Shooting from the lip
Worst starting time
There is no good reason why the World Series started games at 8:30. Fox, of course, wants the game on during prime time and the games started at 5:30 on the West Coast. Still, would it really make that much of a difference to start the weekend games at 7 or even 6 in the East? Don't the networks realize that most kids — baseball's future fan base — can't or aren't allowed to stay up until midnight (or later) to watch the entire game? How many kids under 12 saw the last out of the 2007 World Series, do you think?
Of all the networks, Fox does the best overall job covering sports. That’s why it’s so disappointing to see how weak its World Series pregame show is. It’s nothing more than a bunch of former players and managers talking technical stuff. This is the World Series, the premier event of that sport. People who never watch baseball watch the World Series. Why not mix in a few features? Tell us about Dice-K and Manny and Todd Helton. How about an interview or two? Instead we hear guys drone on and on about how altitude affects breaking pitches and who should bat leadoff. It looked no different than the network’s regular-season pregame, which Fox seriously needs to think about revamping anyway.
Lightning tough guy Andre Roy should get his own sitcom. His occasional feature — Rappin' With Roy — on Lightning broadcasts is priceless. He simply walks around with a microphone asking players questions such as, "If you could have a super power, what power would you have?'' Yet the answers, and his responses to the answers make for great TV. The guy is a natural
Fox analyst Jimmy Johnson offered up a pretty insightful list of the top five things teams need to win in the NFL:
5. Non-meddling owner.
4. Strong coordinators.
3. A gym rat QB.
2. A demanding leader.
1. A great talent evaluator.
It was a tad corny, but ultimately pretty cool as ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, as we approach Halloween, recruited horror writer Stephen King, as well as dozens of NFL players, to talk about fear in the NFL. "Fear is the enemy of execution,'' King said.
ESPN college football analyst Lou Holtz brought up an interesting point, suggesting that maybe the SEC isn't all that it's cracked up to be. And there is some validity to that. Think about it. The SEC gets credit for beating up on one another, but maybe that's more of a sign of parity than true dominance. Just check the big out-of-conference games. Alabama lost to a so-so Florida State team. USF beat Auburn. Missouri beat Ole Miss. Mississippi State was hammered by West Virginia. And Cal, maybe the fourth- or even fifth-best team in the Pac-10, bombed Tennessee. which might win the SEC East.
The big wins? Not very big. Kentucky beat an overrated Louisville. Georgia beat an average Oklahoma State team. The best victory was LSU crushing Virginia Tech, which might not be all that great.
On ABC's coverage of the Pep Boys 500, Dale Earnhardt Jr., talking about his final days with DEI Racing and how he looks forward to the future, said: "Winning and going to Victory Lane is so addictive and you crave it so much.'' Winning is addictive? How would he know?
As the rain came down in buckets, David Norrie, who handled the color of the USF-UConn game for ABC, was asked by partner Terry Gannon how the rain affects a quarterback. Norrie should know, seeing as how he played quarterback at UCLA. Instead, he talked about how it never rained at UCLA ... and left it at that.
So you're telling us that you never once held a wet football? If not, you couldn't make up something? Maybe something like, "Uh, it's slippery and hard to throw?'' I never played quarterback at any level and I bet I could make up something. Norrie was getting paid to say something, anything. Instead, he gave us 20-year-old weather reports.
Another Breeders' Cup. Another horse put down after breaking a leg. Someone again tell me why we race animals?
Georgia coach Mark Richt should be embarrassed and ashamed for encouraging his Bulldogs to storm the field and dance in the Gators' faces after their opening touchdown in Saturday's game. The celebration showed no class. Can you imagine Joe Paterno telling his team he would "run off'' every player if they didn't get a celebration penalty? Or Jim Tressel? Or Richt's mentor, Bobby Bowden?
Richt supposedly is a good guy, but that stunt was cheap. And if I were Urban Meyer I would never, ever forget the disrespect Richt showed Florida and its program. Maybe Richt didn't mean it that way, but that's the way it came out.
So the Giants and Dolphins played a game in London on Sunday and it wasn't the best example of the product. Then again, doesn't the NFL have bigger worries than whether England enjoys American football?
Check out what Terry Bradshaw said on the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show: "Why do we have to have a game over there? … I just don't see the point of taking one of our NFL games away from the cities in the United States that count on them week in and week out. Why don't we try to grow the sport here in Los Angeles where we don't have a team. Get a team out here in Los Angeles before you start taking this stuff over the pond, as they say.''
Preview of the week
New England won. Indianapolis won. So we have an undefeated showdown next week between the two NFL heavyweights. "Two heavyweights knocking heads, just like we wanted,'' CBS's Shannon Sharpe said. "They both held serve. We have the matchup of the century.'' Normally, a statement like that is hyperbole. This time, Sharpe might just be right.
Hard to argue with New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, who said this on ESPN's Sports Reporters about Red Sox manager Terry Francona:
"He has now taken his place with the best manager and coaches in sports right now. And probably is the most underrated even now, even with this World Series taking a closer look at his work. … He handles it all with a rare grace and perspective. Put it another way: There isn't an adjective applied to (former Yankees manager Joe) Torre on his way out the door in New York that doesn't apply to Terry Francona.''
Tom Jackson of ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown talking about Vinny Testaverde starting over David Carr in Carolina:
"When you start talking about measuring a quarterback, it's how he throws the football — the height, the size, the leadership, all of those things. Vinny Testaverde gets the edge. The only thing that David Carr has done better than Vinny Testaverde, and it's kind of ironic, is lay on his back and get off the ground.''
I can't name three players who play for Kansas, but I'm hoping they go undefeated just so we can see more of coach Mark Mangino. Have you seen this guy? He's the Rick Majerus of football. He looks like your next-door neighbor and it would be awesome to see a guy who looks like he eats ribs for breakfast knock off some of these guys who think they're so cool-looking such as Les Miles or Jim Tressel.