Shooting from the lip
Michael Kay works for New York's YES Network and has covered the Yankees for years, so he has credence when it comes to Joe Torre, whose job is on the line as manager. And while everyone is pretty much in agreement that Torre has done a great job, Kay did bring up a solid point on ESPN's Sports Reporters. "It's incredible Torre is given all the credit for the winning, but absolutely none of the blame for losing,'' Kay said. "Even a hint that he had something to do with the losing and you have a chance to be shouted down. It's almost impossible to have it both ways, but Torre has deftly pulled it off.''
Fox NFL analysts Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer aren't making many friends in the Tampa Bay area. A week after running down USF, the two took a couple of more shots Sunday. Neither had USF in his college top five. Switzer's top five were Ohio State, LSU, Oklahoma, Cal and Boston College. Johnson had Oregon, Oklahoma, LSU, Ohio State and Arizona State.
Johnson said, "If they beat Rutgers this week, I'll put South Florida up there.''
Switzer added, "I got South Florida sixth. Let me tell you, if they beat Rutgers and beat those basketball schools — Louisville and Cincinnati — I might get them up there.''
Sean Burke, the former Lightning goalie, was on Hockey Night in Canada and had another parting shot for coach John Tortorella regarding goaltenders. "He's a great coach in a lot of ways,'' Burke said, "but the way he handles goaltending is very inconsistent. It's hard to have a lot of confidence when you play goal for him.
Chip Caray is making way too many mistakes calling the baseball playoffs on TBS. But his comment during Game 2 of the NLCS were somewhere between head-scratching and flat-out clueless. Caray said, "Talking about the continuing theme of misperceptions about Colorado: If someone said their defense would be the star of a postseason game, it might surprise a lot of people.'' What? Who exactly would be surprised? The Rockies committed a league-low 68 errors and had the best fielding percentage in major-league history. Caray's partner Tony Gwynn did his best to not make Caray look bad, but pointed out that anyone who really followed the National League knew how good the Rockies defense has been.
Most discouraging comment
Mark May does a fine job as a college football analyst for ESPN, but his line of thinking Saturday was disturbing. May criticized Boston College for not being impressive enough in its victory over Notre Dame. That kind of talk ultimately encourages teams to run up the score against opponents and the last thing we need is teams trying to embarrass opponents by scoring 70 or 80 points just to impress the pollsters and analysts.
Most revealing quote
Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon might be teammates, but don't think for a second they care about that while both are in NASCAR's Chase for the Championship. "They're absolutely individuals at this point in time,''’ ABC's Brad Daugherty said. "With my friends, I want to kick their butts worse than anyone when we're being competitive, so I think Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are the same. They go after each other harder than they go after the other competitors.''
ESPN's Amy Nelson did a heart-breaking piece for Outside the Lines on the late Rod Beck, the long-time baseball reliever who died in June at age 38 of unknown causes after years of battling an addiction to alcohol and drugs, including cocaine. What made it so sad is how Beck's life unraveled even though he had a wife, two daughters, lots of friends and a great career. Nelson's excellent piece revealed that not all addicts are bad or pathetic people, but just the opposite. Speaking of Nelson, she primarily works for ESPN the Magazine, but, based on Sunday's story, the network should lean on her more for television pieces.
Most ominous comment
Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN's College GameDay is on the USF bandwagon, saying the Bulls deserved to be ranked as high as they are in most polls. He is not convinced, however, they will play for national championship, no matter how the season plays out. "Looking at the remaining schedule,'' Herbstreit said, "this has the making — if they run the table — of one of those teams that could be leapfrogged by a one-loss team from one of those powerhouse conference. I could just see them sitting there at 12-0 and seeing one of those one-loss teams like Oklahoma going right past them.''
Talking about how the Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis have the incredible knack of always knowing whether the other one is on the ice, Lightning TV color man Bobby "The Chief'' Taylor said, "I think they have GPS's imbedded in their helmets.''
Most incredibly insensitive comment
Fox Sports Net's Dave Lapham had a complete brain shutdown Saturday while doing color on the Iowa State-Texas game. Texas' Michael Flath was not penalized when he ripped the helmet off Iowa State's Todd Blythe, who was poked in the eye as well. It should've been a penalty, but Lapham actually said, "They face-raped him!''
Are you kidding me? Was that supposed to be funny? Clever? Using the word "rape'' to describe anything in a lousy football game is one thing and one thing only: totally inappropriate.
On NBC's Notre Dame games, that little yellow line that shows the first downs are sponsored by Xerox. With the way the Notre Dame offense is playing, maybe it should be sponsored by MapQuest.
Fox NFL insider Jay Glazer should get a job with the CIA or something. A few weeks ago, he obtained a copy of the Patriots' Spygate tape from someone in the NFL. Sunday, he had another piece of tape.
"We heard this offseason that Joey Porter of the Dolphins and Levi Jones of the Bengals got into a fistfight at the Palms Hotel, but nobody really knew what happened,'' Glazer said. "Apparently, this time, what happens in Vegas isn't staying in Vegas because I've got the surveillance tape.''
The tape showed Jones being jumped at a blackjack table by Porter and three others. "This is clearly not a one-on-one fight,'' Glazer said. "You hear about violence on the field, but taking it off the field is unbelievable.''
Most insulting comment
You have to love ESPN football analyst Mike Ditka. That guy will say anything. During Sunday NFL Countdown, Ditka was asked to pick who he would rather have: head case Randy Moss of the Patriots or head case Terrell Owens of the Cowboys. Ditka: "This is the case of the lesser of two evils and that will be Moss. I tell you why — T.O. has proven it. He's an expert in killing coaches and quarterbacks, and he's got the corpses to prove it. He'll go off soon. I don't know when, but he'll go off.''
Most touching piece
ESPN's College GameDay did a tear-jerker piece on Mark Bradford, the Stanford wide receiver who caught the winning touchdown in the upset of USC. Bradford's mother died when he was young and his father passed away just days before the USC game. Bradford's father was in jail for a few years, forcing Bradford to help raise his younger brother when the two were still in high school. Yet, despite being reunited upon his release, the elder Bradford convinced his son to turn down a scholarship offer from USC, leave his native Los Angeles and attend Stanford for the education. "That was divine intervention,'' Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said. "His father was watching over him when he made that catch.''