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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Shooting from the lip



Looking back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports ...

Bowl Biggest crybaby
Yankees manager Joe Girardi came off as a crybaby when he whined that the Rays' Elliot Johnson shouldn't have bowled over catcher Francisco Cervelli in a spring training camp Saturday. "I'm all for playing hard,'' Girardi said. "But I don’t think it's the time when you run over a catcher in spring training.''

Well, which is it? You're all for playing hard or spring training isn't the time to run over a catcher? Bottom line is he wasn’t "all for playing hard.'' If he was "all for playing hard,''’ then he wouldn't have whined about a hard-nosed baseball play. And, by the way, if you don't want your catchers run over, tell them not to block the plate. Or better yet, tell your outfielders don't try to throw out anybody at home … seeing as you don't think it matters anyway.

Worst moment
During ESPN''s coverage of Saturday night's Duke-North Carolina basketball game, cameras caught a shot of "Speedo Guy,''’ a Duke fan dressed only in a Speedo who tries to distract the opposing team. Cameras didn't show it live when the fan made obscene gestures, but some brainiac decided to show it on replay! Moments later, play-by-play man Dan Shulman said, "We'd like to apologize for the gestures of the new Speedo Guy … ''

Wait, shouldn't he have said, "We would like to apologize that we showed you replays of the gestures of the new Speedo Guy''?

Felix_2 Best insight
In going over some of the top running backs in this year's NFL draft, ESPN's draft guru, Mel Kiper, mentioned how the Bucs could be interested in Arkansas' Felix Jones.

"Tremendously explosive with the pads on,'' Kiper said. "Jones can handle the ball in a variety of ways and is always a threat to change the scoreboard, be it as a runner, a receiver or a kick returner. … Jones would be an excellent fit for Jon Gruden's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.''

Most intriguing comment
Did NBC hockey analyst Pierre Maguire really suggest that the NHL referees might have called a penalty on the Penguins on Sunday in their game against the Capitals to make up for some controversial calls that might have cost the Capitals a game on Saturday? We all have our suspicions that officials and leagues "even things up,'' but it's surprising to hear an analyst say it over the air.

Oh, one more thing from Maguire. When talking about how the Penguins were collecting high-priced forwards such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marian Hossa, Maguire said, "I hope they don't end up being Tampa Bay North.''

Pods The PODS
NBC's coverage of the PODS Championship was at its best Saturday as the wind turned our little golf tournament into something akin to the U.S. Open. "It almost feels like we’re back at Oakmont,'' cracked NBC analyst Johnny Miller.

NBC's golf coverage is always interesting because of two people: Miller and Dottie Pepper. The more they talk, the better the NBC broadcast is. Good thing they talked a lot because other than watching Stewart Cink blow up, the tournament wasn't all that compelling for TV purposes. (The course, however, made this area look nice to a national audience.)

Check it out
HBO's Real Sports returns at 10 tonight with a four-pack of interesting features, including one with a local angle. Host Bryant Gumbel profiles Mike Marshall, the former MLB pitcher who now lives in Zephyr­hills and has a Ph.D. in kinesiology. He believes his unorthodox methods could eliminate arm injuries, but major-league teams don’t seem interested in hearing from him. Interviews include Rays TV analyst Joe Magrane.

The show also features former Mets and Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra, who has become a successful businessman, Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl and Rutgers women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer.

Thompson_2 Best coach
Anyone who thought the only reason John Thompson III ended up coaching Georgetown was because his old man used to be the coach there can shut up now. Thompson's bunch won the Big East regular-season title for the second year in a row Saturday. Impressive, especially seeing as how the Big East is the best conference in the country, at least this season.

Best coverage

HBO's boxing coverage has become must-see TV for sports fans. How good was Saturday night's broadcast? So good that I flipped over during a timeout in the second half of the Duke-North Carolina basketball game and was so caught up in the broadcast that I forgot to turn back.

In a lightweight title fight between Tampa's Nate Campbell and Juan Diaz, Campbell had a point taken away for a head butt that opened a deep gash on Diaz’s left eyelid. But HBO replays showed it was a punch that did most of the damage.

Then announcers Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman and Emanuel Steward went into a deep discussion about how Diaz didn’t have an experienced cut man nor the proper medical solution to stop the bleeding in his corner. Then in the seventh round, Lampley talked about how he had never heard of the three judges and if the fight went to a decision, expect the unexpected. Sure enough, even though Campbell dominated the fight, he won only on a split decision.

The head butt, the cut, the judging. HBO was all over it. It was so good that it almost seemed as if HBO taped the fight and then dubbed in the broadcasting hours later.

Best team
It's certainly amazing that the Houston Rockets have now won 18 in a row, six of them without injured center Yao Ming. I just find it hard to believe, however, that they will be able to win four out of seven against anyone when we switch over from regular season to postseason.

Best line
Mike Lupica, on ESPN’s Sports Reporters, talking about North Carolina big man Tyler Hansbrough: "Tyler Hansbrough sometimes plays basketball as if falling down a flight of stairs. But if you need somebody to go get the ball to win a game, he's your guy.''

Brodeur Best player
While watching New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur beat the Lightning on Friday night, it should've occurred to you that we are watching a true legend in the sport. You still have a couple of more years to appreciate how good this guy is. He is to hockey what Joe DiMaggio was to baseball, what Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were to the NBA, what Peyton Manning is to football.

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:41pm]


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