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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Shooting from the lip/April 19 edition



Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

Anderson Best analyst
It has been more than a year now and a fair enough time to determine that I prefer Brian Anderson much more as the Rays' television analyst than Kevin Kennedy. That's meant as more of a compliment to Anderson than a jab at Kennedy, although Kennedy seems to have his detractors in this market. What's noticeable is just how smooth Anderson and play-by-play announcer Dewayne Staats work with one another. Anderson seems more inviting, more accessible than Kennedy. It feels like Anderson is talking with the viewer and not at him. His style is relaxed, his analysis is interesting and his humor is well-timed and never hokey. The Rays have found a real gem in Anderson. It would be a shame to eventually lose him because of this goofy schedule that has him assigned to only 50 or so games this season.

Best hustle
Nice job by Rays TV to quickly dial up a clip of Rays leftfielder Carl Crawford on Sunday talking about what it's like to field balls off the Green Monster just moments after Crawford played a ball perfectly and threw out Boston's Adrian Beltre trying to stretch a single into a double in Fenway Park.

Rain Worst hustle
While the Rays TV crew works tirelessly long days and does an outstanding job broadcasting games, here's a nit: Does it constantly have to cut away to old programming whenever there's a rain delay? Or, like Saturday, when there was a break between the completion of Friday's suspended game and the start of the regularly scheduled game? During that break and during Sunday's brief rain delay before the game, Sun Sports showed old reruns of Inside the Rays. Is anyone watching that?

But some people might stick around and watch the announcers discuss the current topics surrounding the Rays. Or perhaps get reporter Todd Kalas out of the upper deck and put him to work by talking with a reporter who covers the Rays on a regular basis or snagging some other interviews. Any of that sounds way better than an out-of-date show about Pat Burrell. It was known for days that the weather in Boston was going to be lousy, and it just seems like Rays TV could have been a little innovative with how to kill the spare time.

Strangest programming
It's still baffling that a major network such as CBS has signed on to show mixed martial arts (and a less-than-elite MMA association at that). Saturday night's broadcast turned bizarre when a brawl broke out after the main event as the winner's in-ring interview was interrupted by another fighter. Pushing and shoving led to a full-scale brawl, and CBS quickly cut out and went to about a dozen commercials before coming back after order was restored. Even announcer Gus Johnson was screaming to the combatants, "We're on national television!'' But when the broadcast returned, CBS showed a replay of how the brawl started moments before one of the commentators heavily criticized the fighter who started the whole deal.
So, let's see if this is right: CBS shows three hours of, essentially, hand-to-hand combat with plenty of spilled blood. But somehow a brawl is too violent to show. But not so violent to show replays. But violent enough to criticize. When you mess with sketchy programming, you get a sketchy broadcast.

Mccarver Most dedicated
A round of applause for Fox's Kenny Albert and Tim McCarver, who managed to keep their wits throughout Saturday's 20-inning Mets-Cardinals game. Try talking for seven straight hours and see how easy it is to become punchy. But Albert and McCarver, not to mention the crew, kept their focus and produced an outstanding broadcast. Speaking of McCarver, New York Daily News columnist Bob Raissman wrote last week that McCarver deserves to be honored for his broadcasting work with the Ford C. Frick Award presented at the Baseball Hall of Fame, and I would agree with that.

Worst luck
Tough break for TPC Tampa Bay and NBC that Sunday's final round of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am was wiped out by rain. Even without ace commentator Johnny Miller this weekend, NBC's golf coverage remains a notch above CBS's coverage. Gary Koch sat in Miller's chair and filled in nicely. If NBC could somehow get CBS's Nick Faldo on its team, its golf coverage might be perfect.

Best line
"The NFL has a substance-abuse policy. Maybe they ought to have a slob policy.''
Mike Lupica, New York Daily News columnist, on ESPN's Sports Reporters, referring to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Worst timing
CBS golf host Jim Nantz blasted away at Tiger Woods last Monday on Mike Francesa's New York radio show. Woods cursed after a bad shot during the Masters and Nantz, among other comments, said he would be fired if he had said on air what Woods said. Nantz also pointed out that other golfers hit bad shots and don't swear like Woods does. Nantz was spot-on. While it was refreshing to hear Nantz say what he said, why did he wait until going on a New York radio show to say it? Why didn't he say it during CBS's Masters coverage?

Brown Three things that popped into my head
1. It's hard to find any network right now that covers a sport better than NBC covers hockey.
2. Is it possible to get ESPN/ABC's Hubie Brown a special rocket ship so he can work as an analyst on every NBA playoff game?
3. While the NHL still desperately needs ESPN, hockey fans cannot complain about the coverage it is getting on a nightly basis (so far) from Versus. Well, Flyers and Devils fans can complain a little about not seeing that series, but everyone should be pleased.

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:44pm]


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