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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Shooting from the lip



Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

Hansbrough_2 Most disgusting praise
North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough is a heck of a basketball player. But CBS has turned its broadcasts into making Hansbrough the greatest player in the history of sports. Listening to CBS' broadcasters gush about Hansbrough, I wouldn't be surprised if in his spare time Hansbrough was brokering peace talks in the Middle East and on the verge of curing every disease known to mankind.

At one point during Saturday's victory against Louisville, announcer Dick Enberg enthusiastically complimented Hansbrough for simply posting up in the lane. Seriously, Hansbrough didn't have the ball, didn't get the ball, didn't get the rebound, didn't set a pick, didn't do anything except run to a spot. And Enberg acted as if Hansbrough had just done something no one had ever done or seen before. Not to be outdone, color man Jay Bilas said, "Michael Jordan couldn't outcompete Hansbrough.''

Whaaat? Jordan's competitiveness even in practice (where he would cheat to win) is legendary and suddenly he could learn something from Hansbrough?  Enough. Hansbrough is a great college player, probably the best in the country. But CBS needs to tone down the lovefest.

Just asking
Here's something that has been heard all during the NCAA Tournament, but especially during Saturday night's Louisville-North Carolina game: When North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough gets a loose ball, it's because he's working hard. When another player gets the ball, it's because the other player was "quicker.'' Why is that?

Best point
While CBS does tend to go overboard with its praise of Tyler Hansbrough, it's true that North Carolina is relentless. CBS' Jay Bilas said, "You just never get a break against North Carolina.''
Quite the praise, especially from a Duke guy.

Taylor Most absurd story
Times hockey writer Damian Cristodero reported on his blog Sunday that part of the reason Lightning captain Tim Taylor isn't going to play one last game is because some of the comments from fans he read on Cristodero's blog. Some fans said Taylor coming back would be selfish, and Taylor agreed. To me, that's sad.

Taylor has earned the right to go out however he wants and he shouldn't be swayed by fans because this is not about them. This is about Taylor. This is about all the years he has dedicated to hockey, all the hours he has dedicated to being able to play one last time after a hip injury that could affect the rest of his life. He should say goodbye the way he wants. If he wants to go out, skate a couple of shifts in a totally meaningless game that has no playoff implications for anyone, why shouldn't he? What's the harm? So what if it's selfish? He could pull a Slap Shot, skate around the ice and strip off all his clothes as far as I'm concerned.

No fan or anyone in the media has the right to dictate how Taylor should go out. Only Taylor has that right. Shame on the fans who discouraged him.

Bowa Most annoying coach
Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa always has taken himself a little too seriously, but now he has gone overboard. ESPN's Outside the Lines did a piece Sunday about base coaches in baseball being required to wear helmets after a minor-league coach was killed last season when struck by a line drive. Bowa and former third-base coach and now Pirates adviser Rich Donnelly actually have the nerve to gripe about it, saying, essentially, that a helmet doesn’t protect you from getting hit in the temple or the chest or somewhere other than the top of the head.

MLB executive and former Diamondbacks general manager Joe Garagiola Jr., who helped get the new rule put in place, said, "That argument to me sounds like, 'Well, if you can't do everything, don't do anything.'''

If their only argument is that helmet is uncomfortable then coaches need to shut up. Seat belts can be uncomfortable, but that's not a good enough reason to not wear them.

Best line
Mitch Albom, talking about Alex Rodriguez, on ESPN's Sports Reporters: "He wants to be Derek Jeter in a town where Derek Jeter is already on the team. And that's never going to work. … (The pressure won't go away) until he wins. That's the New York thing. Get out of New York if you don't want that.''

Worst announcing
Oh my gosh! Anyone catch ESPN's Gary Thorne make a total clown of himself last week during the A's-Red Sox game in Japan? A slip of the tongue is one thing, but this was epic. He confused Jose Canseco with Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi, somehow thinking Giambi has written a second book about steroids, this one including allegations about Alex Rodriguez. Thorne even said, "Jason Giambi'' and was corrected by partner Steve Phillips, who said, "Jose Canseco.''

But Thorne kept going as if he really did mean Giambi, saying things like "I want to see the throws from third to first,'' and "Here we go again in the Bronx.'' He even said the Yankees needed to step in and get the two together to avoid future problems. He obviously either thought Canseco played for the Yankees or Giambi authored the book. And, at some point, why didn't a producer say something in Thorne's earpiece?

Tincher Best pitcher
Virginia Tech's Angela Tincher  ended the USA national softball team’s 185-game win streak by tossing a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory last week. The question: How come Tincher isn't on the USA national softball team?

Saddest news
The most disappointing part about the NCAA Tournament over the weekend wasn't that there weren't any upsets, but it's the last time this season we'll get to listen to Bill Raftery, who remains CBS' best college basketball game analyst.

Most maddening moment
Yes, at 2 a.m. Sunday, I was thoroughly enthralled watching a college hockey playoff game on ESPNU between Minnesota and Boston College. That is until I saw a crawl at the bottom of the screen that told me Boston College had won, 5-2. Why in the world would the network spoil the ending? If anyone was searching for the final of that game, they could've watched the crawl on one of ESPN's other 84 channels or looked it up on the Internet.

Worst story
The UW-Green Bay student newspaper thought it would be funny to write a story saying Packers QB Brett Favre has decided to play one more season. The story, complete with quotes, was an April Fools' Day joke. Readers were supposed to notice the name of the paper didn't say Fourth Estate, as normal, but Fourth Mistake. It probably would've gone over a little better if the story had actually appeared on April 1 instead of March 27. On April 1, it's an April Fools' joke. On March 27, it's in poor taste and irresponsible.

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


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