Shooting from the lip/Aug. 23rd edition
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports, including the Bucs blackout, broadcasters complaining about umpires and fans becoming referees.
Sun Sports' Kevin Kennedy took out a machete and whacked away at plate umpire James Hoye during Sunday’s Rays-A's game. Hoye called a balk against Rays pitcher Matt Garza with the bases loaded in the fifth inning.
"That's a ticky-tack call,'' Kennedy said. "That's ridiculous. That's pretty poor. That's awful.'' Kennedy then went on to say what a rough day Hoye was having.
The thing is, I looked at the same replay as Kennedy, and I thought Garza did jerk his front shoulder and deserved the balk. But fine, Kennedy disagreed with the call. I have no problem with him voicing his opinion. In fact, that's what he’s there for. But, man, I hope Kennedy was 100 percent sure if he's going to tear into Hoye as much as he did.
I've started to warm up to Kennedy's work over the past couple of months, and I've always been a big fan of play-by-play man Dewayne Staats, a classy and solid pro. The two have found their comfort level with one another, and I'm all for Kennedy returning next season. But if there's one nit, it's that they spend too much time griping about umpires as if the Rays are the only team that ever gets a bad call. It's one thing to mention it, but to keep harping on it over and over again gets tiresome.
Even after Sunday's 3-2 Rays victory, the postgame wrap-up spent far too much time talking about the balk call and a questionable ball call in the ninth inning. Even sideline reporter Todd Kalas got sucked into the bellyaching. Yes, the balk call was debatable. Yes, it looked like Hoye missed what would've been a third strike in the ninth. But the Rays overcame those calls and won. Just let it go. Staats and Kennedy are too talented to spend more than a few seconds a game whining about umpires.
Saturday's Bucs-Chiefs game was shown on tape-delay Sunday morning, and it was interesting and different to watch a broadcast when we already knew what had happened during the game. The most intriguing part was watching how quickly the Ch. 8 production picked up on the Josh Freeman thumb injury. And to its credit, Ch. 8 was all over it. The production truck seemed to notice before anyone, showing a close-up of Freeman shaking his hand a mere second or two after the play. One play later, announcer Chris Myers, probably with help from the truck, correctly guessed Freeman injured his thumb on a helmet during the previous play. From that point on, Ch. 8 made Freeman the focal point of the broadcast, showing plenty of shots of Freeman on the sideline.
There seems to be something different about the job Ch. 8 is doing this year on the Bucs games. The broadcasts seem better. Maybe it's Myers, who has finally figured out he's there to serve meat and potatoes and nothing else. Maybe it's John Lynch, who is no longer a rookie analyst and seems more confident with his commentary. Maybe it's the production crew. Whatever it is, the worst thing you can say about the Bucs-Chiefs broadcast is we had to wait until Sunday morning to see it.
I was watching a replay of the Giants-Bills Super Bowl the other day, and I noticed the Giants might have been offside when Scott Norwood missed his game-ending field goal. I think I'll call the NFL and see if we can't go back and let Norwood try again. Think it will go for that? Ridiculous, right?
Not on the PGA and LPGA tours. Time and time again, we hear stories about viewers seeing something on television and contacting the PGA or LPGA and a player getting in trouble for something they've done. The latest was Juli Inkster putting a weighted "donut'' on her club to warm up during a long delay Saturday at the Safeway Classic. You're not allowed to do that, but no one at the tournament caught her mistake. She was disqualified only after a viewer saw it and contacted the LPGA. In the end, Inkster did break the rule -- a rather stupid rule, if you ask me -- but it just seems that fans at home shouldn't be the ones playing referee.
Worst alleged behavior
Jay Mariotti, who writes for AOL Fanhouse and is seen most weekdays on ESPN's positively dreadful Around the Horn, was arrested during the weekend after an alleged domestic incident. The Los Angeles Times is reporting the incident was between Mariotti and his girlfriend. Already, critics of ESPN and Mariotti are speculating what will happen if Mariotti is found guilty of any charges. But just to mention it: The news of Mariotti's arrest could be seen on ESPNews' sports ticker throughout the weekend.
Best local shout-out
While half of Tampa Bay is griping about the Rays despite their fine record, the rest of the country -- including the so-called "tough'' media in New York and Boston -- is very impressed with the Rays. On Sunday's Sports Reporters on ESPN, the Rays got plenty of love.
"I think they can win the World Series as the wild card,'' ESPN's Howard Bryant said. "Playing in that place -- that dome-thing that they play in -- makes them even more dangerous. … I still think this is the most dangerous team, the Yankees included.''
While many around here like to rip into manager Joe Maddon and executive vice president Andrew Friedman, the Sports Reporters panel credited those two as the reason why the Rays have one of the best records in baseball.
Actually, we have a tie between Chris Myers' taped halftime interview with Bucs coach Raheem Morris and an Outside the Lines interview with former No. 1 overall NFL pick JaMarcus Russell.
Myers now has delivered two strong halftime interviews, including last week's question-and-answer session with quarterback Josh Freeman. He strikes a nice balance between asking football questions and a couple of revealing off-beat questions. This past weekend, I came to like Morris a bit more when Myers asked him if he had a slogan for the Bucs this season.
"There are slogans. There are mottos,'' Morris said. "You never really want to talk about it as much because you don't want it to become a T-shirt. … Those are the things you talk about after you've done something.''
Colleen Dominguez handled the Russell interview on OTL, during which Russell pointed a lot of fingers at his former team, the Raiders, but not many at himself. Kudos to Dominguez for pressing Russell with tough questions, including what it's like to be considered the biggest bust in NFL history. Not exactly a softball.
Three things that popped into my head
1. Josh Johnson shows promise. But don't the Bucs need to find themselves a veteran quarterback to back up Josh Freeman?
2. Did you think you would ever see a day when Connecticut, Utah and Houston would receive more points in the Associated Press preseason football poll than Notre Dame?
3. ESPN college sideline reporter Jenn Brown has been signed by Icehouse beer to be a national representative. It's a tad surprising that ESPN is okay with any of its on-air personalities promoting alcohol, but especially one who covers college sports.