Shooting from the lip/April 9th edition
Looking back at a weeked of televised sports ...
Best opening weekend
The Rays season was only three innings old Friday and I already had received several emails complaining about television announcers Dewayne Staats and Brian Anderson. Too boring, too offbeat, too this, too that.
Everyone has their own personal tastes and favorites. Put 100 people in a room and give them the name of a broadcaster and you might have 50 people who love that announcer and 50 who can’t stand him. No one is right or wrong. It's all personal preference. But I find it hard to understand why anyone has issues with Staats and Anderson.
They inform. They entertain. They explain.
They can be serious yet silly, analytical yet irreverent, emotional and yet objective. Are they perfect? No, but few team broadcasters outside of the Dodgers’ Vin Scully are. The MLB season is a long one, and there will be nights that even I will become tired of hearing Staats and Anderson. That's just the nature of hearing the same two voices night after night for six months. But more nights than not -- in fact, I would say almost every night-- I'm glad those two are calling Rays games.
I prefer NBC's golf coverage over CBS, but CBS's Nick Faldo is right up there with NBC's Johnny Miller as the best golf analyst in the business. And, Faldo is one of the few golf announcers who isn't afraid to speak his mind when it comes to Tiger Woods.
When asked by CBS Masters' host Jim Nantz on Saturday to talk about Woods' game, Faldo, top, quickly said: "He has no game. … We have an old Tiger, and now we have a new Tiger.''
Faldo also didn't avoid what is so obvious, yet constantly ignored during golf broadcasts: Woods' personal life crumbled on Thanksgiving 2009, and that has carried over to the golf course. Faldo put it bluntly, "He crashed and burned in his personal life.''
As far as CBS's coverage of the Masters, it was solid, but it annoyed me as it does every year. CBS acts as if the Masters is some sort of religious experience. I just want to watch golf, and CBS is constantly trying to act like I'm watching a life-altering event. After a while, all that sappy piano music, hushed tones and relentless, almost Stepford-wife-like praise of the course and the surroundings makes me wish that a loud crash near my house would make me temporarily deaf.
This column often jumps on Tiger Woods for his boorish behavior in interviews after a bad round. So it's only fair that Woods gets credit for showing a little humor. After shooting 72 on Saturday to fall 12 shots behind the leader, Woods was asked by CBS's Bill Macatee what he needed to do to get his game back in order on Sunday.
"Uh,'' Woods said, "hit every fairway and every green.'' Then he smiled. That's the Tiger most of us would like to see.
Meantime, for those who wonder why Phil Mickelson is often seen as the good guy on the PGA Tour, it's because of this:
I'm not the only one to have noticed this, but during Thursday's ceremonial tee shots at the Masters by Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, who was standing in the background wearing his green jacket some seven hours before his tee time? Mickelson. Know who wasn't there? Tiger.
The worst thing about the Lightning season ending, other than the team not making the playoffs? We'll have to wait nearly six months to hear announcers Rick Peckham and Bobby "The Chief'' Taylor again, as well as intermission and pregame broadcasters Paul Kennedy, Chris Dingman and Dave Andreychuk. The entire crew hit its stride this season and gave us enjoyable broadcasts even though the Lightning season fell far short of last year's accomplishments.
Rangers coach John Tortorella was fined $20,000 by the NHL after he made disparaging comments about the Penguins and stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He called the Penguins "arrogant'' and called Crosby and Malkin "whining stars.'' Tortorella was fired up after Pens defenseman Brooks Orpik injured the Rangers' Derek Stepan with what Tortorella thought was a dirty hit.
Two things here. I don't think Tortorella should have been fined. It's one thing to criticize the league or officials, but it's another to criticize another team or opposing players. He wasn't threatening them. The league had no business getting involved, and it overreacted by fining Tortorella.
But while Tortorella shouldn't be fined, his comments were disrespectful. The man who once told then-Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock to "shut his yap'' needed to take his own advice here. His problem with Hitchcock in 2004 was that Hitchcock was mouthing off to Lightning players even though he wasn't lacing up the skates and facing the players he was verbally attacking. Tortorella was sort of doing the same thing.
In the end, Tortorella accused the Pens of being arrogant and whiners, and he did in such a way that he came off as, well, arrogant and a bit of whiner.
But, hey, at least the guy speaks his mind, eh?
Three things that popped into my head
1. Here's how the Magic should fix its problems: Fire coach Stan Van Gundy and trade Dwight Howard. Fire general manager Otis Smith, too. In other words, blow it all up and start over with players, coaches and executives whom fans can be proud of. Plus, it's not like the current group is close to a championship anyway.
2. Adding this name to my list of all-time favorite sports figures: Boston College hockey coach Jerry York, who showed nothing but class, grace and humility while winning his fifth national championship on Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
3. Speaking of the Frozen Four, the NCAA would be nuts to not bring that event back to Tampa Bay in the near future. The Forum and Lightning folks, once again, showed how to run a big event.