betting ring story segment and both days I started to wonder what Barry Bonds’ involvement in the whole affair was. It was like seeing Shelley Smith reporting on something other than Shaq or Jim Gray reporting from somewhere other than Kobe Bryant’s ass or Pete Rose’s garbage cans.
By the way, if I just randomly came up with a fake Hispanic name, I think it would be “Pedro Gomez,” which I’m pretty sure is the equivalent to “John Smith” when you want to check into a hotel under a pseudonym in Mexico. (Not to be confused with Michigan State football coach “John L. Smith,” whose first name I believed was actually something like “Johnnel” for about two years.)
The new Monday Night Football booth is Mike Tirico, Tony Kornheiser, and Joe Theismann, along with two sideline reporters (Michele Tafoya and Suzy Kolber); this apparently clears the way for Al Michaels to stay with John Madden as the latter moves to NBC‘s Sunday night broadcast. Say what you will about Tirico’s alleged personal sleaziness, but he’s a good play-by-play guy, and the idea of Mr. Tony on an open mike for three hours a week is entertaining in and of itself (even though this may require TK to start watching some sports again).
Speaking of Mr. Tony, one wonders if a rapprochment with ESPN Radio might be in the offing; either way, canning Eric Kusileus or Colin Cowherd (or preferably both) needs to be on the agenda.
As the 2005 NFL season draws to a close, so too do the existing television contracts. John Cole tries to sort out the details as they relate to the ESPN/ABC family of networks, which also include the end of NFLSuckTime PrimeTime and its presumed migration to the Monday NFL Countdown slot on Mondays.
I wonder if the idea of combining Chris Berman and Stuart Scott’s powers of suck on the new Monday NFL PrimeTime will cross the minds of the ESPN powers that be. If so, we may observe some sort of implosion of the universe, as Berman’s lame nicknames (and combover) and Scott’s bogus street talk (and Urkel glasses) converge to form an intellectual black hole in Bristol on a weekly basis.
After watching the World Series of Poker coverage last night on ESPN, I have to say that I’m incredibly impressed that Jennifer Tilly somehow managed to find an equally ditzy boyfriend in fellow poker player Phil “The Unabomber” Laak. Surely a match made in heaven.
A columnist for the Cornell Daily Sun rips on ESPN and brings some statistics to the table:
I recorded a normal hour-long SportsCenter and watched it, stopwatch and notepad in hand. I took record of how many of the 60 minutes were spent actually showing highlights. I defined highlights as any game footage, any top plays, any actual sports — no talking, no analyzing, just the visuals. This excludes time well spent on post-game interviews and relevant statistics, and the necessary evil that is the commercial — so I accept that the entire hour will not be used for highlights and highlights alone.
The results weren’t pretty…
þ: The Road From Bristol, who are now conducting an NIT of non-ESPN personalities that seems to comprise mostly baseball people I’ve never heard of.
ESPN has sent College GameDay analyst Trev Alberts packing after the latter apparently complained about the diminished role the studio hosts were playing in the network’s college football coverage. After seeing Rece Davis and Mark May working as a duo this weekend, I hope (probably against hope…) that ESPN will see fit to not replace Alberts with another no-account Big XII homer meathead analyst—though, unfortunately, Jason White’s departure from the NFL makes him a prime candidate for Alberts’ seat.
For reasons I don’t fully understand, I’m watching the Baseball Tonight Trade Deadline special (never mind that it isn’t “tonight” yet anywhere west of Greenland at this point of the day), and Karl Ravech and Harold Reynolds are wearing basically the same pinstripe jackets. Don’t they have wardrobe people to catch this sort of stuff?
I’m tempted to vote early and vote often in this elimination tournament. My money is on an overall victory by Stephen A. Smith, although Jim Gray may be the “Cinderella” of the tourney and all-around talent-free hack Stuart Scott is surely going to make a run deep into the bracket.
Signifying Nothing formerly featured the stylings of Brock
Sides, a left-leaning philosopher turned network administrator
currently residing in Memphis,
Tennessee who now blogs at Battlepanda, and Robert
Prather, a libertarian-leaning conservative economist and
occasional contributor at OTB.