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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Shooting from the lip/Aug. 20th edition



Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

anderson.Most interesting comments
It's not very often you hear a baseball analyst suggest a pitcher knock down or brush back a hitter. But that's what Sun Sports' Brian Anderson did Saturday during the Rays' 10-8, come-from-behind victory against the Angels.

With the Angels banging out a dozen hits and leading 8-0 in the third, Anderson suggested someone on the Rays needed to take a stand.

"We've seen Angels hitters with extremely aggressive swings; a lot of success. And nobody has been knocked down, had their feet moved. Nothing,'' Anderson said. "They're just standing there as comfortable as can be, swinging out of their shoes.''

It sounded strange -- but extremely refreshing -- to hear an analyst be that brutally honest. It also was a revealing look at how the game used to be played.

Anderson even pointed out why we never saw an Angels batter moved off the plate. For starters, the game isn't played that way anymore. Furthermore, Rays pitchers are so rarely pushed around, they didn't know what to do.

Great stuff, as usual, from Anderson.

hernandez.Best coverage
High marks to the Sun Sports crew for Wednesday's coverage of Felix Hernandez's perfect game against the Rays. What made the coverage so good was those in charge of the broadcast realized how special it was even if the Rays were on the wrong end.

Okay, so it doesn't seem so special because this was the third perfect game and fourth no-hitter against the Rays in four years. But Hernandez's perfect game was just the 23rd in history. There was a nice montage of all the outs just before the ninth inning and an excellent postgame show.

Sun Sports treated the perfect game with the respect it deserved.

lynch.Best analyst
Former Bucs great John Lynch keeps getting better and better as a broadcaster. And it's easy to see why: He does his homework.
Lynch, who has a regular gig for Fox and is calling Bucs preseason games on Channel 10, could rely just on his name and throw out a bunch of cliches. But during his two games so far, Lynch has spoken in detail about Bucs players, schemes and trends, showing he is studying tape, doing plenty of reading and talking to players, coaches and media.

By the way, last week on 620-AM, Lynch revealed he will be in town for the 10th anniversary reunion and celebration of the Bucs' Super Bowl team. The Bucs will honor that team on Dec. 9, when they play the Eagles. Lynch worked it out with Fox to call that game for the network.

Most forgotten team
During Saturday's Yankees-Red Sox game on Fox, analyst Tim McCarver commented about the Nationals shutting down Stephen Strasburg and mentioned this is the first time the Nats have been a contender since 1933.
Well, that's right and not right. It is the first time a Washington team has contended in nearly 80 years, but this particular franchise has contended since then.

Remember the Montreal Expos? It was the Expos who moved to Washington in 2005. The 1981 Expos made the postseason, and the 1994 Expos had the best record in baseball when a strike wiped out the rest of the season.

strasburg.Best lines
The Nationals plan to shut down Stephen Strasburg soon even though he is one of the best pitchers in baseball and they appear to be on their way to the postseason. Strasburg had Tommy John surgery in August 2010, and the Nats are trying to ensure he remains healthy for years to come by limiting his innings.

You can see both sides of it. The Nats are trying to protect a highly valuable investment. Then again, how often do teams get a chance to win it all? What, exactly, are they saving Strasburg for?

New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, appearing on Sunday's Sports Reporters on ESPN, summed it up well: "This is one of the most well-intentioned, well-thought out, boneheaded decisions I've ever heard about.''

Oh, speaking of Lupica, he also had kind things to say about the Rays on Sports Reporters. He praised executive vice president  Andrew Friedman, called Joe Maddon the best manager in baseball and even said the Yankees better not celebrate the American League East crown just yet.

"Don't you watch (the Rays) sometimes,'' Lupica said, "and want to go buy a Tampa Bay hat?''

payton.Best profile
Solid piece by ESPN’s John Barr on Saints coach Sean Payton for ESPN's Outside the Lines on Sunday. It showed how much Payton is loved by the folks of New Orleans. But Barr did a good job of showing Payton can be vindictive, paranoid and downright mean when it comes to the media. Barr also showed how Payton, the Saints and the team’s fans have an us-against-the-world, bunker mentality.

In the end, I'm still having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that the Saints did something so disgusting as putting out a bounty to injure opposing players, got caught doing it and now, somehow, they are the victims.

Strangest reference
The NFL is using replacement officials because of a contract dispute with the regular ones. If you watched Channel 10's broadcast of the Bucs-Titans game over the weekend, did you notice announcer Chris Myers refer to them as "first-year officials?'' Maybe Myers didn't mean it to, but that phrase sounded like something the NFL directed announcers to say.

solo.Three things that popped into my head
1. The Red Sox-Yankees were Fox's game of the week on Saturday and ESPN's game of the week on Sunday. Normally, that's great. But it goes to show that automatically picking that matchup can backfire when one team -- in this case the Bosox -- is out of the playoff race.
2. Not only is Bobby Valentine not going to return next season as manager of the Red Sox, his stint in Boston has been so awful that you have to wonder if he'll ever get another managing offer again.
3. Can U.S. soccer star Hope Solo go a week without ripping into someone? That's not a criticism. I think she sounds a little whiny sometimes and a little self-important, too. But at least she has opinions and isn't afraid to express them.

[Last modified: Monday, August 20, 2012 10:23am]


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