Shooting from the lip/Aug. 29th edition
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
Most mediocre broadcast
I don't know if it's because the games are on tape delay instead of being shown live, but the Bucs preseason games on Ch. 10 have been rather boring. Or maybe they’re boring because they are games that don’t count. Unfortunately, announcers Chris Myers and John Lynch haven't done much to spruce up the broadcasts.
It's surprising Myers is even on these broadcasts, considering his insensitive comments a year ago regarding the citizens of New Orleans. While filling in for Dan Patrick on the radio, Myers tried to compliment Tennessee residents affected by a flood there and took a shot at New Orleans by saying, "When a natural disaster hits, people were not standing on a rooftop trying to blame the government, okay. They helped each other out through this.''
He added that Nashville residents rebuilt their lives "without making a big deal out of it,'' another slap at the people of New Orleans.
Myers apologized, but it's still baffling to me why the Bucs never went out and signed one of the zillion other broadcasters who are better than Myers anyway ... and never criticized hurricane victims.
Meantime, Lynch is a local favorite, having played for the Bucs for 11 seasons. He is a rising star at Fox Sports and is generally a good broadcaster, but he hasn't been all that dynamic in the two preseason games. In addition, he goofed on a call Saturday when he said it was "not a bad move by (Bucs coach) Raheem Morris'' to challenge a Miami first-quarter touchdown. Actually, it was a bad move by Morris. All scoring plays are now automatically reviewed and his challenge produced a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Okay, it was not the worst broadcasting mistake ever made, but the type of call that undermines the credibility with viewers. In addition, Lynch seems to see all things through pewter-colored glasses, such as when he said Bucs management has "done an outstanding job'' when it comes to attempting to assemble an organization with good character. Outstanding? Really? Not sure I'd agree with Lynch on that one.
Worst use of time
One other thought about Saturday's Bucs broadcast. All game, announcer Chris Myers previewed an interview with Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer, but when Glazer finally landed in the booth in the second half, he was there for less than four minutes. Give Myers credit for at least asking about games being blacked out, even though Glazer pretty much dodged the question. It would have been a great time for Glazer to answer some questions and talk directly to the fans. Why not stick around for 15 minutes or so? Why the rush?
Normally, watching anything on tape delay is annoying for sports fans. But NBC's tape-delayed coverage of the track and field world championships from South Korea on Sunday was actually more enjoyable because it was on tape delay. It allowed NBC to, essentially, time travel and cut out all the waiting from one event to the next. You have to love announcer Tom Hammond, too, on track and field.
In the marquee event of the day, viewers were able to watch the semifinals of the men's 100-meter dash and then, a few minutes later, watch the final, where star Usain Bolt was disqualified for a false start. NBC reacted well to the stunning development, but it clearly was a bad day for track and field that Bolt, the sport's biggest star, was forced to sit out the biggest race of the year.
Bolt clearly false-started and deserved to be disqualified. But now even other sprinters are criticizing the rule that disqualifies the first one to false start. Many are calling for the rule to be changed before the London Olympics next summer. When everyone in the sport (well, everyone outside of the governing body) is criticizing the rule and it takes the governing body a two-page statement after Sunday's race to explain the rule, well, maybe it's a bad rule that needs to be changed immediately.
The Red Sox and Yankees both appear headed to the postseason, but, you know, it might be better to finish second as opposed to winning the division. ESPN's Howard Bryant explained why on Sunday's Sports Reporters:
"“I'm pretty sure neither the Yankees nor Red Sox fear anyone, but the prize for winning the AL East just might be facing (Tigers pitcher) Justin Verlander twice in a five-game series.''
It's not set in stone just yet. There's a chance that the wild-card team will be the one that faces the Tigers in the first round of the playoffs. But it does remind one of last season when the Rays won the AL East and ended up facing the Rangers and Cliff Lee in the first round. Lee ended up winning the series opener and the winner-take-all Game 5, finishing with a 1.13 ERA and an American League Division Series record 21 strikeouts.
Sun Sports' Brian Anderson ripped off a good line during Friday night’s Rays-Blue Jays game. Toronto's Jose Bautista blew a gasket after striking out for the third time. He first slammed his bat against the dugout wall, then said something to home-plate umpire Bill Welke, who immediately tossed Bautista out of the game. Bautista then whipped his bat, a helmet and a water bottle onto the field.
"Well,'' play-by-play announcer Dewayne Staats said, "that was quite the display.''
"Yeah,'' Anderson said, "if you're 10 years old.''
Most interesting takes
Sports Illustrated's outstanding sports media critic, Richard Deitsch assembled a roundtable of college football writers to talk about the current state of college football broadcasting. He was joined by Stewart Mandel, Andy Staples and George Schroeder. College football broadcasters liked by the four included ABC/ESPN's: Kirk Herbstreit, Brent Musburger, Rece Davis and the underrated Ed Cunningham, as well as the CBS tandem of Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson. Those not liked included ESPN's Craig James, who was brutally panned by all four, and Jesse Palmer.
About James, Deitsch wrote, "That Craig James gets such prominent assignments remains a mystery on the D.B. Cooper scale. He is unpopular by any fan metric you choose, including performance and likability.''
Three things that popped into my head
1. As much as you might like to think the Rays are back in the race and still can catch the Yankees, know that even if the Yankees play right around .500 ball the rest of the season, the Rays are going to have to win about 21 or 22 of their last 30 to have a shot. In other words, the Yankees need to have a massive collapse for the Rays to catch them.
2. I want to get excited about tennis' U.S. Open, but on the men's side, don't you get the feeling that Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray all will cruise into the semifinals? If so, there's little reason to pay attention until then.
3. With all this talk about other teams being interested in Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman as their new general manager, it gets one thinking. Between the three local owners (Stu Sternberg, Jeff Vinik, the Glazers), the three GMs (Friedman, Steve Yzerman and Mark Dominik) and the coaches/managers (Joe Maddon, Guy Boucher and Raheem Morris), has the Tampa Bay sports market, from top to bottom and across the board, ever had stronger folks in charge?